By Daniel Hunter

The Chinese economy grew at its slowest rate for more than five years in the third quarter, prompting speculation over stimulus measures.

The economy grew by 7.3% in the third quarter of 2014 compared to the same period last year, slowing down from 7.5% in the second quarter.

Growth of 7.3% is still extremely strong and still beat analysts' forecasts of 7.2%. But it is the worst performance the country's economy has seen since March 2009.

Industrial production beat expectations and manufacturing output was up 8%. Fixed asset investment and retail sales missed expectations.

The Chinese government is hoping to reach annual growth of 7.5%, but many analysts doubt it will happen. It has solidified concerns over the global economy and has prompted greater speculation over the possibility of the government introducing stimulus measures.

It recently announced plans to boost consumer spending, but new measures may be introduced to encourage investment and lending among the country's banks.

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