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China's economic growth sank to its lowest level since the global financial crisis in the latest quarter, adding to challenges for communist leaders as they fight a tariff battle with Washington, NBC News reported.

The world's second-largest economy expanded by 6.5 percent over a year earlier in the three months ending in September, government data showed Friday. That was down from 6.7 percent the previous quarter and the slowest rate since early 2009.

China's economy already was cooling due to a clampdown on credit to rein in a debt boom before U.S. President Donald Trump's tariff hikes on Chinese imports in a fight over Beijing's technology policy. The impact of American import controls has been limited, but the downturn in other parts of the economy prompted Chinese leaders to ease controls and order banks to lend.

"China's slowdown is a little sharper than expected, but basically fits our narrative for the economy," said Bill Adams of PNC Financial Services Group in a report.

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