Sputtering growth, soaring debt and escalating trade was with the United States.
China's government on Friday reported that it grew by 6.5 percent over the three months that ended in September compared with a year ago.
China has reported growth figures over the past two years that it is gamely chugging along, despite the country's lingering problems and widespread doubts on the reliability of official numbers.
Chinese shoppers have said they are spending less or less on their purchases, like staying home instead of going out or drinking beer instead of cocktails. Wages are stagnant. Investment in splashy infrastructure projects has dropped sharply.
All of this is before factoring in China's intensifying trade with the United States. Friday's report on the two countries began to become an impersonal tit-for-tat tariff starting in early July.
So far it has only marginally dented China's $ 12 trillion economy. In recent weeks, Chinese officials have remained tough despite the conflict.
On Friday, officials blamed "an extremely complicated and severe international situation" for the lower-than-expected growth figures and thus sought to lift confidence with the statements of support from the central bank and market regulators.
During periods of economic slowdown, China has made large-scale infrastructure and development projects.
The exact numbers are not clear, but the experts agree that the debt load is vast. In a report this week, S & P Global estimated that China's local governments are carrying as much as $ 6 trillion in shadowy debt off the books. That is equivalent to roughly three-fifths of China's entire economic output. Analysts at the rating firm called it "at alarming level."
China has been trying to throttle back the lending, but that has hurt growth. Growth in spending on highways, rail and public facilities has dropped to a record this year. From the start of the year through the end of September, the growth in infrastructure spending fell to 3.3 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Now, Beijing appears to be rethinking its austerity efforts. Officials are beginning to encourage new investment. To reduce the bill, they are asking for the private sector to help out. This week it announced that 1,222 infrastructure projects worth $ 362 billion.
The Chinese consumer is critical
China's expanding and increasing consumption has become an important pillar of growth as China moves away from its reliance on large investment projects.
Retail sales stayed buoyant, rising 9.2 percent in September from the previous year, as Chinese consumers continued to buy cars, appliances, smartphones and other goods. The strong numbers will help officials in Beijing to argue that the trade was left untouched.
But economists warn that the overall rosy picture could change. For example, car sales started to slow in September, according to the China Passenger Car Association.
"A month from now may start just to buckle," wrote analysts at China Beige Book International.
In September, the United States put tariffs on $ 200 billion worth of products coming from China. President Trump has said he would not back down anytime soon.
Chinese exports figures for September jumped 14.5 percent compared with a year earlier. That unlikely number is not a sign that trade is doing well. Some exporters attributed the rise to American companies to their purchases more expensive.
"We know customers tried to clear as much finished product in transit to the U.S." as possible before the deadline, "said Peter Levesque, the managing director of Modern Terminals in Hong Kong. That could happen again as American importers try to bypass the next deadline of Jan. 1 for a 25 percent tariff on Chinese goods.
While much of the impact of the trade was has to be felt The expert says it will not take long for a slowing economy to start to feel the pinch, especially as officials grapple with other economic problems. The trade was able to shave as much as 1.6 percent off China's economic growth figures next year, according to a recent report from the International Monetary Fund.
"We are not going to make it to the numbers that are provided And that just adds to the uncertainty, "said Paul Gruenwald, global chief economist at S & P Global Ratings. "It's going to be hard to pinpoint any pressure because we do not have enough data."
But, he added, "there is definitely pessimism.
Officials look to shore up confidence
Just before releasing the economic growth figures on Friday morning, the websites for China's central bank, insurance and securities regulators posted news media interviews with senior officials giving support to the market.
"We encourage private equity funds to buy shares of listed companies and participate in mergers and acquisitions of listed companies," Liu Shiyu said The Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.
Earlier this month, the People's Bank of China pulled out $ 175 billion in the economy and the market.
– Cao Li contributed research.