The rate of growth in the third quarter dropped to 6.5%, falling short of market expectations, official statistics released Friday showed. Growth in industrial output and consumption weakened in the quarter, while exports held up despite the country’s bruising trade fight with the U.S. Shortly before the data was released, People’s Bank of China Gov. Yi Gang, banking and insurance regulatory chief Guo Shuqing and top securities cop Liu Shiyu all issued statements urging investors to remain calm. Mr. Guo said recent “abnormal fluctuations” in Chinese stock markets don’t reflect the country’s economic fundamentals and “stable financial system.” The Shanghai Composite Index—the worst performer among global benchmarks—has declined 25% so far this year. It fell as much as 1.1% after opening Friday, but rebounded in late morning trading. Restoring market confidence is proving to be one of the toughest economic challenges for China’s leadership. Soon after the financial mandarins’ […]