Led by softening industrial growth and declining export growth, Guangzhou's economy stumbled last month, casting doubts as to whether the municipal government would achieve its 13 per cent growth target for the year. According to the Guangzhou Statistics Bureau, the city's gross domestic product grew by 10.7 per cent during the first eight months of the year, off slightly from the 11 per cent GDP growth chalked up during the first seven months. Municipal exports - amounting to US$4.64 billion during the first eight months - led the sluggishness, lowering year-on-year increases to 4.14 per cent. Industrial output last month reached 20.19 billion yuan (about HK$18.77 billion), year-on-year growth of 10.3 per cent, lower than the better than 11 per cent increase recorded during the first seven months of the year. However, retail consumption, aided by falling consumer prices, remained strong, hitting 7.49 billion yuan last month, representing a year-on-year increase of 12.1 per cent. The city's retail and consumer-price indexes fell in the month by 5.4 and 3.9 per cent, respectively, led by a 16.5 per cent free-fall in the price of building and home-decoration materials. To boost growth, a municipal economic inspection team, led by Vice-Mayor Wu Liang, has been formed, the Guangzhou Daily reported yesterday. The team's measures to lift growth include more help for large-scale profit-making enterprises, improving the competitive power of some city-made products, and raising domestic consumption.