China's economy expanded 7.6 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2012, slowing from 8.1 percent in the first quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Friday. The figure, which marked the sixth consecutive quarter of decline, revealed the slowest growth pace since the third quarter of 2009 and was within market expectation of below 8 percent. On a quarterly basis, the country's economy grew 1.8 percent in the second quarter, Xinhua news agency quoted NBS spokesman Sheng Laiyun as saying. According to preliminary statistics, the country's GDP grew 7.8 percent year-on-year to reach 22.71 trillion yuan (3.6 trillion U.S. dollars) during the first half, Sheng said. Given the sluggish external market and global economic woes, China lowered its full-year growth target for 2012 to 7.5 percent in early March, after its economy grew 9.2 percent year-on-year last year.