Proving surveys wrong, the Chinese economy reported better-than-expected data for the first quarter as gross domestic product expanded 7 per cent year on year, official data revealed on Wednesday.
The latest figure beat off market forecasts by multiple institutions earlier that said first-quarter growth will fall slightly below 7 per cent due to weak investment and demand.
The first-quarter growth data has suggested continued downward pressure for the world’s second largest economy, as its growth further slowed from 7.3 per cent registered in the fourth quarter of 2014.
However, it has still met an annual growth target of around 7 per cent set by the Chinese central government for 2015. The goal of about 7 per cent — down from last year’s aspiration of about 7.5 per cent — was given in Premier Li Keqiang’s work report at the annual meeting of the legislature in Beijing on March 4 this year.
Statistics released on Wednesday showed industrial output grew 6.4 per cent year on year in the first quarter of 2015, down from the 8.7-per cent growth a year ago.
Investment in China’s property sector rose 8.5 per cent year on year to 1.67 trillion yuan ($271 billion) in the first three months of 2015.
China’s retail sales rose 10.6 per cent year on year to 7.07 trillion yuan ($1.15 trillion).
In an annual news conference in March following the closing session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), or Parliament, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Premier Li Keqiang had said the government will loosen policies, if needed, in a targeted manner to prevent the economy from slowing too much, or avoid a sharp decline in employment.
“China is shifting economic growth from quantity to quality,” he said.
“China still has a host of policy tools at the government’s disposal to bolster its economic growth,” he added.
TBP and Agencies