China's GDP grows 6.8% in the first quarter, slightly more than expected

Marco Green
April 17, 2018

China is aiming to re-engineer its growth model, from driven by massive state-led spending to a domestic consumption-led economy, tolerating a moderate slowdown to carry out hard reforms along the way.

That's positive news for Beijing, giving policymakers room to further reduce risks in China's financial system and rein in pollution without stalling economic growth. Retail sales held up particularly well, up 9.8% for the quarter compared with the same period the previous year. In the entire year of 2017, the world's second largest economy expanded 6.9%. Analysts had expected retail sales to rise 9.9 percent from 9.7 percent in the first two months of the year.

We've become accustomed to it: Q1 GDP data released in China today - the first country to do so and well ahead of other G20 countries - was bang on official estimates at 6.8 per cent annualised, the maintaining Q4's rate of economic growth.

On a quarterly basis, GDP in the first quarter grew 1.4 per cent, compared with revised growth of 1.6 per cent in October-December, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

The economy's performance remains comfortably above the 6.5 percent annual growth target set by the Chinese government.

The data showed investment in real estate development rose 10.4 percent from a year earlier, while fixed asset investment, including spending on infrastructure, rose 7.5 percent.

Industrial output was perhaps the biggest downside surprise, expanding 6.0 percent in March on-year, the slowest pace in seven months.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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