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Beijing, China (BBN) – China’s economy grew by 6.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, according to official figures.
The growth rate, which compares expansion with the same three months in the previous year, was slightly higher than many economists had forecast, reports BBC.
State-led infrastructure spending and demand for new property helped drive the world’s second largest economy.
Last month China cut its growth target for this year to 6.5 per cent from 6.7 per cent in 2016.
China’s National Bureau of Statistics in a statement said “the national economy maintained the momentum of steady and sound development from the second half of last year, getting off to a good start in 2017 and laying a solid foundation for accomplishing the whole-year growth target.”
Another set of data also suggests a pick-up in domestic consumption. February retail sales jumped 10.9 per cent from the previous year.
China is a key driver of the global economy and its performance is closely watched by investors around the world. Its 2016 growth was its slowest in 26 years.
Hidenobu Tokuda from Mizuho Research Institute in Tokyo said China should be trying to slow its growth rate in the long term, though “uncertainties remain high” about how that slowdown would happen.
Meanwhile Brian Jackson from IHS Global Insight predicted both industrial output and real estate sectors would slow.