China's first quarter growth beats expectations at 6.9%

April 17, 2017
Source: BBC
China's first quarter growth beats expectations at 6.9%

China's economy grew by 6.9% 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.

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% from 6.7% in 2016.

China's National Bureau of Statistics said the economy maintained momentum 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 rise in domestic consumption. February retail sales jumped 10.9% 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 in 26 years.

Hidenobu Tokuda of the 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 of IHS Global Insight predicted both industrial output and the property sector would slow.