Economy China economy slows to 7 percent growth in Q1

China economy slows to 7 percent growth in Q1


Sheng Laiyun, spokerperson of National Bureau of Statistics
Sheng Laiyun, spokerperson of National Bureau of Statistics

(AA) – China’s economy slowed to 7 percent growth in the first quarter of this year – its lowest expansion since the global financial crisis of 2009, according to official data released Wednesday.

Numbers from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that gross domestic product (GDP) growth was down from 7.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 to its the lowest level since the first quarter of 2009 – when it stood at 6.6 percent.

GDP in the first quarter totaled 14.07 trillion Yuan ($2.29 trillion).

A statement on the bureau’s website said that as a whole “the national economy in the first quarter of 2015 enjoyed steady development.”

It added that employment, consumer price and market expectation had been stable despite the cooling of economic growth.

State news agency Xinhua reported that the first quarter figure was higher than predictions, with some financial institutions suggesting growth of less than 7 percent amid weak investment and demand.

China’s central government had set the annual growth target for 2015 at around 7 percent.

“Positive factors were accumulating with restructuring work advancing steadily, transformation and upgrading showing good momentum, and new impetus experiencing rapid development,” the NBS statement said.

Bureau spokesperson Sheng Laiyun told a press conference in Beijing that the Chinese government had expected tough challenges and ongoing downward pressure on the economy in 2015.

Xinhua reported him as saying the slowdown was due to the slow economic recovery worldwide and continuing structural reforms within China.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund has forecasted China’s growth to hit 6.8 percent for 2015 and 6.3 percent next year, while the World Bank sees China growing at 7 percent in the next two years.

The National Bureau of Statistics data also indicated robust industrial output growth of 7.9 percent in the tertiary industry during the period.

During the first quarter, industrial output in general grew 6.4 percent year on year, down from the 8.7-percent growth a year ago; fixed asset investment rose 13.5 percent from a year earlier to 7.75 trillion Yuan, slowing further from the 13.9-percent growth registered in the January-February period this year; and retail sales gained 10.6 percent year on year to 7.07 trillion Yuan.

The tertiary industry accounted for 51.6 percent of the total GDP in the first quarter, up 1.8 percentage points compared to the same period last year.

Its share of the GDP also exceeded that of the secondary industry by 8.7 percentage points.

The average per capita disposable income of Chinese households rose 9.4 percent year on year to 6,087 Yuan.

The consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, registered at 1.2 percent in the first quarter.

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