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China's economy grows at 7.4% in first quarter

April 16, 2014 13:32 IST

China's economy grows at 7.4% in first quarter

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K J M Varma in Beijing

China's economic growth slowed further to 7.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2014, showing signs of waning momentum despite reforms, innovation and restructuring by the Chinese leadership to revitalise the world's second largest economy.

The first-quarter growth exceeded market estimates of 7.3 per cent, China's National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday.

However, this is the slowest pace at which the Chinese economy has grown in the past 18 months after it registered a 7.4 per cent growth in the third quarter of 2012.

The growth slowed compared to the 7.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2013.

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Image: People dance with umbrellas during a celebration for the New Year of the Dai minority in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province, April 14, 2014.
Photographs: Wong Campion/Reuters

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China's economy grows at 7.4% in first quarter

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The figure still far outperformed the 6.6-per cent growth in the first quarter of 2009, when the global financial crisis wreaked havoc, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

China's GDP registered 7.7 per cent last year few notches higher than that of the official target of 7.5 per cent, which remained the same for this year too.

The NBS said that preliminary data showed China's gross domestic product reached 12.8213 trillion yuan ($2.08 trillion) in the first quarter.

The figures suggest growth in the world's second-largest economy was generally stable and marks a nice beginning for the year of 2014 as Chinese authorities promoted reforms, innovation and restructuring.

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Image: China's GDP registered 7.7 per cent last year few notches higher than that of the official target of 7.5 per cent, which remained the same for this year too.
Photographs: Reuters

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China's economy grows at 7.4% in first quarter

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Economists said the weaker growth suggested heavier downward pressure on the economy but said the growth rate was still within a reasonable range.

The economic slowdown came amid a generally mild inflation rate in the first quarter, with the consumer price index, the main gauge of inflation, rising 2.4 per cent in March.

Earlier data showed the country's exports and imports declined one per cent year on year to $965.88 billion in the first quarter while power consumption rose 5.4 per cent year on year.

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Image: A man walks past a storage area for oil barrels in Shanghai.
Photographs: Aly Song/Reuters
Tags: China

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China's economy grows at 7.4% in first quarter

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However, the March figure picked up steam and rose 7.2 per cent.

Wang Jun, a senior researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said the government has taken significant measures in March targeting tax reductions, simplification of administrative procedures as well as planned to step up railway investment and renovation of shanty towns to improve the economy.

"These measures aim to stabilise growth. I think the economic momentum will increase from the second quarter and there's no need to worry the economy will slide out of control," he said.

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Image: Wang Jun, a senior researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said the government has taken significant measures in March targeting tax reductions, simplification of administrative procedures as well as planned to step up railway investment and renovation of shanty towns to improve the economy.
Photographs: Reuters

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China's economy grows at 7.4% in first quarter

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The NBS data also showed that China's industrial value added expanding to 8.7 per cent year on year in the first quarter of 2014.

Industrial value added in March edged up by 0.81.  

China uses industrial value added to measure business activities of designated large enterprises each with an annual turnover of at least 20 million yuan ($3.26 million).

The figures showed that the value added of state-owned enterprises saw a 4.6 per cent growth year on year in March, while that of joint stock companies expanded by 10.1 per cent.

Also China's retail sales grew 12 per cent year on year to 6.21 trillion yuan ($1.01 trillion) in the first quarter of 2014.

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Image: Chinese currency.
Photographs: Reuters
Tags: China , NBS

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China's economy grows at 7.4% in first quarter

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In March, retail sales gained 12.2 per cent from the same period last year to 1.98 trillion yuan and deducting inflation, the actual growth rate was 10.8 per cent, the NBS said.

Retail sales growth in rural areas outpaced that in urban China.

Sales in rural areas rose 12.8 per cent in the first quarter from the same period last year.

Retail sales in urban areas climbed 11.8 per cent in the same period.

Spending on consumption against the country's gross domestic product was 64.9 per cent in the first quarter, up 1.1 percentage points from the same period last year.

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Image: A gold Buddha statuette is seen inside a Luk Fook Jewellery shop in Yichang, Hubei province.
Photographs: China Daily/Reuters
Tags: NBS , China

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