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China's economy grows 7.4% in first quarter: govt

BEIJING - China's economy expanded 7.4 percent year-on-year in the first three months of the year, the government said Wednesday, marking a further slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.

The January-March figure announced by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) was weaker than the 7.7 percent expansion in the final three months of last year but exceeded the median forecast of 7.3 percent in a survey of 13 economists by AFP.

In the first three months of the year the economy "performed within a proper range, with structural adjustment, economic transformation and upgrading continuing to make progress", NBS spokesman Sheng Laiyun said in a statement.

"However, we should keep in mind that the external environment remains complicated and volatile, and the national economy still faces downward pressure."

The NBS also said industrial production, which measures output at factories, workshops and mines, rose 8.8 percent year-on-year in March.

Retail sales, a key indicator of consumer spending, increased 12.2 percent in the same month, the NBS said, while fixed asset investment, a measure of government spending on infrastructure, rose 17.6 percent on-year in the first three months.

AFP


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