World Bulletin / News Desk
China's economy grew 6.9 percent in the first quarter of 2017, government data showed Monday, beating expectations in the latest sign of stabilisation for the world's second-largest economy.
The economy grew at just 6.7 percent in 2016, its slowest rate in a quarter of a century.
"For the first time in the recent years, China starts a year with a strong headline GDP," Raymond Yeung of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group told Bloomberg News.
"Thanks to strong investment and property, the economy is performing well."
The reading Monday marked the second quarterly improvement since the final three months of 2014.
It was better than the median analyst expectation of 6.8 percent in a poll, and also up on the fourth quarter figure.
"The national economy in the first quarter has maintained the momentum of steady and sound development," the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.
It added that "positive changes kept emerging and major indicators performed better than expected".
Monday's data also showed China's industrial output growth rose to 7.6 percent year-on-year in March, beating a Bloomberg estimate of 6.3.
Retail spending rebounded to a forecast-beating 10.9 percent, while fixed-asset investment rose 9.2 percent in the first three months of the year, representing a slight acceleration from February.
The readings follow data showing robust foreign trade and a further expansion in factory activity driven by a pickup in production and demand last month.
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Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom spoke ahead of talks of the EU's 28 trade ministers to discuss an attempt to woo the US away from punishing steel and aluminium tariffs and win Europe a similar break as handed China.
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