China's economy grew 6.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, government data showed today, beating expectations in the latest sign of stabilisation in the world's second-largest economy. The reading was better than the median analyst expectation of 6.8 per cent in an AFP poll. "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". The government has trimmed its 2017 GDP growth target to "around 6.5 per cent" as the world's second-largest economy, already expanding at the slowest pace in a quarter-century, faces an array of challenges. The economy grew 6.7 per cent in 2016, its slowest rate since 1990. Today's data also showed China's industrial output growth rose to 7.6 per cent year-on-year in March, beating an estimate of 6.3 by Bloomberg News. Retail spending grew a forecast-beating 10.9 per cent, while fixed-asset investment rose 9.2 per cent in the first three months of the year, representing a slight acceleration from February.
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