China's GDP grows 6.8% in the first quarter, slightly more than expected

Tuesday, 17 Apr, 2018

Chinese officials say the country's economy grew 6.8 percent during the first three months of 2018.

China's economy grew 6.8% in Q1 of 2018, the country's Statistics Bureau announced today.

Analysts are watching to see if trade tensions with the USA will develop into a major risk going forward.

China's strong growth a year ago came despite widespread concerns about financial risks in the East Asian giant amid a government-led economic restructuring.

Overall Jan-March fixed-asset investment growth slowed to 7.5 per cent, just below expectations.

March retail sales rose 10.1 per cent from a year earlier, the strongest pace in four months, with consumers buying more of nearly everything from cosmetics and clothing to furniture and home appliances. Online retail sales surged 35.4 percent on the back of the rapid spread of e-commerce shopping.

Analysts had predicted industrial output growth would cool to 6.2 per cent from 7.2 per cent in the first two months of the year.

Trade tensions with the United States began rising sharply only in late March, making it unlikely that they had much impact on economic activity in the first quarter. The world's second-largest economy has been fighting debt for years as it tries to balance economic stability against the potential fallout from any sharp deceleration.

Oxford Economic's full-year GDP forecast for China is 6.4 percent, which is a tick down from around 6.5 percent targeted by Beijing.