China Q1 GDP growth supported by construction, hi-tech

Published: April 18, 2018 14:38:57 | Updated: April 21, 2018 11:34:21

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China’s construction, hi-tech and industrial output helped drive the second largest economy in the first quarter (Q1), while a slowdown in the services and agriculture sectors dragged on growth.

The construction and manufacturing sector grew 6.3 per cent from a year earlier, accelerating from a 5.7 per cent pace in the fourth quarter, official data showed on Wednesday.

The economy expanded 6.8 per cent in January-March, beating expectations for a 6.7 per cent gain, riding on the coat-tails of robust property investment and resilient consumer demand.

Manufacturing also rebounded early this year after authorities lifted winter pollution restrictions and as steel mills cranked up output as construction swung back into high gear, reports Reuters.

But economists still expect China to lose momentum in coming quarters as Beijing forces local governments to pare back infrastructure projects to contain their debt, and as property sales cool further due to strict government controls on purchases to fight speculation.

China’s construction and manufacturing accounted for 39 percent of gross domestic product in the first quarter, roughly in line with its 41 per cent share in the previous quarter.

The services sector continued to be the biggest contributor to GDP, accounting for 57 per cent of China’s economic output in the first quarter.

The country’s agriculture expanded 3.2 per cent in January-March, easing from the 4.4 pace in the previous three months.

Real estate grew 4.9 per cent in the first quarter, marginally faster than the 4.8 per cent pace in the previous quarter.

Accommodation and catering expanded 7.0 per cent, little changed from 7.1 per cent growth in October-December.

The retail and wholesale sector slowed slightly to 6.8 per cent growth from 6.9 per cent in the previous quarter.

The tech sector sustained its double-digit growth in the Q1, though its pace slowed slightly to 29.2 per cent from 33.8 per cent in October-December.

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