China’s economy grew at its slowest pace in nearly three years in the first three months of this year.
However analysts expect a rebound in coming months as recent stimulus measures from the government kick in.
China’s fiscal policy has been firmly pro-growth since last autumn and there was a big increase in new lending in March.
The annual rate of GDP growth in the first quarter slowed to 8.1 percent from 8.9 percent in the previous three months. It was the fifth straight quarter of decline.
The National Statistics Bureau’s spokesman Sheng Laiyun said everything was going to plan: “China’s rate of economic growth fell partly due to changes in the domestic and international economic situation, that resulted in a slowdown in the growth of demand; but to a major extent, it was the result of the Chinese government’s voluntary adjustments.”
Beijing has reduced the amount that the country’s banks have to keep in their reserves freeing up the equivalent of almost 100 billion euros of extra cash to lend.
Seeking to address surging inflation and cool an overheated economy Beijing had previously tightened lending.
Still private sector economists believe China will suffer its slowest full year of growth since 2002 and that the government will pursue policies to cushion the decline from 2011’s 9.2 percent, but not attempt to reverse it.