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China has batted away concerns that its economy is faltering, by posting better-than-expected growth figures.
Despite the pressure of Donald Trump’s trade war, the Chinese economy grew at an annual pace of 6.4% in the first three months of this year, official figures show.
That matches the previous quarter’s growth rate, and suggests Beijing’s stimulus programme succeed in warding off a slowdown and a potential hard landing.
Economists had expected growth to slow to 6.3%, down from 6.8% a year ago, as the trade dispute with America — and slowing global growth — hit the world’s second largest economy.
China’s industrial heartland, and its swelling consumer base, were both more robust than economists had feared.
Industrial production surged by 8.5% year-on-year in March, the strongest performance in over four years.
Retail sales also smashed forecasts, up 8.7% in March, up from 8.2% previously.
In a further boost, China’s unemployment rate fell from 5.3% to 5.2% and property investment jumped to 11.8% year-on-year, from 11.6%.
The news has sent a gust of relief through the financial markets, given China’s crucial role in the global economy.
As Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics, puts it:
“There is no denying that China’s economy ended the first quarter on a stronger note.
China’s economy will bottom out before long if it has not already.”
But there is one proviso…. exactly how reliable is Chinese data, given the pressure to keep hitting the government’s targets, and the sheer size of its economy?
Also coming up today
New Uk inflation figures will show if the cost of living in Britain, and Europe, rose last month.
Economists predict the UK’s consumer prices index picked up to 2% in March, up from 1.9% in April. That would take the shine off Tuesday’s earnings figures, which showed nominal wage growth at a 10-year high.
Eurozone inflation is expected to be weaker, dropping from 1.5% to 1.4% per year.
- 9.30am BST: UK inflation report for March
- 9.30am BST: UK house price report for February
- 10am BST: Eurozone inflation report for March