Beijing, China (4E) – China’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose by a better-than-expected 7.4 percent in the first three months of 2014, but slower compared with the 7.7 percent growth in the final quarter of 2013.
Industrial output climbed 8.8 percent in March from the same month last year, based on data released with the GDP figure.
March retail sales rose by 12.2 percent, reflecting Beijing’s efforts to boost economic growth through domestic consumption.
The central government set its GDP growth target for this year at 7.5 percent, in an effort to stabilize the economy after years of high economic growth.
The country’s economic growth data is closely monitored around the region. A Chinese slowdown could hurt Asian economies particularly those that export industrial components and commodities to the world’s second biggest economy.
A slow start for the year is typical for China, as the Lunar New Year holiday prompted many businesses and factories to halt operations for around two weeks.
Other data released recently showed weakness in manufacturing and industrial sectors, raising concerns of a prolonged slowdown.
To address these concerns, China has recently taken more measures to spur its economy. Earlier this month, Beijing announced a mini-stimulus measure that will extend a tax break for small and medium-sized businesses, and increase spending on China’s railway infrastructure.