China's economic growth slows slightly

April 15, 2013 at 12:58 AM

BEIJING, April 15 (UPI) -- China's economic growth in the first quarter of this year cooled a bit to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent in the previous quarter, data released Monday showed.

The National Bureau of Statistics said first-quarter gross domestic product totaled 11.89 trillion yuan or $1.9 trillion.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the quarterly rate, though weaker than the previous quarter, still remained above the 7.5 percent growth the government has set for all of 2013.

For all of last year, the annual growth was 7.8 percent, the weakest since 1999.

"The data has continued a stabilizing growth trend that took shape late last year, showing that the new government does not put pursuing growth as its No. 1 task," said Wang Jun, an economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

In other data released Monday, China's industrial output grew 9.5 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2013, down from the 11.6 percent in the same period of last year.

The growth of fixed-asset investment, a measure of government spending on infrastructure, remained unchanged at 20.9 percent during the period compared to a year earlier.

Retail sales, a key indicator of consumer spending, increased 12.4 percent in the latest quarter, down from 14.8 percent a year ago.

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