China GDP growth steadies at 6.4pc in Q1

An employee on the production line of an electronics factory is seen reflected on equipment in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China April 2, 2019. — Reuters pic
An employee on the production line of an electronics factory is seen reflected on equipment in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China April 2, 2019. — Reuters pic

BEIJING, April 17 — China's economy beat forecasts as it remained steady with 6.4 per cent growth in the first quarter amid tepid global demand, a US trade war and a debt battle, official data showed today.

The growth figure released by the National Bureau of Statistics was the same as the last quarter of 2018 and better than the 6.3 per cent forecast by analysts polled by AFP.

"The national economy enjoyed stable performance with growing positive factors and stronger market expectation and confidence, sustaining the momentum of progress in overall stability," the NBS said in a news release.

Top policymakers huddled in Beijing last month announced major plans to support the flagging economy, announcing massive tax cuts, fee reductions and financing support.

Beijing faces a delicate balancing act as it tries to support private businesses in need of credit without further inflating its debt balloon.

New credit flooded into the financial system last month, with the growth of bank loans and total outstanding credit accelerating, though analysts say it will take about six months to spark an economic turnaround.

Another drag on the economy, the US-China trade war, appears to be approaching a resolution after nine rounds of high-level talks between American and Chinese officials.

The two sides have exchanged tariffs on more than US$360 billion (RM1.48 trillion) in two-way trade, hurting manufacturers in China and farmers in the US.

But no date has been set to bring together President Donald Trump and his counterpart Xi Jinping for a deal signing. — AFP

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