China's GDP grows 6.8% in the first quarter, slightly more than expected

Hexi New Town is seen in Nanjing Jiangsu province is seen on July 30

Hexi New Town is seen in Nanjing Jiangsu province is seen on July 30

China's economy grew 6.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2018, slightly faster than expected, buoyed by strong consumer demand and surprisingly robust property investment despite continued measures to tame rising home prices.

That topped a consensus estimate of 6.7 percent year-over-year growth for the quarter. The economy had grown 6.9 percent in the first two quarters of past year.

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If both countries proceed to implement proposed tariffs on each other's products, it could imperil the stable economic growth Xi is seeking in order to attain his government's goal of building a "moderately prosperous society" in the world's most populous nation.

China's strong growth a year ago came despite widespread concerns about financial risks in the East Asian giant amid a government-led economic restructuring.

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In addition, fixed asset investment growth from January to March slowed to 7.5 percent year-on-year, lower than the 7.9% in the first two months of 2018. Retail sales held up particularly well, up 9.8% for the quarter compared with the same period the previous year.

Industrial output was perhaps the biggest downside surprise, expanding 6.0 per cent in March on-year, the slowest pace in seven months.

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Oxford Economic's full-year GDP forecast for China is 6.4 percent, which is a tick down from around 6.5 percent targeted by Beijing.

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