China’s economy grows 5.3% in first quarter, beating expectations

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China’s economy in the first quarter grew faster than expected, official data released Tuesday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics showed.

Gross domestic product in the January to March period grew 5.3% compared to a year ago — faster than the 5.2% expansion in the fourth quarter of 2023 and 4.6% growth expected by economists polled by Reuters.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, China’s GDP grew 1.6% in the first quarter, compared to Reuters poll expectations of 1.4% and a revised fourth-quarter expansion of 1.2%. Beijing has set a 2024 growth target of around 5%.

Growth was driven in part by external demand, as export volume grew by 14% year on year, said Zhiwei Zhang, president and chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management.