China’s gross domestic product grew 7.4 percent in the first quarter from the same time last year, easing from 7.7 percent growth a year earlier and for the full year, according to data released Wednesday by the National Bureau of Statistics. The figure also came in below the government’s 7.5 percent target for 2014.
Government officials said last year that the economy should change from investment-led growth to one driven by consumption. In that vein, fixed-asset investment increased 17.6 percent in the first three months, easing from 17.9 percent in the first two months and down from 19.6 percent last year.
Meanwhile, retail sales climbed 12 percent, accelerating from 11.8 percent expansion in the first two months. For March alone, growth was 12.2 percent, but it was far below the 13.7 percent peak recorded last year.
Value-added industrial production gained 8.7 percent in the first quarter, falling 0.8 percentage point from the same period last year. In March, it grew 8.8 percent from a year earlier, improving from 8.6 percent expansion in the January-February period.
Growth in property development investment slid 2.5 percentage points to 16.8 percent, compared with 19.3 percent in the first two months and 19.8 percent a year earlier.
At last month’s National People’s Congress gathering, the central government did not put as much emphasis on property curbs as it had in previous years, but said it will tailor housing controls to local conditions and ensure a greater supply of commercial and affordable homes to meet demand.
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