China’s Economic Growth Slowest in Six Years

Since the last quarter 2009, China's economy has expanded at the weakest pace, with output, investment and retail data pointing in the direction of a deepening slowdown.

In Beijing, on Wednesday, while matching the median estimate of economists and the leadership's full-year expansion target, the statistics bureau said that the gross domestic product has shown a 7% rise in the three months through March from a year earlier.

China's leaders have signaled tolerance for a slower expansion as they seek to rein in debt risks, corruption and pollution. But, today's reports have spoken about the case for policy makers to deploy greater stimulus.

Premier Li Keqiang's government has already given some relaxation in home-purchasing rules. It has cut the interest rates twice and reduced the reserves banks must set aside, in recent months.

Andrew Polk, a Beijing-based economist at the Conference Board research group, said, "Economic momentum down-shifted more significantly in March. The implications are for further sluggishness in the second quarter, without a more forceful policy response".

On Tuesday, Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science and Technology Co. Ltd., the Changsha-based construction machinery manufacturer, while underscoring the impact slowing investment is having on the ground, flagged a first- quarter loss.

Due to the Lunar New Year holidays, the company cited the continued slowdown in fixed-asset investment and delays in projects.

The Shanghai Composite Index of stocks has shown a 1.2% slid, eroding some of this year's rally. Asian stocks have also faced a fall, with the MSCI Asia Pacific Index retreating from the highest level in over six years.

The Australian dollar has declined, and one-year interest-rate swaps slid to a four-month low on speculation of further monetary easing.

Industrial production showed a 5.6% rise in March from a year earlier. It was the weakest since November 2008 and was less than the 7% median estimate of analysts.