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Stats Bureau: Positive Signs for China's Economy

China's gross domestic product (GDP) registered a year-on-year increase of 6.1% in the first quarter of 2009, China's National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday.

The figure set a record-low for quarterly growth over the past decade, and paled in comparison to the 10.6% growth seen during the same period last year.

But China's economy saw better performance than expected, Li Xiaochao, the Bureau's spokesman stressed at the beginning of a press conference on April 16. He stated that under the current circumstances, it was no easy task for China to realize a 6.1% growth rate.

The Bureau's data showed that in the first quarter, China's GDP reached over 6.57 trillion yuan (about 961 billion US dollars), and its investment in fixed assets saw a year-on-year growth of 28.8% to over 2.8 trillion yuan (nearly 410 billion US dollars).

Furthermore, retail sales of consumer goods climbed to over 2.9 trillion yuan, or a rise of 15% compared the same period last year.

The Chinese stock market also rallied over the past five trading days, with the Shanghai composite index rising by 8.04% from 2,347.39 points to over 2,536 points.

Though these all signaled an economic comeback for China, other economic indicators reflected the country still faced severe economic situation.

For instance, the country's total value of imports and exports for the first quarter of 2009 registered a year-on-year decrease of 24.9% to 428.7 billion US dollars, among with total value of exports down by 19.7%. In addition, actually utilized foreign direct investment in the first quarter was down by 5.6 billion US dollars to 21.8 billion US dollars from a year earlier.

At the press conference, Li also disclosed that up to over 4.5 trillion yuan (about 658.8 billion US dollars) of new loans flowed into the market in the first quarter of 2009.

But some market observers had suspected that some new loans didn't enter real economy and were instead going into the stock and real estate markets. In addition, China's foreign exchange reserves reached over 1.95 trillion US dollars by the end of March.

You can see the National Bureau of Statistics' data here.

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