China's economy grows 6.9% in first quarter of 2017: gov't

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The IMF's economic growth forecast for China in 2017 is 6.6 per cent compared to a 6.5 percent estimate in January

China's economy grew 6.9 percent in the first quarter of 2017, government data showed Monday, beating expectations in the latest sign of stabilisation in the world's second-largest economy.

The reading was better than the median analyst expectation of 6.8 percent in an AFP poll.

"The national economy in the first quarter has maintained the momentum of steady and sound development," the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.

It added that "positive changes kept emerging and major indicators performed better than expected".

The government has trimmed its 2017 GDP growth target to "around 6.5 percent" as the world's second-largest economy, already expanding at the slowest pace in a quarter-century, faces an array of challenges.

The economy grew 6.7 percent in 2016, its slowest rate since 1990.

Monday's data also showed China's industrial output growth rose to 7.6 percent year-on-year in March, beating an estimate of 6.3 by Bloomberg News.

Retail spending grew a forecast-beating 10.9 percent, while fixed-asset investment rose 9.2 percent in the first three months of the year, representing a slight acceleration from February.