14 Apr 2012

Economic growth in China slowing

5:37 am on 14 April 2012

China's economy has expanded at its slowest pace in almost three years.

Gross domestic product increased by an annual rate of 8.1% in the first quarter, down from 8.9% in the previous three months.

The BBC reports that was less than many analysts had forecast with most expecting a figure closer to 8.3%.

China has been hit by a drop in demand in the United States and Europe.

At the same time domestic demand has proved tough to stimulate.

The Central Bank of China has cut the reserve ratio requirement, the amount of money that banks must hold in reserve, twice in the past few months in a bid to boost lending.

Data issued on Thursday showed that banks extended 1.01 trillion yuan ($US160 billion) in new loans in March. Analysts had forecast a figure of 800 billion yuan.

Other data on Friday showed fixed asset investment grew 20.9% during the first quarter.