17 Apr 2011

Boom continues in China

7:18 am on 17 April 2011

China's economy continued to boom in March and inflation accelerated to its fastest rate since 2008.

The National Bureau of Statistics said growth was at 9.7% between January and March from the same period a year earlier.

Consumer prices rose by 5.4% in March compared with a year earlier. In February, the annual figure was 4.9%.

The government has been taking steps to try to cool property and food prices.

The BBC reports inflation in China has been accelerating despite four rises in the interest rate since October.

Chinese President Hu Jintao said on Friday that China's economic growth was still unbalanced.

He pledged to boost the role of domestic consumption in the economy.

Earlier Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said the government would use all the tools at its disposal to tackle inflation.

Rising food prices have been the main cause of inflation. The cost of food was up 11.7% in the year to March. Housing costs have also risen sharply.

Prices have also been driven up by demand. Retail sales in the first quarter of the year were up 16.3% on a year ago.

In another sign of the impact of strong growth, oil demand for February increased by 10.3% on a year ago, driving global oil prices higher.