19 Jan 2013

Growth in China picking up

6:09 am on 19 January 2013

China is showing signs of an economic rebound that could help it emerge from its worst downturn in 13 years.

According to latest government figures, growth the world's second largest economy picked up to 7.9% in the final three months of 2012, from 7.4 percent in the previous quarter.

That was driven by state investment in infrastructure projects and efforts to get consumers and companies to spend.

Economic stability is seen as vital for China as its new leaders take over.

On Friday, the statistical office reported that gross domestic product, the main measure of growth, increased by 7.8% in 2012, down from 9.3% in 2011.

That was the slowest annual rate of growth since 1999.

Other figures also issued on Friday which showed an improvement in house prices and retail sales.

Asian stock markets rose on the news and the Australian dollar gained. The Hang Seng stock index in Hong Kong was trading 0.7% higher and the Nikkei 225 in Japan gained 2.1%.