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China's economic growth slowed surprisingly in the first three months of the year, official data by the country’s national statistics office shows today. Gross domestic product (GDP) rose by an annual 7.7% in the first quarter, down from 7.9% in the previous quarter.
The results were below analysts’ expectations with J.P. Morgan cutting China's economic growth forecast for 2013 to less than 8% on Monday. The bank now expects the mainland economy to grow 7.8% in 2013, down from a previous forecast of 8.2%. J.P. Morgan had anticipated China’s economy to grow by 8.1% in the first quarter of the year.
“The new government has concentrated more on raising the quality of economic growth,” said Sheng Laiyun, spokesman for China's National Bureau of Statistics to news agency Reuters. “7.7% is not a low growth rate given the global and domestic situation, and it's good for companies' restructuring and industrial upgrading.”
Following the release of the data, stock markets across the globe noted declines, such as in the UK, Australia and South Africa. Finance institute, RMB, said in response: “China released disappointing growth numbers for the first quarter of this year. The weak Chinese data add to the growing body of evidence that the global economy remains stuck in a rut of subpar growth.”