China: Economic growth falls to 6.1 percent

Xinhua: Figures released Thursday show the slowest rate of growth in nearly a decade.
China’s economy grew 6.1 percent in the first quarter of 2009, down from 6.8 percent last quarter and from 10.6 percent year-on-year, state media reported on Thursday.

It is the slowest rate of growth for the Asian nation in nearly a decade, Xinhua reported. The economic data was announced at a news conference by Ma Jiantang, director of the National Bureau of Statistics. Gross domestic product reached 6.6 trillion yuan (about $939 billion) during the quarter, according to government-run news agency Xinhua. Meanwhile, industrial output grew 5.1 percent for the quarter and showed signs of improvement — climbing 8.3 percent in March. China’s consumer price index and producer price index — two major indicators of inflation — fell 1.2 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively, while retail sales grew 15 percent.

Other bright spots were a rise of fixed-asset investment to 28.8 percent, compared with last year, to $411 billion. Foreign direct investment declined 20.6 percent in the first quarter, compared with the same period last year, with investments totaling $21.8 billion.