China’s gross domestic product grew 7.4% in the first quarter, down from 7.7% in the previous quarter, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday. However, the gain was higher than the 7.3% increase forecast by economists from two seperate polls by The Wall Street Journal and Reuters.
The economy rose 1.4% from the previous quarter, the statistical bureau said.
Among other data, China’s industrial output gained 8.8% in March versus a year earlier, up from 8.6% in the January-to-February period. Retail sales growth also accelerated to 12.2% in March, compared to 11.8% for the January-to-February period.
Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index is rising 0.5%, up from the opening gain of 0.1%. However, the Shanghai Composite is edging down 0.2%.
The Australian dollar, which is often sensitive to economic news from China — Australia’s top trading partner, strengthened after the data and reversed earlier losses. The currency is trading at 93.57 U.S. cents, slightly higher than 93.56 U.S. cents from the prior session.