China’s growth slowed further in Q1 2015, expanding 7% compared to a year earlier, its slowest pace since the global financial crisis in 2009.
The rate was lower than the 7.3% posted for Q4 2014.
In 2014, China’s economy, which is the world’s second largest, grew at its slowest pace since 1990.
It expanded by 7.4% in 2014, missing its annual growth target of 7.5% for the first time in 15 years.
Despite the slowdown, the Chinese economy was still one of the world’s fasting-growing and analysts have said it was proving to be more resilient than expected.
However, they have also said that slower growth, together with China’s cooling property market – a key economic driver – was likely to mean further easing by its central bank this year, including further rate cuts among other measures.
In February 2015, the People’s Bank of China unexpectedly cut interest rates for the second time since last November.
Interest rate cuts together with injections of liquidity are some of the tools Beijing uses to fine tune its economic growth.
The latest growth numbers were by no means a hard landing – which some had feared – and were in line with the latest government target, analysts said.
In Q1 2009, amid the financial crisis, China’s economy expanded 6.6% from a year earlier.
China also released industrial production (IP) figures on April 15 which fell to 5.9% month-on-month in March, down from forecasts for an expansion of 6.9% and the lowest since 2008.
Analysts said these figures were more glaring than the growth data.
Markets were lacklustre following the numbers however, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index up 0.7% and the benchmark Shanghai Composite flat, up just 0.01% at 4,135.91.