CHINA / National

China's economy grew 10.2% in 1st Qtr
Updated: 2006-04-16 12:36

China, the world's fastest-growing major economy, expanded by an estimated 10.2 percent in the first quarter of this year from a year earlier, President Hu Jintao said.

The median forecast was for first- quarter gross domestic product growth of 9.6 percent from the year earlier period, compared with 9.9 percent in the fourth quarter. Hu made the comments in a speech at the Great Hall of the People today during a meeting with the former chairman of Taiwan's nationalist party Lien Chan.

"This growth rate is above market expectations," said Tai Hui, Hong Kong-based economist with Standard Chartered Bank.

China's economy expanded by an average 10 percent in the past three years driven by an investment boom. Premier Wen Jiabao said the government will tighten controls on fixed-asset investment and lending after reviewing the country's first-quarter performance, the Xinhua News Agency reported on April 14.

China leapfrogged France and the U.K. to become the world's fourth-largest economy last year, boosted by the results of a nationwide census in 2004 that showed the $2.26 trillion economy was 17 percent bigger than previously estimated.

The National Bureau of Statistics is due to release GDP figures and other economic data for March at 10 a.m. in Beijing on April 20.