China’s economy lost momentum in the first quarter and growth in 2014 could fall short of the government’s official target, according to a CNNMoney survey of economists.
Gross domestic product is forecast to have grown by 7.3% in the first quarter, compared with the same period a year ago, according to the median of 12 estimates. Looking ahead, the economists surveyed also expect full-year growth to slow to 7.3%, below the official target of 7.5%.
The National Bureau of Statistics is expected to announce first quarter GDP figures next Wednesday. China’s GDP growth is being closely watched as the government works to reform the world’s second largest economy after years of runaway expansion.
A sluggish start to the year is typical, given the Lunar New Year holiday. But there’s no denying the slowing trend — China recorded GDP growth of 7.7% in the last two years, versus 9.3% in 2011 and 10.5% in 2010.
The government says it’s comfortable with growth around 7.5%. Observers say Beijing’s laser focus on economic expansion hasn’t wavered.