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China’s 1Q economic growth fastest since 2015

The Associated Press

A worker assembles an aluminum platform outside a construction site at the Central Business District of Beijing on Sunday.

The Associated Press HONG KONG (AP) — China’s economic recovery is gaining traction, with growth rising to its fastest pace in over a year in January-March.

The 6.9 percent annual pace of expansion for the world’s second-largest economy, reported Monday, surpassed economists’ forecasts and was an improvement from 6.8 percent growth in the last quarter of 2016.

Growth last was that strong in July-September of 2015.

Analysts said government spending and a property boom spurred by easy credit were the main factors helping to driving stronger demand.

China saw its slowest growth in nearly three decades in 2016, at 6.7 percent. The official full-year economic growth target for 2017 is 6.5 percent.

“Currently, China’s economy is demonstrating good signs of pickup in growth, overall price stability, expansion in employment and improvement in the international balance of payments,” Mao Shengyong, a spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics, told reporters in Beijing.

Fears of being dragged into a trade and currency war with the United States have abated after U.S. President Donald Trump toned down his previously antagonistic comments against Beijing.

A summit earlier this month with Chinese President Xi Jinping ended calmly, and the U.S. Treasury Department did not label China a currency manipulator in its latest assessment.

During the first quarter, investment in fixed assets, such as factories, expanded 9.2 percent from a year earlier, while retail sales grew 10 percent. Industrial production rose 6.8 percent, including a stronger-than- expected 7.6 percent year-on-year gain in March.

Although exports have also shown sharp improvement, strong lending and investment figures suggest Beijing is relying on its traditional strategy of powering growth through government stimulus. Speech

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