News / Asia

Chinese Economy Slows in First Quarter

Laborers work at a construction site in Beijing, April 16, 2014.
Laborers work at a construction site in Beijing, April 16, 2014.
Chinese officials said economic growth for the world's second largest economy slowed in the first quarter of this year. Economists are warning that the downward trend could continue as China seeks to transform its economy with market-based reforms.
China's National Bureau of Statistics said economic growth in China during the first quarter slipped to its slowest pace in 18 months.
Bureau spokesman Sheng Laiyun said the growth rate of 7.4 percent is a reflection of China's efforts to transform its economic model. He said the figures were still within the range the government expects, and that there are already signs of progress in the government's efforts to reform the economy.
Sheng added, however, that "at the same time the complexities of the global economy continue to put downward pressure on the Chinese economy." He said that, "looking forward, persistent efforts are needed to oversee the rollout and implementation of government policies."
Some economists saw reason for optimism in the figures released Tuesday, noting that industrial production picked up in March and that retail sales were slightly better than expected for the first quarter.
Others predict the slowing of the Chinese economy will continue.
Andrew Batson of GK Dragonomics in Beijing said seasonal factors can make first quarter growth seem to be especially weak and that the economy may pick up from its current pace. But, more broadly, he says, it's likely the government will not reach its goal of 7.5 percent for this year.
"Growth is going to slow this year pretty much regardless of what the government does. If they can avoid that growth slow down turning into a negative spiral and keep spirits high in the private sector companies, then I don't think the growth slowdown is disastrous," said Baston. "But, it depends on their ability to deliver politically."
Late last year, China unveiled sweeping reforms aimed at letting the market have more sway in the economy, but some economists say their rollout is taking too long.
The changes are hoped to make the economy more efficient by opening up more sectors to competition from private and foreign enterprises.
Song Hong, an economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said China's economy still has huge potential, but government measures to address problems such as local government debt, graft and the country's red-hot property market have had a dampening effect on the economy.
Song said that, "from the time that the new government stepped into office it has taken a more cautious approach to the economy as it has taken steps to avoid the problems of the past such as corruption and inefficiencies." He said, "the government has yet to fully utilize some of the potential of the Chinese economy of more opportunities for development."
Song said that could come in the form of investment in public infrastructure projects, the loosening of credit and a wide range of restrictions including those on the purchase of homes.
The Chinese government has already announced some measures to boost growth such as investment in railway projects and tax cuts for small firms. They are also speeding up efforts to improve slum areas known as shantytowns, where tens of millions of poor Chinese live.
However, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China will not use any major short-term stimulus measures to fight short-term dips in the country's economic growth.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs