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China Growth Slows to 7.4 Percent

China's economy grew 7.4 percent in the first quarter of this year, the slowest rate in 18 months for the world's second biggest economy.

The growth rate exceeded economists' expectations. But still, it was down from the 7.7 percent rate of growth in the last three months of 2013.

Beijing has set a target growth rate of 7.5 percent in 2014 - a relatively modest goal. But for now, Chinese leaders appear to see this as tolerable, as they guide the economy toward a more sustainable model based on domestic consumption.

Premier Li Keqiang last week ruled out any major stimulus, such as the one employed following the 2008 global financial downturn.



Julian Evans-Pritchard with the Singapore-based Capital Economics tells VOA China's economy will likely continue to slow, but gradually.



"We're not concerned about a hard landing. Policy makers have all the tools in their hands to step in and support growth if they want to. What they're trying to achieve is a balancing act between slowing credit growth and achieving regional growth."



Many see the slowdown partly as a result of China's limiting of credit expansion, which fueled much of China's growth in the past.

Scott Kennedy, a China specialist with Indiana University, agrees there will be no "hard landing." He tells VOA China's economy has a "very good foundation for rapid growth for a long time."



"A growing number of people are getting better educated. Transportation and logistics to western China are expanding. A variety of reforms are being undertaken. So there are a plenty of good reasons for thinking this economy's high growth period hasn't come to an end yet."



China's economy is attempting to rebound from a prolonged slowdown, which follows three decades of staggering growth.

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