China’s economic growth for the first quarter of this year eased slightly, while inflation reached its highest level in nearly three years.
Sheng Laiyun, from the China National Bureau of Statistics, told reporters the government is satisfied with the country’s economic growth in the first three months of this year.
Sheng says the national economy maintained steady and fast growth, and had a very good beginning. He says China’s first quarter gross domestic product registered a year-on-year increase of 9.7 percent.
That was slightly lower than the 9.8 percent growth registered in the previous quarter.
At the same time, Sheng said inflation is continuing.
Sheng says in the first quarter of this year, consumer prices overall went up by 5 percent year-on-year with a 4.9 percent price rise in the cities compared to 5.5 percent in rural areas. He says the prices for food rose by 11 percent.
China’s consumer price index for March rose 5.4 percent, a 32-month high.
Communist China’s rulers are concerned about inflation because it can spark social unrest if it becomes too severe. Many Chinese families spend a large portion of their money on food, so price rises for foodstuffs are especially serious.
One 23-year-old messenger, Zhang Haichao, says he is feeling the pressure.
Zhang says the situation has not yet become unbearable, but that people like him clearly feel that prices are constantly rising. He says every few months; there is a new price for the things he wants to buy.
The Chinese government already has boosted interest rates four times since October and taken other steps to try to cool prices.