China’s economic expansion held up amid robust consumer spending, underpinning global growth and giving authorities more room to purge excessive borrowing, while the industrial sector showed signs of modest slowdown.

  • Gross domestic product grew 6.8% in the first quarter from year earlier, matching both the previous quarter’s pace and projections in a Bloomberg survey
  • Retail sales increased 10.1% in March from a year earlier, vs a forecast of 9.7%
  • Industrial production rose 6.0% last month; forecast 6.3%
  • Fixed-asset investment climbed 7.5% in the quarter
  • A new urban surveyed-jobless rate stood at 5.1% at end-March

Steady growth offers support for President Xi Jinping’s mission to shore up financial stability, one of Beijing’s top goals along with reducing poverty and curbing pollution. The robust pace of expansion is a tailwind for the global economy which is seen maintaining its solid performance this year, providing needed support in the form of strong demand for China’s exports.

“The picture is pretty robust,” Cui Li, head of macro research at CCB International Holdings Ltd. in Hong Kong, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “Consumption is very strong, so that’s in line with the rebalancing story.”

What our economists say
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