China's economy grew at its slowest pace in six years, latest official figures have revealed.
The country's GDP grew seven per cent in the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago, its slowest rate of growth since the middle of the financial crisis in 2009. That compares to economic growth of 7.3 per cent in the previous quarter.
While the figure was in line with expectations, Asian markets fell on the figures as further data on the construction and manufacturing sectors disappointed investors.
The data leaves a question mark hanging over the country's growth target of seven per cent for 2015 and putting pressure on Premier Li Keqiang to pursue further economic stimulus.
While GDP data was "spot on the market consensus at 7.0 per cent year-on-year, exactly at the government’s target," said Marshall Gittler at IronFX Global, "if GDP is 7.0 per cent in Q1, then it has to be at least 7.0 per cent every other quarter in order to meet the target for the year. With output, consumption and exports weak, is that likely to happen?" he asked.