China’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased 6.1% in the first quarter of 2009, official data has shown.
The quarterly growth was the slowest in the past 10 years as the global financial crisis continued to affect the world’s fastest-growing economy.
The growth was 4.5% lower than the first quarter of 2008 and 0.7% less than the previous quarter.
China has started to implement a 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) stimulus package to counter the impact of the global slowdown, helping prompt a surge in lending in the first three months of the year.
“The overall national economy showed positive changes, with better performance than expected,” China’s National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement distributed ahead of a news conference.
“(We should) continuously improve macroeconomic policies and make efforts to realise sound and fast growth,” it said.
Fat Prophet resource analyst Gavin Wendt said the better than expected increase in China’s GDP was a positive sign for the future of Australia’s iron ore prices.
“The iron ore demand indications coming out of China – certainly during the most recent month of March – indicate the steel industry there is starting to crank up again,” he said.
“Indeed the Chinese leadership are talking about their economic stimulus measures starting to have a positive effect.”
Rio Tinto’s iron ore production in Western Australia’s Pilbara region dropped 15% in the first quarter of this year, compared with a year ago.