Beijing: China's economic growth slipped to to 7.7 percent in the January-March quarter this year against 7.9 percent in the previous quarter belying hopes of surge in growth due to reforms by new leadership and excessive liquidity.
The growth rate was weaker than most market expectations, but still stayed above the 7.5 percent full-year target for 2013 set by the government last month, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday.
According to preliminary statistics, the gross domestic product (GDP) totaled 11.89 trillion yuan (USD 1.9 trillion) in the first three months, state run Xinhua news agency reported.
Analysts say that though the growth is still healthy, hopes of accelerated growth due to liquidity and favourable export data belied expectations.
China's full-year annual growth in 2012 eased to 7.8 percent, its weakest since 1999.
At the government's annual legislative session held in March, the government set this year's GDP growth target at 7.5 percent to leave room for economic restructuring.
This marks the second consecutive year for the world's second-largest economy to target 7.5 percent growth.
World Bank predicted China?s economy to grow at about 8.1 percent this year, while ADB forecast 8.2 percent but linked it to the recovery of US and EU, top two trade partners of China.
GDP figures headed a string of other data showing that industrial output grew 9.5 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2013, down from the 11.6-percent pace recorded during the same period of last year.
The growth of fixed-asset investment, a measure of government spending on infrastructure, remained unchanged at 20.9 percent during the period compared to a year earlier.
Retail sales, a key indicator of consumer spending, increased 12.4 percent from a year earlier, easing from the 14.8 percent logged in the same period last year.
"The data has continued a stabilising growth trend that took shape late last year, showing that the new government does not put pursuing growth as its number-one task," Wang Jun, an economist at the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges.
This is the first quarter of Chinese new leadership took over power introducing a number of reforms to avert the slow down.
At the same the new leaders say that super high double digit growth which China posted in the not very distant past is no Earlier this month China?s new President, Xi Jinping said China will sustain "relatively high" economic growth but his government was averse to ?super high growth? as it is "unnecessary".