China Q1 GDP growth steady at 6.4 pct y/y, beats expectations for slowdown

BEIJING, April 17 (Reuters) - China’s economy grew 6.4 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, official data showed on Wednesday, above expectations and steady from the previous quarter, helped by sharply higher factory production.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected growth to slow slightly to 6.3 percent in the January-March quarter, the slowest pace in at least 27 years.

China’s trading partners and investors are closely watching for signs of improvement in its economy amid growing worries about sputtering global growth.

Initial March readings had offered some encouragement that the economy was starting to turn the corner after a rocky start to the year, but analysts say it is too early to call a sustainable turnaround. (Reporting by Kevin Yao; Writing by Ryan Woo; Editing by Kim Coghill)