Chinese economic growth accelerates to 6.9 percent in Q1

The annual rate of growth in Chinese gross domestic product increased to 6.9 percent in the first quarter of this year, the fastest pace for 18 months, Xinhua reports, citing National Bureau of Statistics data.

The Chinese government-run news agency says the annual rate of GDP growth was 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

The target set by the Chinese government for GDP growth this year is 6.5 percent.

The report quotes a spokesman for the statistics bureau, Mao Shengyong, as saying the first-quarter acceleration was due to vigorous manufacturing and consumption, and a rebound in exports.

GDP amounted to 18.07 trillion yuan (US$2.63 trillion) in the first quarter, Xinhua says.