China's GDP grew less than estimated in the first quarter of 2012, buttressing the case for further monetary policy easing to boost growth in the world's second largest economy.
China's GDP expanded by 8.1% in the January to March quarter of 2012 from a year earlier, its slowest in nearly three years.
This represents a sharp slowdown from the 8.9% growth reported in the fourth quarter of 2011, and also falls short of the 8.4% expansion expected by economists.
Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Friday also showed that China’s industrial output for March increased 11.9% from the same month a year-earlier, while monthly retail sales were up 15.2%.
Both figures beat estimates.