China's economy expanded 7.0 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, official data showed Wednesday, slumping to a new post global financial crisis low even as authorities take steps to bolster growth in the world's second-largest economy.
The figure announced by the National Bureau of Statistics was lower than expansion of 7.3 percent in the final three months of last year, but exceeded the median forecast of 6.9 percent in an AFP survey of 15 economists.
The result remained the worst for a single quarter since the first three months of 2009, when GDP increased 6.6 percent in the depths of the global financial crisis.
China's economy last year grew 7.4 percent, down from 7.7 percent in 2013, and its slowest annual expansion since 3.8 percent in 1990.
"Despite the slowing down of economic growth, employment, consumer price and market expectation remained stable," the NBS said in a statement.
"Positive factors were accumulating with restructuring work advancing steadily, transformation and upgrading showing good momentum, and new impetus experiencing rapid development," it added.
"In the future... we must place priority on stabilising economic growth, ensuring employment, and improving efficiency."
Separately, the NBS announced that China's industrial output, which measures production at factories, workshops and mines, rose 5.6 percent year-on-year in March.
Retail sales, a key indicator of consumer spending, gained 10.2 percent in March from the year before, the NBS said.
And fixed asset investment, a measure of government spending on infrastructure, grew 13.5 percent in January-March on-year, the NBS added.