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Economists predict 8 percent growth in key Chinese economic report

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 China’s economic growth likely picked up slightly in the first quarter of this year, according to an AFP poll of analysts, but they say the rebound is fragile and key data unreliable.

First-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) for the world’s second-largest economy is due to be announced Monday and the median forecast in the poll of 12 economists was for an 8.0 percent increase year-on-year.

That would be a notch up from the 7.9 percent attained in the final quarter of last year, which snapped seven straight quarters of slowing growth and raised hopes of a stable recovery as other major economies remain relatively weak.

China’s economy grew 7.8 percent in 2012, its slowest rate in 13 years, and authorities have kept their growth target for 2013 at a conservative 7.5 percent.

In an effort to boost the economy, Beijing last year relaxed monetary policy and access to credit, while keeping a eye on politically sensitive price increases.

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