China's GDP continued to grow at an unexpectedly fast rate of 6.8percent from January to March, while the economy continued restructuring toward services, consumption, entrepreneurial companies and higher-quality manufacturing. Retail sales grew by 9.8 percent and the service sector grew by 7.5 percent from the same period of last year - both higher than the growth rate of overall GDP.
Final consumption expenditure in all of 2017 accounted for 58.8 percent of economic growth, while capital formation accounted for only 32.1 percent. Net exports contributed 9 percent of growth, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Although export growth remained strong in the first quarter, imports, mostly of consumer goods, grew even faster. So China's trade surplus was about one-fifth lower than in the same period last year, according to NBS data. As a result, net exports dragged down GDP growth by about 0.5 percentage point from January to March, in contrast with the boost of 0.6 percentage point from net exports in 2017.