BEIJING, April 10 (Xinhua) -- China's GDP is likely to grow by 6.8 percent year on year in the first quarter, faster than the 6.7-percent increase in Q1 of 2016, economists said.
"China's economic growth has stabilized, with initial signs showing solid growth," said Zhang Liqun, a researcher with the Development Research Center under the State Council.
Market demand at home and abroad is stable, enterprises' production has continued to recover while pressure on the production of manufactured goods has eased, Zhang was quoted as saying by the Securities Times on Monday.
The country's manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) came in at 51.8 in March, staying in the expansion territory for an eighth consecutive month. The reading beat market expectations and was the highest in nearly five years. A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion.
Lian Ping, chief economist at the Bank of Communications, said his agency raised its forecast for Q1 growth to 6.8 percent in light of investment and trade growth, among other optimistic economic data.
Growth for Q1 is scheduled to be released by the National Bureau of Statistics on April 17.
Many economists, including State Information Center economist Zhu Baoliang and CITIC Securities chief economist Zhu Jianfang, all supported the prediction of 6.8-percent Q1 growth.
For the first half, China's GDP is expected to grow by 6.7 percent year on year, the National Academy of Economic Strategy said in a report, adding that China would "without doubt" achieve its annual growth target.
The government trimmed its 2017 growth target to around 6.5 percent, the lowest in a quarter of a century.