BEIJING, April 3 (Xinhua) -- China's GDP growth is likely to accelerate in the first quarter of the year following a pick-up in industrial activity and improving domestic demand, according to a Chinese investment bank.
China International Capital Corporation (CICC) said in a research report that GDP growth could quicken to 6.9 percent in the first quarter from 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016.
CICC expected China's retail sales of consumer goods to increase 10.2 percent year on year in March, accelerating from the 9.5 percent rise registered for January-February.
Industrial output growth may slow slightly from 6.3 percent in the first two months of the year to 6.1 percent in March because of a higher comparative base from last year, according to CICC.
It also projected fixed asset investment to grow 8.4 percent in the first three months of the year, with the consumer price index rising 0.9 percent in March.
China is scheduled to release its first-quarter economic data, including GDP growth, fixed asset investment, industrial output and retail sales, on April 17.
The country's manufacturing purchasing managers' index came in at 51.8 in March, higher than 51.6 recorded in February, reinforcing signs that the economy is firming up. The index has stayed above the boom-bust line of 50 for eighth months in a row.