According to the Ministry of Statistics, GDP growth in first quarter of 2012 was 8.1 percent. Since the fourth quarter of 2010, this was the 5th quarter to see a decline. The growth in the eastern region showed a larger decline, while the middle west region appeared to be stable. According to Peng Xinyun, an economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the decline was due to a number of factors: the macro policy adjustment on real estate and fixed asset investment, currency contraction measures, as well as the economic crisis in the E.U. and the slow recovery of the U.S. economy.
Many economists believe that the GDP in the first quarter was lower than expected, but it is expected to improve in the second quarter. Premier Wen Jiabao delivered the 2012 Government Work Report, which set the target for the 2012 GDP at 7.5 percent.
Source: Xinhua, April 21, 2012