China's economic growth remained steady and healthy in the first quarter of 2017, the country's top economic planner said on Thursday.
At its monthly press conference, China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said the Purchase Management Index, or PMI, stood at 51.8 percent in the first quarter of 2017. The figure has been over 50 percent for six consecutive months, indicating economic expansion.
Another indicator for increased economic activity was electricity consumption, which rose by 6.9 percent year on year in the first quarter. Industrial firms such as iron and steel makers account for 75 percent of the increase.
China's top economic planning body approved 56 projects worth 240.9 billion yuan (35.04 billion US dollars) in areas such as hydro-power, energy and transportation.
Data on gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the first quarter is scheduled to be released by the National Bureau of Statistics on April 17.
China's GDP likely grew by 6.8 percent year on year in the first quarter, faster than the 6.7-percent increase in the same three-month period the year before, according to economists forecasts.
Market demand at home and abroad was stable, enterprises' production continued to recover while pressure on the production of manufactured goods eased, Zhang Liqun, a researcher with the Development Research Center under the State Council, was quoted as saying.
"China's economic growth has stabilized, with initial signs showing solid growth," Zhang said.