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China growth may have slowed ahead of revival

That China economy probably expanded at the slowest pace in almost three years in the first quarter, setting the stage for monetary loosening and aid to exporters to drive a rebound and fuel global growth.

According to the median estimate of 41 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News ahead of a report tomorrow gross domestic product rose 8.4% from a year earlier following an 8.9% increase in the fourth quarter. The data may also show that industrial production and retail sales accelerated in March while spending on fixed assets slowed.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd and HSBC Holdings PLc predict the world second largest economy will pick up this quarter as Premier Mr Wen Jiabao cuts banks required reserves and direct funds to infrastructure projects and smaller companies. That would help a global expansion clouded by US job gains that trailed forecasts in March and renewed concern over Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis.

Mr Liu Li-Gang chief Greater China economist at ANZ in Hong Kong who previously worked at the World Bank said “China slowdown is at the end of the tunnel as growth is going to start picking up pace. A rebound in growth starting this quarter will be a stabilizer for the world recovery as Wen’s measures boost loan growth offsetting weaker property sales and related consumption.”

Mr Liu forecasts GDP expansion of 9% in the three months ending June 30. Bank of America Corp. predicts 8.5% for that quarter and 8.6% in the second half as. Deutsche Bank AG, Nomura Holdings Inc. and Daiwa Capital Markets last month raised their growth forecasts for 2012 partly on anticipation of looser monetary policy.

China has allowed the yuan to weaken 0.2% this year against the dollar, following 2011 4.7% gain in the currency amid a slowdown in exports. The yuan was little changed yesterday at 6.3081.

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