China’s Economy had a steady start to 2019

By Daniel Shane, CNN Business

Updated 7:41 AM ET, Wed April 17, 2019

Hong Kong (CNN Business) China's economy is showing renewed signs of life in 2019.

The world's second-biggest economy grew slightly more than expected in the first quarter of 2019, Chinese government figures showed Wednesday. It expanded by 6.4% compared to a year ago, beating economists' forecasts of 6.3%.

"This confirms that China's economic growth is bottoming out and this momentum is likely to continue going into months ahead," said Tai Hui, chief market strategist for Asia-Pacific at investment firm JPMorgan Asset Management.

Chinese government statistics showed that growth in the first three months of the year was supported by strong manufacturing production and greater spending by Chinese consumers.

Analysts said that investors will now turn to the possibility of an agreement on trade issues between the United States and China in the coming weeks. Investors' "risk appetite should improve as China's economic downturn risk is contained," Hui added.

Stimulus starts to bear fruit

The world's second largest economy has also started feeling the effects of the trade war with the United States, which has resulted in new tariffs on about $250 billion of Chinese exports.

China's government last month predicted economic growth of between 6% and 6.5% in 2019.

Beijing has resorted to hundreds of billions of dollars worth of new measures intended to stimulate the economy, including tax cuts for businesses, infrastructure spending and looser monetary policy. Experts say the measures are now starting to bear fruit. Analysts at investment firm Jefferies wrote last week that they think economic growth in 2019 could now exceed Chinese government targets.

"The national economy enjoyed stable performance with growing positive factors, and stronger market expectation and confidence," said National Bureau of Statistics spokesman Mao Shengyong.