China will have investors on edge on Wednesday with the release of its first quarter growth figures, which are expected to show economic expansion grinding down to a five-year low.
Gross domestic product (GDP) growth is forecast to have slackened to 7.3 percent in the January to March period, according to a Reuters' poll, the slowest annual growth since the first quarter of 2009. This is down from 7.7 percent in the final quarter of 2013.
But don't sweat it, as growth momentum has stabilized and a cyclical pick up in the world's second-largest economy is underway, according to Li Gang Liu, chief economist, Greater China at ANZ.
"GDP is a lagging indicator. The economy has bottomed, and there is a cyclical upturn taking place – the question is how strong it will be," Liu said.
Liu expects growth to pick up to 7.5-7.6 percent in the April-June period.
A pickup in daily electricity output is a key factor reflecting growth stabilization as it suggests that industrial production growth is gaining traction, he said. Electricity output - which is closely correlated to industrial production given it is energy intensive nature - grew 8.4 percent on-year during 1-24 March, up from 5.5 percent in January-February, according to the China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
In addition, export orders in both official and HSBC manufacturing PMI have picked up in the past two months, pointing to an improving outlook for the advanced economies. In March, HSBC's new export orders sub-index rose to 51.3 in March from 48.5 in February. The 50-point level demarcates growth and contraction.