China First-Quarter GDP up 11.1%

China's gross domestic product in the first quarter grew 11.1% from a year earlier, compared with a 10.4 percent annual rise in the fourth quarter of 2006, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

Economists had expected a growth rate of 11.0%.

he quarterly GDP growth rate accelerated despite a barrage of monetary tightening measures to keep the world's fourth-largest economy on an even keel.

The statistics bureau said in a statement that the government would continue to take steps to realise "sound and rapid" economic growth, though challenges remained.

"Outstanding problems existing in the economic development are: imbalanced balance of payments, excessive liquidity, irrational economic structure and high pressure on energy conservation and pollutant emission reduction," it said.

"We will adhere to the scientific approach to development, carefully implement various policies set by the central government, continue to strengthen and improve macro controls, actively push forward the reform and opening up, speed up structural adjustments and change the pattern of economic growth."

Per-capita disposable income of urban residents in the first quarter reached 3,935 yuan, showing real growth of 16.6% from a year earlier.

Per-capita cash incomes of rural residents reached 1,260 yuan, up 12.1% in real terms from a year earlier.