SHANGHAI — Chinese economic growth slowed unexpectedly in the first quarter of the year.
The country's gross domestic product grew 7.7 percent in the first quarter of 2013, compared with the 7.9 percent expansion seen in the fourth quarter of last year, according to data released Monday by the country's statistics bureau.
Other sectors in the world's second largest economy also experienced a slowdown for the first three months of the year. Retail sales decelerated to 12.4 percent year-on-year from the 14.8 percent growth registered a year ago.
The statistics bureau said slower growth in the retail sector was due largely in part to a decline in business in the catering sector, which has been hit hard by government efforts to crackdown on extravagant banquets organized by officials.
Meanwhile first-quarter industrial output growth narrowed to 9.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013 from 11.6 percent a year ago.
During the National People's Congress in March, Chinese leaders set a GDP growth target this year of 7.5 percent, marking the second consecutive year that the government has slashed economic growth below the 8 percent mark in an effort to bring more stable growth to the economy. GDP growth for 2012 was 7.8 percent.
The World Bank projects China's economy will grow by 8.3 percent in 2013.
The first quarter deceleration can be attributed to weak global demand for Chinese exports, particularly in Europe and North America where economies continue to slump, as well as a policy vacuum during China’s leadership transition, which began in November of last year and wrapped up last month in Beijing. New policies announced in recent weeks aimed at cooling real estate prices and reigning in extravagant government spending have also had an impact, HSBC economist Qu Hongbin said in a research note.
In March, Beijing said it would make it more difficult for homeowners to buy a second home while requiring those who sell their homes to pay a 20 percent capital gains tax on their profit. China’s property market expanded with sales up 61.3 percent year-on-year for the first quarter of 2013.
The less than robust economic data for the first three months of this year “confirm that the economic recovery is fragile,” Hongbin said.
The first quarter GDP growth is “disappointing,” Hongbin said. “As inflation is easing, this should prompt stronger policy response mainly in the format of more fiscal spending in coming months, especially as all the dust of power hand-over is now settled. Once fiscal spending is delivered, growth should be lifted in the coming quarters. But the magnitude of the growth acceleration will depend on the dose of policy response.”
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion