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China offers silver lining after growth hits 13-year low

China offers silver lining after growth hits 13-year low

While Chinese ecomonic growth fell to its lowest level since 1999 last year, a rebound in the final quarter suggests the dragon could have more fire in 2013.

The Beijing-based National Bureau of statistics said the Chinese economy expanded by 7.8% last year as the combination of the financial crisis in the developed world and problems in its property market put the brakes on growth.

However, the economy grew by a forecast-beating 7.9% in the fourth quarter, a jump from the 7.4% rise in the previous three months and ending a contraction streak lasting nearly two years.

This growth was powered by investment in infrastructure projects and incentives to get encourage consumers to part with their cash. Industrial output grew by a stronger than expected 10.3% in December, while retail sales were 15% higher year on year.

'Overall growth is stabilising' the Bureau said in an accompanying statement.

Premier Wen Jiabao, who is being replaced by Li Keqiang in March, kept his forecast of 7.5% economic growth for 2013 matching the target he set for 2012.

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