A window washer hangs from a rope as he sprays pressuried water on a building in the central business district in Beijing. AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
Beijing – China's gross domestic product is likely to grow by 6.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, faster than the 6.7 percent increase in the first quarter of 2016, economists said.

“China’s economic growth has stabilised, with initial signs showing solid growth,” said Zhang Liqun, a researcher with the Development Research Centre under the State Council.

Market demand at home and abroad is stable, enterprises’ production has continued to recover while pressure on the production of manufactured goods has eased, Zhang said.

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The country’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in at 51.8 points in March, staying in the expansion territory for an eighth consecutive month.

The reading beat market expectations and was the highest in nearly five years.

A PMI reading above 50 points indicates expansion.

Growth for the first quarter is scheduled to be released by the National Bureau of Statistics on April 17.

Xhinua and Reuters