China, Singapore Economies Expand, But So Does Inflation

China's economy expanded by 9.7 percent on-year in the first three months of the year, says the National Bureau of Statistics.


The economy grew 9.8 percent in the final quarter of 2010 and 10.3 percent for the full year.


But the consumer price index rose 5.4 percent year-on-year in March -- the  fastest pace since July 2008 and well above the government's 2011 target of four percent -- and 5.0 percent in the first quarter. Inflation in the January to March period was driven by food prices, which soared 11 percent while housing costs were up 6.5 percent. Inflation hit 4.9 percent in February.


The good GDP numbers have apparently emboldened Beijing to fight inflation aggressively. On April 17, the reserve requirement for banks was raised for the fourth time this year, following an interest rate rise on April 5.


Over in Singapore, the economy grew by a robust 8.5 percent in the first quarter of this year, the Trade and Industry Ministry said. The economy expanded by 23.5 percent in the first quarter of 2011, on a quarter-on-quarter basis.


All sectors of Singapore's economy expanded, led by manufacturing, which grew 13.9 percent. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, manufacturing grew by almost 80 percent.



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