Chinas economy grew faster than expected in fourth quarter of 2017

WEB_PHOTO_YUAN_110714

A Chinese clerk counts RMB (renminbi) yuan banknotes at a bank in Ganyu county, Lianyungang city, east Chinas Jiangsu province.

A Chinese clerk counts RMB (renminbi) yuan banknotes at a bank in Ganyu county, Lianyungang city, east Chinas Jiangsu province.

WEB_PHOTO_YUAN_110714

A Chinese clerk counts RMB (renminbi) yuan banknotes at a bank in Ganyu county, Lianyungang city, east Chinas Jiangsu province.

A Chinese clerk counts RMB (renminbi) yuan banknotes at a bank in Ganyu county, Lianyungang city, east Chinas Jiangsu province.

BEIJING - The Chinese economy grew a forecast-beating 6.9 percent in 2017, picking up steam for the first time since 2010, official data showed on Thursday.

Analysts surveyed by AFP had predicted 6.8 percent growth, which was better than the government target of about 6.5 percent.

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The performance was a welcome uptick for the world&39;s second-largest economy, which registered 6.7 percent growth in 2016, the slowest for more than a quarter of a century.

The reading comes as China kicks its war on pollution into full gear, halving industrial production for some steel smelters and mills this winter.

The national statistics bureau said the economy expanded 6.8 percent in the final three months of the year, matching its third-quarter growth but slightly down from the 6.9 percent in each of the previous two quarters.