Chinese Economy grew 6.9 percent in the First Quarter of 2017

The government trimmed this year's growth goal to around 6.5 percent last month from a range of 6.5 to 7 per cent for 2016, a move expected to provide more wiggle room for reforms.

On a quarter-to-quarter basis, which is how other major economies report data, the economy lost steam, expanding just 1.3 percent.

And while real estate investment rose 9.1%, that was down from the 10% rate in the final three months of 2016.

Chinese authorities have pledged to enforce strict curbs in most first- and second-tier cities to prevent a housing bubble, while seeking to clear a glut of unsold homes in smaller urban centers.

A strong reading could help wobbly global financial markets but add to worries that China's government is still relying too heavily on old growth engines like stimulus and not doing enough to tackle risks from an explosive build-up in debt.

First-quarter growth was the fastest since the third quarter of 2015, with March data showing investment, retail sales, factory output and exports all grew faster than expected.

Fixed-asset investment in nonrural areas of China climbed 9.2% in the January-March period from a year earlier, quickening from an 8.9% increase over the January-February period.

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China imported the most iron ore on record in the first quarter, but iron ore and steel futures prices are nosediving on fears that its steel production is outweighing demand. Meanwhile, the service sector rose 7.7 percent year on year in the first quarter, outpacing a 3-percent increase in agriculture and 6.4 percent in the secondary industry. The annual increase slowed to 11.3 percent, down from 11.8 percent in February.

China's National Bureau of Statistics in a statement said "the national economy maintained the momentum of steady and sound development from the second half of last year, getting off to a good start in 2017 and laying a solid foundation for accomplishing the whole-year growth target".

"I think China should be directing the economy to slow down its growth in the long term.but on the contrary, growth is accelerating", said Hidenobu Tokuda, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute in Tokyo.

"It is fair to say the housing market outlook is a major uncertainty for the economic outlook this year", said Zhu of J.P. Morgan.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, statistics bureau spokesman Mao Shengyong admitted that the influence of China's property controls will gradually become evident in April and the following months as they were only introduced in mid-March.

The growth figures are overshadowed, however, by deeper problems in the Chinese economy like personal debt, according to the BBC, which the news outlet cited at 250 per cent of GDP.

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