China's growth highest since 2007
Chinese output roared ahead at its fastest pace for three years, official figures from the world's third-biggest economy have shown.
The year-on-year growth of 11.9pc in the first quarter of 2010 was flattered by a weak beginning to 2009 but beat expectations and represented the strongest performance since 2007.
The growth has fuelled concerns the Chinese economy is overheating and Beijing is considering a property tax to cool down the rampant property market.
While Chinese inflation is relatively low thanks to lower food prices, the signs of a property bubble were shown by a 35.1pc year-on-year hike in property investment in the figures from the country's National Bureau of Statistics.
"China's inflation problem is not a Consumer Prices Index problem, but a property price problem," ING Bank's Tim Condon said.
The FTSE 100 Index held its ground near 22-month highs on Thursday, helped by the Chinese figures and a strong beginning to the US results season this week.
China, whose output is growing almost twice as fast as a year ago, is closing the gap on Japan to claim the mantle as the world's second biggest economy.
Chinese GDP reached 4.9 trillion US dollars (€3.6 trillion) in 2009, just behind Japan's 5.1 trillion dollars (€3.7 trillion).
This compares with UK output of 2 trillion dollars (£1.5 trillion) after a 4.9pc contraction for the economy during 2009.
But Beijing's policy of keeping its own currency weak to help its exporters weather a global slump is causing increasing tensions with the US.