China's economy will grow steadily and will not soar above the first quarter level, said Zhang Liqun, an economist with the State Council Development and Research Center here on Thursday.
Zhang made the statement after the China Federation of Logistics and Procurement (CFLP) released the April Purchasing Management Index (PMI) -- 58.6 percent, up 2.5 percentage points over the previous month.
The PMI is an indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector. A PMI of more than 50 percent represents expansion of the manufacturing sector, compared to the previous month.
China's PMI has been more than 50 percent since January 2005.
Zhang said export drove up industrial growth in the first quarter while most exports came from energy-consuming, heavy-polluting and resource-processing industries.
The economist said the current situation shows such exports have been cooled down and will not continue to expand because the government has adjusted relevant policies.
In the meantime, consumption plays a more important role in driving economic growth, said Zhang, adding that investment has maintained stable growth.
China's gross domestic product, or GDP, totaled 5.03 trillion yuan (653 billion U.S. dollars) in the first quarter of this year.
The rapid economic growth was driven by investment, consumption and import and export, Li Xiaochao, spokesman with the National Bureau of Statistics, said previously, warning of a risk for the economy to evolve from fast growth to overheating.