BEIJING, April 16 -- China's industrial value added expanded by 8.8 percent in March from an average growth of 8.6 percent in the Jan-Feb period, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Wednesday.
The value added of state-owned enterprises saw a 4.6-percent growth year on year in March, while that of joint stock companies expanded by 10.1 percent, according to the NBS data.
Last month, the value added of the manufacturing sector grew by 9.9 percent, while that of the mining industry grew by 2.9 percent.
The NBS said that industrial value added in March grew by 8.6, 7.9 and 10.4 percent in east, central and west China, respectively.
However, industrial value added in the first quarter slowed by 0.8 percentage points from the same period last year to a 8.7-percent growth, according to the official figures.
"March industrial production growth rose as expected, but we believe the rebound will be temporary," said Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist with Japan's Nomura Securities.
Lu Zhengwei, chief economist at the Industrial Bank, attributed the sluggishness in industrial enterprises in the first quarter mainly to over-valued Renminbi.
"Reform in the exchange rate mechanism remains one of the priorities," said Lu.
China uses industrial value added to measure business activities of designated large enterprises each with an annual turnover of at least 20 million yuan (3.26 million U.S. dollars).
The total profits of such enterprises reached 779.3 billion yuan in the Jan-Feb period, up 9.4 percent year on year. The growth rate was lower than that for the whole of 2013, which stood at 12.2 percent. But it was notably higher than that for December.
Official data showed that the purchasing managers' index for the country's manufacturing sector rose to 50.3 percent in March, up from 50.2 percent in February. An improving reading indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector.
Along with slowed industrial production growth, the service sector continued to grow in the first three months and make a larger contribution to GDP growth.
NBS spokesman Sheng Laiyun said the trend indicated that the Chinese economy is shifting from an industry-led growth to a service-led one.
"We should adopt a new perspective to see the changes in the Chinese economy," said Sheng.