Chinese manufacturers of everything from tricycles to truck winches said Wednesday at the opening of Asia’s biggest trade fair that their orders were starting to recover from a steep plunge over the winter but that demand from Europe and particularly the United States remained anemic.
That anecdotal evidence of some uptick in trade came as a senior Chinese government economic forecaster, Fan Jianping, said the economy had grown at an annual pace of “around 6 percent” in the first quarter. That would be the slowest pace since quarterly records began in 1992, indicating that strong consumer spending and heavy government investments had failed to offset a nose dive in exports.
The figure given by Mr. Fan — the official statistic is to be released Thursday — was roughly in line with economists’ expectations. It means that the Chinese economy grew much faster over the winter than any other major world economy, although more slowly than many in China have come to expect and slower than the 6.8 percent pace in the fourth quarter.