BEIJING, (Xinhua) -- China's economic growth is expected to ease to 8.2 percent in the first quarter of this year from 8.9 percent in the last quarter of 2011, according to a report issued Saturday by the Bank of China.
However, the report projected the country's annual GDP growth to rebound to 8.4 percent in the April-June period.
According to the report, China's GDP growth rate will remain over 8 percent for the whole of 2012, just above the government's 7.5-percent target for the year.
The consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, is expected to rise by 3.6 percent and 3.0 percent year-on-year in the first and second quarters, respectively, the report said.
The report said sluggish growth for China's trading partners in the European Union, the United States and Japan, as well as excessive industrial capacity and shrinking domestic demand, will be major challenges for the economy this year.
Despite these challenges, China will be able to maintain stable growth courtesy of increased investment in affordable housing projects and an initiative to give private capital access to railway, public facility and financial investment, it said.
First quarter economic data, including GDP growth and CPI figures, is due for release on April 13.