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China's fixed-asset investment up 21.2 pct in Jan.-Feb.

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BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- China's fixed asset investment rose 21.2 percent year on year to 2.57 trillion yuan (409.76 billion U.S. dollars) in the first two months, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Saturday.

The growth rate was down 0.3 percentage point from the same period last year, but up 0.6 percentage point from the pace for the full year of 2012, the NBS said in a statement on its website.

In the first two months, investment in the agricultural sector surged 37.4 percent to 33.6 billion yuan. Investment in the industrial sector grew 15.6 percent to 1.03 trillion yuan, while the service sector saw a 25-percent rise to 1.5 trillion yuan.

At 25.2 percent year on year, investment in the nation's central regions witnessed the fastest growth, followed by 23.3 percent in the west and 20.1 percent in the east.

The bureau said investment by state-owned enterprises and their holding companies grew by 16.9 percent year on year, while investment by private companies surged 24.6 percent.

The country's private companies accounted for 61.4 percent of the total fixed-asset investment in the first two months, the statement said.

Investment in the property sector rose 22.8 percent year on year to 667 billion yuan in the first two months, up 6.6 percentage points from the pace for the full year of 2012.

China's economy has shown clear signs of recovery since the fourth quarter of 2012, Shi Zihai, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission, said Friday.

The country's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector stood at 50.1 percent in February. It has stayed above the boom-bust line of 50 percent for five consecutive months, indicating continued expansion, the latest data show.

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