Economic growth in China eased slightly in the first quarter, but analysts expect Beijing to still take it positive as the slide was within expected limit.

The Q1 figure is a notch down from the Q4-2015 growth of 6.8% in and also marked the economy's worst performance since 2009.

Meanwhile, industrial output rose 6.8% in March from a year earlier, surpassing market expectations of 5.9% and up from February's 5.4%. Retail sales for the same month grew 10.5%, slightly above the 10.4% forecast and quickening from the previous month's 10.2%.

And the fixed asset investment, a crucial driver of the economy, likely accelerated to 10.7% in the first quarter, just above forecasts for a 10.3%.

"I think this is a durable improvement," ING's chief economist Tim Condon said was quoted by Channel News Asia. "After slowing for several quarters, policy measures seem to have succeeded in stalling the growth slowdown."

"Even though this is down slightly from the previous quarter, it is still within expectations. Given the pick-up in recent activity data, things look good and Beijing must be pleased."

Asian shares barely moved following the data release, but the Australian dollar traded higher.

The AUD/USD pair, the most sensitive major currency pair to Chinese data, edged higher to 0.7727, close to the 8-month high of 0.7739 it fetched on Thursday and from the previous close of 0.7695.