BEIJING, May 13 (Xinhua) — China’s fixed-asset investment surged 17.3 percent year on year to 10.71 trillion yuan (1.74 trillion U.S. dollars) in the first four months, official data showed Tuesday.

The growth rate was 0.3 percentage point slower than that for the first quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement.

Since last August, investment growth has been on constant decline amid slowdown in the country’s economic growth.

The country’s economy expanded by 7.7 percent in 2013, flat from a year earlier and marking the slowest pace since 1999. Its growth further slowed to 7.4 percent in the first quarter of this year.

The slowdown in investment was partly attributed to slowing investment in the property sector, which is experiencing a period of cooling down after years of red-hot expansion.

In nominal terms, investment in property development rose 16.4 percent year on year to 2.23 trillion yuan in the first four months, slowing down by 0.4 percentage point from the first quarter, the bureau said.

Investment in the agricultural sector surged by 21.2 percent, followed by 19.2 percent in the service sector and 14.5 percent in the industrial sector, according to the NBS.

Investment in the nation’s central regions witnessed the fastest growth of 19.7 percent, while those in the west and east had growth rates of 18.2 percent and 16.3 percent, respectively.