The mainland's economy continued to power ahead in the first half, prompting economists to project year-on-year growth of between 7.5 per cent and 7.9 per cent. The gross domestic product growth to be announced today will again confirm China as Asia's star economy having shrugged off concerns of the economic slowdown in the United States. It also indicates the second-quarter sustained a surprisingly strong quarter-on-quarter growth of 7.6 per cent. Early this year, Beijing feared it could have difficulty matching last year's 7.3 per cent economic growth. Economists said strong exports, a flood of foreign investment and robust domestic demand and continued state spending helped China outshine its neighbours in the first half. Standard Chartered Bank senior economist Liao Qun, who forecast first-half growth of 7.7 per cent, said: 'The first-half economic growth would be stronger than most expectations.' A strong first-half growth will help China comfortably reach this year's target of 7 per cent growth. Economists expect full-year growth will be between 7.5 per cent and 8 per cent. The GDP figure comes on the heels of a growing confidence in the mainland economy driven by favourable monthly macro-economic data - from industrial output to fixed-asset investment and trade - during the past few months. Mr Liao expected robust economic growth would be sustained in the second half, but that Beijing might cut back spending and save for next year with the full-year growth target within reach. Deutsche Bank senior economist Ma Jun, who predicted growth of 7.9 per cent, also expected that in the second half there would be slower growth in state fixed-asset investments and in the real-estate sector - where Beijing has raised worries about an over-heating. Credit Suisse First Boston chief regional economist Tao Dong said: 'China's robust domestic demand is built on the middle income class which has bright prospects for the future. That's why they are buying cars and houses and spending money travelling.' According to Salomon Smith Barney senior economist Huang Yiping the economy's main concerns in the second half would be consumer spending by low-income households and investment by the private sector. He said both of these still were considered as being relatively soft.