Chinese economy shows gains

HONG KONG — The giant Chinese economy picked up some steam during the last few months of 2012, closely watched data from Beijing on Friday confirmed. But at the same time the figures underlined the view that the pace of future growth is likely to remain well below that seen in recent years.

China’s gross domestic product expanded 7.9 percent in the final quarter of last year, compared with a year earlier — slightly better than expectations, and significantly above the 7.4 percent pace recorded during the previous quarter.