An exchange traded fund indexed to Chinese stocks was slightly higher before Friday’s bell after the country said first-quarter economic growth rose 8.1%, a bit below expectations.

The iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund (NYSEArca: FXI) rose 0.3% after vaulting 3.6% Thursday on whispers China would report a blowout GDP figure.

Still, the economy grew at the slowest pace in 11 quarters, MarketWatch reported. “The current slowdown looks more and more like a slow consolidation, rather than a precipitous downturn like we saw in 2008-2009,” IHS Global analyst Xianfang Ren said in the report.

The $6 billion China ETF is up 7.4% year to date but is trading below its 50-day and 200-day exponential moving averages. Investors watch China ETFs as a barometer of the health of the global economy, although there are worries the developing country could face a hard landing in the economy and real estate market.

“This fund’s low correlation to the U.S. market makes it a good diversification tool, especially for investors with insufficient exposure to emerging markets,” writes Morningstar analyst Patricia Oey in a profile of the China ETF.

“FXI invests in some of the largest Chinese companies with substantial economies of scale and healthy profit margins,” she said. “Consumption in China is poised to continue growing well into the future. The Chinese consumer is expected to benefit from a gradual appreciation of the yuan and from rising wages.”

iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund

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