China's economy slowed slightly in the fourth quarter while inflation remained elevated, a development likely to worry policy makers into renewed tightening efforts to cool growth and contain soaring prices.

Despite the slight easing in the pace of growth, the economy powered ahead at a decade-high rate of expansion.

China's gross domestic product grew 11.2% in the three months ended in December against the year-ago period, easing from an 11.5% expansion in the third quarter, data released by the statistics bureau Thursday showed.

For the full year the economy expanded 11.4%, up from an 11.1% expansion in 2006.