Xi sees no hard landing for China, economy enters 'new normal'

LONDON (Reuters) - President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday China would avoid a hard landing, though he acknowledged some downward pressure on the world’s second largest economy.

Chinese leaders have been trying to reassure jittery global markets for months that they have economic developments under control after a shock devaluation of the yuan and a plunge in China’s stock market.

Speaking during a state visit to Britain aimed at cementing closer economic ties, Xi said China had entered a “new normal” and that, like other emerging economies, had built resilience to cope with slowdowns after decades of rapid growth.

“The Chinese economy will maintain its strong momentum. There will be no hard landing,” he said after Prime Minister David Cameron announced a raft of deals with Beijing worth almost 40 billion pounds ($62 billion).

Emerging economies still enjoy “sound economic fundamentals”, Xi told business leaders gathered at Mansion House, the ceremonial home of the mayor of the City of London.

“Currently the Chinese economy is generally stable. Steady progress has been made in our efforts to stabilise growth”

Xi said China would be happy with an annual rate of growth of 7 percent.

China’s economic growth dipped below 7 percent in the third quarter of 2015 for the first time since the global financial crisis, raising pressure on Beijing to further cut interest rates and take other measures to stoke activity.

Speaking through an interpreter, Xi said China had to address “a lack of balance, coordination and sustainability in its economic development, so as to facilitate more steady progress in the long run”.

That would reinforce Beijing’s commitment to market- oriented reform.

“The government needs to maintain an open, equitable and fair market order,” he said. “China will not close the door it has opened.”

($1 = 0.6471 pounds)

Reporting by Kate Holton, writing by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Gareth Jones