October 17, 2012 / 12:16 PM / 7 years ago

China's Wen says economy relatively good in third quarter

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s economic situation in the third quarter was relatively good and the government is confident of achieving its 7.5 percent growth target for 2012, Premier Wen Jiabao was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

China's Premier Wen Jiabao waves during the European Union-China summit at the Egmont Palace in Brussels September 20, 2012. REUTERS/Laurent Dubrule

Wen made his remarks a day before China is to publish third-quarter gross domestic product data, expected by analysts to show the economy grew 7.4 percent between July and September, the seventh straight quarter of slowdown.

“The economic situation in the third quarter is relatively good and we have the confidence to say that the Chinese economy is showing signs of stabilizing and will continue to show positive changes,” the official Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.

He said the central government was balancing the need to support the economy and to reform structures to produce more sustainable growth.

“We haven’t taken any big stimulus measure this year and many enterprises are forced to improve their product structures to tackle downward risks in the economy,” he said. “Our resolve to stabilize the economy is very firm. We have never hesitated.”

But Wen also warned against complacency.

He said it would not be a smooth ride for the economy in the fourth quarter and that the foundation for a recovery was shaky.

“China still faces considerable difficulty in the fourth quarter,” Wen was quoted as saying. “Our economic growth still faces a very challenging external environment as it is extremely difficult to expand external demand.”

Wen also dispelled any suggestion that the government would allow a rebound in the housing market by relaxing purchase restrictions.

“Restrictions on the property market have seen initial success, but the market is still not stable,” Wen said. “We should stand firm and retain property controls.”

He said the government should improve its way of controlling the housing market and rely on market forces in the long run.

Beijing’s focus is on restrictions that bar Chinese nationals from owning more than two properties in bigger cities. They have worked in lowering record home prices that were angering millions of Chinese priced out of the housing market.

Reporting by Aileen Wang, Shao Xiaoyi and Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Ron Popeski

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