China’s Premier Li Keqiang has moved to reassure jittery global investors by pledging to support the country’s cooling economy.
He said the Beijing government has policies well prepared and will take targeted measures step by step.
In a speech to a meeting in China’s northeast, Li said: “We have gathered experience from successfully battling the economic downturn last year and we have policies in store to counter economic volatility for this year.”
“We will launch relevant and forceful measures according to what we have planned in our government work report,” he said, referring to his report to China’s annual parliament session this month.
This comes after China’s exports unexpectedly tumbled last month. Recent economic data and business sentiment surveys have also consistently come in under expectations.
The numbers suggest performance in the first three months of the year for the world’s second-largest economy was the weakest in five years.
Beijing plans to speed up investment in infrastructure – including railways, highways and water conservation projects in the country’s central and western provinces.
“The overall performance in the economy so far this year is relatively stable and we saw some positive changes, but we cannot neglect the increasing downward pressure and difficulties,” Li said.
State radio later quoted Li as saying that China’s economic growth was still within a “reasonable range” as the job market remained stable and inflation was “better than expected.
“Whether we could safeguard relatively full employment is very important, but currently we see no apparent employment pressures,“he was quoted as saying.
Li has said that China’s economy must grow 7.2 percent annually to create 10 million jobs a year.