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China's economic growth slowly stabilizing: official

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BEIJING, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- A senior official said Wednesday that China's economic growth is stabilizing at a slow pace on the back of the government's macro-control policies and measures.

Zhang Ping, minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission, said in a briefing to national lawmakers at a bimonthly session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee that the government will continue an active financial policy and prudent monetary policy for the rest of the year.

"The current situation shows that the government's policies and measures have been effective. Economic growth is stabilizing at a slow pace," Zhang said, commenting on the performance of China's economy in the first half of the year.

China's gross domestic product (GDP) for the first half saw a 7.8-percent year-on-year increase, with a growth rate of 8.1 percent in the first quarter and 7.6 percent in the second quarter.

In March, Premier Wen Jiabao set a 7.5-percent GDP growth target for 2012 in his government work report delivered to NPC, or the country's top legislature.

Zhang elaborated that effective government policies and measures included cutting interest rates twice and offering special financial aids to small and medium-sized enterprises to help them ease operating difficulties.

According to the official, speculative demand and investment demand have been effectively suppressed due to government control policies on the real estate market.

In July, prices for newly-built commercial residential buildings showed year-on-year decreases in 58 out of 70 major Chinese cities surveyed, he said.

Price rises have continued to slow since the beginning of the year as a result of improving supply-demand relations and dropping prices for some bulk commodities on the international market, he added.

According to Zhang, the government's public revenues in the first seven months hit 7.44 trillion yuan (1.14 trillion US dollars), an 11.6-percent increase year on year.

China's top legislature began its bimonthly session on Monday. Zhang made the remarks at the session while delivering a report on the implementation of a national economic and social development plan since the beginning of this year.

Zhang said China's economic and social development still face a complicated environment, adding that uncertain factors may create new setbacks, thus prolonging economic difficulties.

On the other hand, Zhang said, China's economic fundamentals are in good shape, since domestic demand has great potential and there is still plenty of room for the government's macroeconomic control policies.

In his report, Zhang cited a forecast released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in mid-July that set the world's economic growth rate for this year at 3.5 percent, 0.1 percentage point lower than the IMF's forecast in April.

"From the trend, we should not be optimistic about the exports situation in the future since weakened overseas demands will not change in the short term," Zhang told the lawmakers.

Soaring production costs and dropping producer prices will worsen the pressure on enterprises, he added.

Zhang said the Chinese government's priorities in the economy in the second half will be to expand domestic demand, ensure agricultural production, maintain stable prices and continue to suppress speculation in the real estate market

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