China premier: economy to maintain steady growth but faces difficulties

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers an opening speech at the World Economic Forum in Dalian

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s economy will maintain steady and improving momentum in the second half of this year, but it still faces many difficulties, state radio quoted Premier Li Keqiang as saying on Friday.

China’s economic achievement in the first half was “hard won”, Li told a meeting.

“We should firm our confidence, but also prepare to cope with challenges,” he was quoted as saying.

China will maintain proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy and keep macro-economic policies stable, Li said.

The government would appropriately expand aggregate demand and expand effective investment, especially private investment, he added.

Li told the World Economic Forum in June that China was capable of achieving its full-year growth target and controlling systemic risks despite challenges.

The government aims for economic growth of around 6.5 percent this year. The economy grew 6.9 percent in the first quarter.

A raft of data in coming weeks is expected to show steady growth in the world’s second-biggest economy, but government measures to rein in the housing market and debt risks are likely to drag on activity over the next few quarters.

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Kevin Yao; Editing by Robert Birsel)