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China reports good signs on economy

Associated Press / April 13, 2009
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BEIJING - Premier Wen Jiabao said China's economy was showing positive changes but called for more efforts to combat the impact of the global financial crisis, state media reported yesterday.

The economy showed "better than expected positive changes in the first quarter" due to Beijing's huge stimulus plan, Wen said, the Xinhua News Agency, state radio, and other official media reported.

The East Asian Summit that Wen was supposed to attend with other regional leaders was canceled after anti-government protesters stormed the venue in Thailand. Wen had planned to announce a $10 billion fund for investment in Asian infrastructure-building and offer $15 billion in credit to Southeast Asian countries.

Also yesterday, the People's Bank of China, the central bank, said it would ensure the financial system would have sufficient liquidity for economic development.

Citing improved investment, consumption and trade figures, Wen said some segments of the economy "are in a process of gradual recovery," Xinhua said. That data were reported earlier, and the premier gave no forecast of first-quarter economic growth, which China is due to report in the next few days.

Some analysts see a recovery taking shape in China as the $586 billion stimulus boosts credit growth and demand for steel and other materials. But they caution that the indicators are tentative and show mostly the effect of government spending, while private consumption and investment are weaker.

China's economy is forecast to grow by at least 5 percent this year. Chinese banks have avoided the turmoil that is battering Western financial systems.

China's economy had "better than expected positive changes" due to a stimulus plan, Premier Wen Jiabao said.

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