- leaving the economy on track to mark its most sluggish year since 1999. But central bank head Zhou Xiaochuan cautioned on Thursday that external risks still loomed large and the People's Bank of China had policy room to respond if necessary.
Zhang said China's economic slowdown this year had been caused by both weak global demand and government steps to adjust economic structures to put the economy on a more sustainable footing for the future.
Government officials have said repeatedly that they intend to use a period of slowing growth to make a series of adjustments to economic policy settings, particularly around prices administered by the state, that might otherwise risk fuelling inflation. Such reforms are regarded as crucial, both by foreign analysts and government think- tanks, if China is to maintain robust growth needed to close a yawning wealth gap and support an urbanisation drive core to Beijing's development plans.
Zhang said that inflation was stable in China. Official data on Friday showed consumer price inflation eased to its slowest pace in nearly three years in October, with the 1.7 percent rise from a year ago slower than the 1.9 percent posted in September. Economists polled by Reuters had expected it to hold steady.
Investors, though, have been concerned that efforts to cool the economy had been mistimed, unintentionally coinciding with a sharp slowdown in external demand, with recovery in the United States remaining tepid and Europe still unable to escape its sovereign debt crisis.
Beijing has responded by fine-tuning economic policy for a year to support growth. China has cut benchmark interest rates twice this year, lowered bank reserve ratios three times since late 2011 and made repeated, large-scale liquidity injections into the financial system. It also said in September it had fast-tracked approvals on infrastructure projects worth about $157 billion.