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China economy shows positive signs but pressure lingers: premier

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China's economy has showed more positive signs but downward pressures still persisted, Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday, vowing to take steps to deal with overcapacity.

[BEIJING] China's economy has showed more positive signs but downward pressures still persisted, Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday, vowing to take steps to deal with overcapacity.

The government will push forward "supply-side reforms" while keeping economic growth within a reasonable range, Mr Li was quoted by state television as telling provincial and municipal officials.

"There are more positive factors in economic operations, but the downward pressure remains relatively big," Mr Li said. "We cannot ignore risks in some sectors."

The government would ensure the launch of investment projects in a timely manner to help underpin growth, Mr Li said.

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The government will quicken reforms to eliminate outdated capacity in coal and steel sectors and use "market-based"debt-to-equity swaps to help lower firms' debt levels.

China's economy has seen positive changes since the start of this year, the head of the statistics bureau said in remarks published on Monday.

Mr Li said last week China's economic indicators showed signs of improvement in the first quarter.

The government is due to release key economic data, including first-quarter economic growth, next week.

China's economic growth slowed to 6.8 per cent in the fourth quarter, its weakest since the financial crisis that began in 2007 and 2008.

REUTERS

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