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China to meet this year’s 7.5 pct growth target – Premier Li

LONDON (Reuters) – China is confident it will hit its growth target of 7.5 percent this year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday, adding the government was ready to adjust policy to make sure it does.

Writing in Britain’s The Times newspaper on the eve of his visit to London, Li said slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy was normal and not a problem.

“China’s economy needs to grow at a proper rate, expected to be around 7.5 per cent this year,” Li wrote. “It is slower than the past, but normal.”

“Despite considerable downward pressure, China’s economy is moving on a steady course. We will continue to make anticipatory and moderate adjustments when necessary. We are well prepared to defuse various risks. We are confident that this year’s growth target will be met.”

A Reuters poll in April forecast China’s economic growth could slow to 7.3 percent in the second quarter from a 18-month low of 7.4 percent in the previous quarter, with full-year growth of 7.3 percent in 2014, the weakest in 24 years.

Li has previously signalled some flexibility in achieving this year’s growth target although analysts say the government wants to prevent growth from falling towards 7 percent, as that could fuel job losses and threaten social stability.

(Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by John Mair)

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