China’s Wen Says Economy Will Maintain Robust Expansion

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the country will maintain steady growth even amid signs the world’s second-largest economy is slowing.

“China has confidence that it will sustain steady and robust economic growth,” Wen said today at a press conference in Stockholm with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, according to an English translation of his remarks. “China will remain committed to reform and opening up.”

A leading index for China rose at a slower pace in March, adding to evidence growth in the world’s second-biggest economy is moderating. The gauge rose 0.8 percent from the prior month to 230.6, the New York-based Conference Board said in a statement today in Beijing, citing a preliminary reading. That compares with a 1 percent rise in February that was revised from a reported 0.8 percent increase.

The data may add pressure on policy makers to take more measures to support expansion after the economy grew the least in almost three years. China’s slowdown may cloud the outlook for a global recovery after U.S. job gains weakened and the euro-area’s fiscal crisis threatened to spread.

The Chinese leader is on a European trip that included stops in Iceland and Germany, and takes him to Poland this week.

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