Li Keqiang Says China Can Reach Its Economic Targets

China can meet its main economic targets this year, Premier Li Keqiang said in a speech yesterday.

“China’s economy is stabilizing in a good trend and the nation has the confidence, conditions and ability to realize its main economic targets this year,” Li said, as cited by China National Radio. Li spoke before the country’s weeklong National Day break.

Communist Party leaders including Li are expected to meet in November to set the direction for economic policy in coming years. Li has signaled he wants to reduce the state’s hand in the economy and financial system, with the government experimenting with more relaxed controls in a free-trade zone in Shanghai.

China on Sept. 29 inaugurated an 11-square-mile experimental area in Shanghai, where it will allow trials of yuan convertibility in capital flows, establish an international energy center and allow overseas parents of companies established in the zone to sell yuan-denominated debt in China.

Companies with the word Shanghai in their name led Chinese shares to their best quarterly advance in three years on speculation they will benefit from further reforms.

“China will deepen and speed up reforms by stimulating market activities and developing social creativity,” Li said in yesterday’s speech.

A Chinese manufacturing index released yesterday rose less than analysts forecast, unexpectedly weakening from a preliminary estimate in a result that casts doubt on the strength of the economy’s rebound. At a speech in Dalian last month, Li said the foundations of an economic recovery aren’t solid.

The economy probably grew 7.7 percent in the third quarter, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey last month, up from an estimate of 7.5 percent in August. Growth cooled in the first and second quarters.

The government, which is targeting a 7.5 percent economic growth expansion, has chosen not to expand the fiscal deficit and will continue with a steady monetary policy, Li said on Sept. 24.