China announced on Saturday that it is effectively turning the corner on the economy and likely to meet its growth target for the year, more good news for Communist Party policy makers meeting in Beijing to anoint new leaders for the next decade.
The world's second-biggest economy had halted a slowing trend, the head of the powerful economic planning agency said, adding that he was confident GDP growth would exceed 7.5 percent in 2012.
Zhang Ping, head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the 18th Party Congress at which outgoing President Hu Jintao said China should double its 2010 GDP and per capita income by 2020, as previous targets have implied.
Hu said China's development should be much more balanced, coordinated and sustainable. The party has in recent years tied its legitimacy to economic growth and lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty.
Signs of stabilisation in the economy were getting more obvious in October. We are fully confident that we can achieve the economic growth target for this year. In other words, we are able to maintain economic growth of above 7.5 percent, Zhang said, warning against complacency.
We dare not lower our vigilance, he said. The foundation of the economic stabilisation is not solid enough... Under the backdrop of a persistent global financial crisis as well as a new situation and problems in the economy, we must make preparations for dealing with difficulties and challenges over the long term.
China's economy strode further along the road of recovery from its slowest growth in three years, data for October showed on Friday, as infrastructure investment accelerated and output from factories ran at its fastest in five months.
Data on Saturday showed the trade surplus ballooned to its biggest in 45 months in October as export growth darted to a five-month high above 11 percent, surpassing expectations and adding to other data that suggest a less urgent need for new economic stimulus measures.
Annual economic growth slowed to 7.4 percent in the third quarter - its weakest since early 2009 - 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