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Wen says China's situation `better than expected'

CHINA'S economic stimulus package plan is already paying off, and positive changes have taken place in the economy, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said today.

"The situation is better than expected," Wen said at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference 2009 in China's Hainan Province.

The "swift" and "decisive" measures taken by China to deal with the crisis has proved essential for easing major problems in the economy, shoring up confidence and stabilizing expectations, said the premier.

The gross domestic product of the world's third largest economy rose 6.1 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, the slowest pace in a decade.

Premier Wen said the economy was "better than expected", citing pick-ups in investment, consumption and industrial output, as well as ample liquidity in the banking system.

He said the stimulus policies were primarily aimed at boosting domestic demand, and at the same time made full use of external demand, to make both of them drive economic growth.

"This will lead to the transformation towards a more balanced growth pattern of the Chinese economy," he said.

Wen said the stimulus policy would give a big push to the shift from economic growth driven by high consumption of material resources to growth driven by scientific and technological development, improved quality of the workforce and innovation.

He stressed the package plan aimed at addressing both symptoms and root causes and serving both current needs and long-term goals, and the economic restructuring had made encouraging progress.

The premier also reiterated the government was doing everything in its power to create jobs, especially for college graduates and rural migrant workers. He noted the urban employment rose as 2.68 million jobs were created in the urban areas in the first quarter.

The industrial output had gradually stabilized, and agriculture production was on the whole stable, he said.

"We should not, however, lose sight of the fact that the international financial crisis is still spreading, the basic trend of world economic recession is not reversed, problems in the financial system remained unsolved and the worsening of the real economy has been more serious than expected," he warned.

He said the crisis had presented China with great challenges in economic and social development including sharp decline in exports, greater difficulties in stabilizing agriculture production and increasing farmer's income, industry overcapacity, slow recovery in industrial growth, and severe pressure of unemployment.


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