July 6, 2015 / 10:30 AM / 2 years ago

China's economy shows 'positive changes': statistics bureau

Men drive an electric motor past a construction site in Beijing's central business district, June 11, 2015.Jason Lee

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's economy is showing some positive changes as recent government measures gradually gain traction, but policymakers cannot lower their guard against headwinds crimping growth, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday.

China's economic performance remained within a "reasonable range" and economic growth was basically stable, Sheng Laiyun, the bureau's spokesman, said in remarks published on the bureau's website.

"The improvement in main indicators is still initial and we cannot lower our guard against the downward pressure on the economy," Sheng said.

"Arduous efforts are still needed to consolidate the foundation of economic stabilization and ensure the achievement of the full-year growth target."

Activity in China's factory sector expanded slightly in June while growth in the services sector sped up, official surveys showed, offering some signs that the economy may be starting to slowly level out after a raft of support measures.

China is due to release second-quarter gross domestic product data on July 15 and many economists expect annual growth to slip below 7 percent, which would be the weakest performance since the global financial crisis.

Weighed down by a property downturn, factory overcapacity and high levels of local debt, China's economic growth in 2015 is seen slowing to around 7 percent - the weakest annual expansion in a quarter of a century.

The government targets full-year growth of around 7 percent in 2015.

Analysts expect the central bank, which has cut interest rates four times since November and also reduced bank reserve requirements, to ease policy further to support growth.

Reporting by Winni Zhou and Kevin Yao; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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