BEIJING, July 15 (UPI) -- China's economic fundamentals remain sound but its rebound is not yet stable, Premier Wen Jiabao said, warning economic hardships may continue for a while.
The Chinese leader's comments during the weekend while on an inspection tour of Sichuan province came as China's economic growth continues to slip, blamed by the government on lackluster external as well as domestic demand.
The latest figures show second-quarter gross domestic production growth fell to 7.6 percent from more than 8 percent in the first quarter. China has enjoyed an average of about 10 percent growth annually in the past three decades.
Wen said the economy is running at a slower but more stable pace, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
"The economic growth rate is still within the government target range set early this year, and stabilization policies are working," he said.
Growth for all of 2012 has been revised downward to 7.5 percent from the previous 8 percent because of problems in the United States and the ongoing Eurozone debt crisis, China's principal external markets.
Growth also has been affected by the Chinese government's anti-inflationary measures and efforts to cool the property sector.
Wen said China's economic fundamentals remain sound and the country still enjoys huge growth potential, citing the bumper summer harvest and rising incomes, Xinhua reported.
While warning economic hardship may continue for a period of time, the premier said the government in the second half of the year will "increase efforts to preset and fine-tune its policies, and make policies more targeted, foresighted and effective."
He said more efforts are needed to deepen reforms of income distribution, raise people's incomes, improve the social networks and create more jobs especially for college graduates.