Chinese Premier says economy will avoid hard landing


(Reuters) - China will avoid a hard landing despite worries over a slowdown in the world's number two economy and a flagging real-estate market, the country's Premier Li Keqiang said in a speech in Germany on Saturday.

The comments, reported by state news agency Xinhua, echoed earlier ones he made in London in June.

"China's economy will not suffer a 'hard landing' like some people fear, but will bring a positive impact to the global economy," Li said during a speech in the city of Hamburg.

China's third quarter growth is likely to be its weakest growth in more than five years as a property downturn weighed on demand, according to a Reuters poll of 20 economists released on Friday.

According to the poll, the economy may have expanded 7.3 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the weakest reading since 6.6 percent growth in the first quarter of 2009.

Premier Li said that staying power will be more important to China's economy than speed of growth.

"Economic development is not a sprint, but a long-distance race without end. You need a certain amount of speed, but even more important is endurance and stamina," he said.

Ma Jun, chief economist at the People's Bank of China, also said on Saturday that the chance of China facing a hard landing was "very small". The Chinese central bank economist was talking at the IMF and World Bank fall meetings in Washington.