’Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said economic growth of slightly more or less than 7.5 percent this year would be acceptable as long it still led to new jobs and higher wages, the official Xinhua news agency reported late on Thursday.
"Growth rate slightly higher or lower than 7.5 percent is acceptable, as long as our development creates jobs, boosts incomes, has quality and efficiency, favors energy savings and environmental protection, and is not an exaggeration and (is) real," Xinhua quoted Li as saying at an economic symposium on Tuesday.
Analysts suggested Li's latest remarks signaled some flexibility in hitting the annual growth target and put more emphasis on reform than simple expansion.
"This shows that he (Li) is more comfortable about the economy," said Lu Zhengwei, chief economist at Industrial Bank in Shanghai. "When growth is back on target, there is no need to push too hard (on policy), which could worsen economic structures."
Premier Li said during a visit to London in June that the economy would grow by at least 7.5 percent in 2014, surprising many market watchers after a weak start to the year, and reinforced expectations of more government assistance to come.
Li's softening tone on growth could also reflect increased optimism among policymakers that the economy has turned the corner after a burst of policy stimulus, including a hefty rise in bank loans in June.