POLL-China to achieve 7.5 pct growth target this year, rates unchanged
* China GDP seen growing 7.5 pct in 2013 and 2014
* Rates on hold in the next 18 months
* Inflation seen at 2.6 pct in 2013, 3.3 pct in 2014
* For full poll results for China, click on
BEIJING, July 18 (Reuters) - China will hit its growth target of 7.5 percent this year, though the world's No. 2 economy is unlikely to gain traction next year as the government trades short-term growth for long-awaited reforms, a Reuters poll showed.
The poll taken July 16-17 showed economists have slashed growth forecasts yet again and now expect the economy to slip further in the second half, probably growing at an annual pace 7.4 percent in the last quarter of this year.
They also expect China's central bank will hold interest rates and the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) unchanged for the next 18 months.
"We do not expect the government to ease macro policies significantly, certainly not in terms of RRR cuts or more rapid credit growth," said UBS chief China economist Tao Wang.
She maintained her forecast that the Chinese economy would grow 7.5 percent in 2013 and the risk is more on the downside at this stage with exports as the biggest threat.
Signs of a recovery in the United States have failed to boost demand for Chinese goods and worries that the Federal Reserve will taper its bond buying have fed into capital outflows from emerging markets. In June, China's exports fell for the first time in 17 months.
HOLDING THE REFORM LINE
GDP growth slowed to 7.5 percent in the second quarter, the ninth slowdown in the last 10 quarters, but the government is unlikely to lower its target and has said it will tolerate lower growth rates in order to push through reforms.
Premier Li Keqiang's government will push more supportive, pro-growth initiatives, and there have been signs of such targeted measures recently, such as expanded lending to small businesses and agriculture.
"In the first couple of years of Premier Li's term, he may try to prevent a growth hard-landing and a financial crisis," said Ting Lu, chief China economist at BofAML in Hong Kong.
"That's why we expect Li's cabinet will introduce some measures to arrest the slowdown of growth in the next couple of quarters."
The State Council, China's cabinet, has pledged to increase investment in affordable housing for poor families. It has also announced policies to support small- and medium-sized enterprises as well as efforts to speed up development in energy-saving industries and the telecoms sector.
In a meeting with the corporate sector and some government think tanks on Tuesday, Li repeated his strategy - there is no rush to alter policy and stimulate growth, but the state must be prepared to take action if the economy slips too far.
"His comments on the annual growth target limit the downside risks for the second half of 2013, but likely extend the deleveraging process well into 2014, which reinforces our view that growth will drop below 7 percent in 2014," said Zhiwei Zhang, chief China economist with Nomura in Hong Kong.
The poll's median forecast is for China's economy to grow 7.5 percent in 2014, with consumer inflation rate picking up to 3.3 percent from an expected 2.6 percent in 2013.
(Additional reporting by Sumanta Dey, Xiaoyi Shao and Tina Qiao; Editing by Richard Borsuk)