Hu Jintao says China to step up efforts to support global growth

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China will work towards bolstering global economic growth in 2013, President Hu Jintao said in a New Year's Eve address, amid optimism that a recovery in the world's second-biggest economy is gaining traction.

The nation will "step up efforts to promote strong, sustainable and balanced growth in the world economy," Hu said in the speech broadcast by state radio and television. China achieved stable economic development in 2012 and will seek to do the same in the coming year while making restructuring of its growth model a focus, he said.

Hu's speech, his last New Year's Eve address before he steps down as president in March, signaled Chinese leaders' confidence the economy may be rebounding after a seven-quarter slowdown. A recovery may facilitate the transfer of power to Xi Jinping, appointed head of the Communist Party in November and set to become president, as authorities seek to assuage discount sparked by corruption and a widening income gap.

The Chinese people are now uniting around the leadership of Xi to work towards building a "well-off society," Hu said.

China's new Communist Party leaders have pledged to abandon extravagance, cut down on lavish receptions and live more frugally, amid a broader push to stamp out corruption and win back people's trust.

Hu's speech didn't indicate how China, set to complete its once-a-decade leadership transition in March, plans to manage an economy that's estimated to expand at 8.1 percent in 2013.

Monetary policy

Chinese central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, in a separate New Year's Eve statement posted on the authority's website, said the nation will maintain "prudent" monetary policy and deepen financial reforms in 2013. Policy makers will seek to effectively prevent financial risks and keep prices basically stable, he said.

In another statement on the People's Bank of China website, Zhou said the nation's management of its foreign exchange reserves had seen stable growth in returns during the "past few years." The global economic situation will remain "complicated" in 2013 and China's management of its reserves will face "relatively large" challenges, he said.

China's foreign exchange reserves increased to $3.29 trillion at the end of September from $3.18 trillion at the end of 2011, according to central bank data.

The Shanghai Composite Index has rebounded 15 percent since reaching an almost four-year low on Dec. 3 amid optimism China's economic growth will recover. It gained 3.2 percent in 2012, its first annual advance in three years.

Manufacturing expands

China's manufacturing expanded at the fastest pace in 19 months in December, according to a statement from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics. The final reading was 51.5, with a level above 50 indicating expansion.

In his speech, Hu also said China sought long-term prosperity in Hong Kong and Macau and for the two so-called Special Administrative Regions to be self-governing.

China will seek the peaceful resolution of regional and international disputes, Hu said.

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