11 Apr 2009

Obama, Wen see some positive economic signs

4:55 pm on 11 April 2009

Barack Obama says the US economy is showing signs of progress after months of severe strain.

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao also sees some positive signs for his country's economy.

President Obama acknowledged that there's still a lot of work to be done but says the first glimmers of hope are already visible.

Speaking in a similar vein, Mr Wen told reporters at his hotel in the Thai beach resort of Pattaya, which is hosting the East Asia Summit, that though China's economy has shown some positive signs amid the global financial crisis, it still faces big challenges.

China, the only economy among the world's top five that is still growing, was hit hard by a plunge in exports and Beijing has been trying to soften the blow by boosting investment and spending at home with a four-trillion yuan ($US585b) stimulus.

Mr Wen was speaking shortly after new data showed that China's banks lent a record amount of new local currency loans - a sign that the economy is gaining steam after a sharp slowdown in the final months of 2008.