28 Feb 2009

World crisis hasn't hit bottom yet - Chinese premier

9:16 pm on 28 February 2009

The global financial crisis has not bottomed out yet, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Saturday during a rare online chat.

"The financial crisis, rarely seen in 100 years, is still spreading and has not bottomed out yet," Mr Wen said. "Measures adopted by the government have seen initial success."

China has launched a 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) stimulus to help its economy, with a series of plans to assist key industries, from steel to textiles, that have been hit hard by the crisis.

The country's annual economic growth slowed to 6.8% in the fourth quarter of 2008 from 9% in the third quarter and 10.1% in the second.

The Chinese government is aiming this year for growth of 8%, which is widely seen as a minimum for generating enough jobs for the millions of people entering the workforce, but many economists think it could slip below that.

"Only if China has confidence, will it have new hope," Mr Wen said. "The most basic (thing) is to let the economy develop and let people be employed."