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China's economy entered 'manageable slowdown' - central bank chief

China's central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan scratches his head during a session of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2014, in
China's central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan scratches his head during a session of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2014, in

KIGALI (Reuters) - China's economic slowdown is "manageable" as the country is in a stage of development where reforms and environmental protection take precedence in policy considerations, Central Bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said.

Speaking at a conference in Rwanda on Thursday, Zhou repeated the government's stance that China should no longer only pursue high economic growth rates, but should also focus on delivering high-quality expansion.

"I think this is manageable slowdown," Zhou said. "We have come into a new stage where we emphasize more on structural changes, economic reform and having much better environmental protection."

He did not comment on the direction of China's monetary policy, which some analysts predict will be loosened this year by lowering the reserve requirement ratio to free up more cash for bank loans and shore up the economy.

Up against unsteady global demand, weaker domestic demand and investment growth, China's economy has lost steam this year with growth falling to an 18-month low of 7.4 percent in the first quarter.

Analysts polled by Reuters expect the economy to grow 7.3 percent this year, a level unseen in 24 years.

(Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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