World Bank says China economy slowing but Beijing should focus on reform, not growth targets

The World Bank says China's economic growth could decline to close to 7 percent next year but Beijing should focus on pushing ahead with market-oriented reforms instead of trying to stick to official growth targets.

The bank said Wednesday that China needs to overhaul its labor and real estate markets and its state-dominated financial system to achieve stronger growth long-term.

A bank economist, Karlis Smits, said trying to stick to short-term official targets might set that back by prompting officials to pump credit into the economy and disrupt the growth of markets.

Growth slowed to a five-year low of 7.3 percent in the latest quarter. That reflects official efforts to reduce reliance on trade and investment but has raised concern about possible job losses.