China's central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan
China's central bank governor Zhou XiaochuanReuters

China's central bank echoed the view of the government regarding the country's economic growth slowdown, saying reforms and environmental protection would be the priorities of the world's second-largest economy rather than rapid economic expansion.

Zhou Xiaochuan, the chief of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), said the economy's current slowdown is "manageable", as the country focuses on sustainable development.

"I think this is manageable slowdown," Reuters quoted Zhou as saying at a conference in Rwanda.

"We have come into a new stage where we emphasize more on structural changes, economic reform and having much better environmental protection."

The Chinese government had earlier set its yearly economic growth target at 7.5% for the third time as it aims to achieve a stable and balanced growth in the long run while implementing much needed reforms.

China is currently the world's fastest-growing major economy with annual gross domestic product growth rates averaging 10% for the last 30 years.

However, its economic growth has slowed down recently due to increasing exposure to foreign markets. In 2013, the economy expanded 7.7%, the lowest pace for more than a decade.

In the first quarter, the economy expanded at a pace of 7.4%, the lowest in 18 months due to weak domestic and international demand.

Despite the low rate of growth, the PBOC said it will not use any large-scale stimulus amid speculation that the bank would lower reserve requirements to boost economic activity.

Zhou reportedly said the central bank would only "fine tune" its policies to counter adverse situations.

China's Premier Li Keqiang previously said that the government's top priority in 2014 is the implementation of reforms.

He noted that idle factories will be shut down and efforts for a new environmental protection tax will be accelerated to create a greener economy. In addition, economic growth will be balanced and will be powered by consumption rather than investment.

Investment has been the largest driver of China's economy and accounted for over half of last year's 7.7% growth by expanding 19.6%.