(Reuters) - China's leader Xi Jinping told the BRICS group on Tuesday that China's economy was resilient and that the fundamentals for its long-term growth remained unchanged.
Xi, who is in South Africa for a summit of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), made the remarks in a prepared statement read by Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao at a business forum.
"The Chinese economy has strong resilience, tremendous potential and great vitality," Xi said through Wang.
The recovery in the world's second-largest economy has lost steam due to a worsening property slump, weak consumer spending and tumbling credit growth, adding to the case for authorities to release more policy stimulus.
But Xi said his country enjoyed economic advantages, including a "super-sized market," a full-fledged industrial system, and an abundant high-caliber labor force.
"The giant ship of the Chinese economy will continue to ride the wind, cleave waves, and forge ahead," Xi said.
The U.S. on Tuesday criticized China for reducing the transparency of its reporting on basic economic data in recent months, and for cracking down on firms in China that had been providing such data, calling its behavior irresponsible.
(Reporting by Michael Martina; editing by Grant McCool)