But it is too soon to relax controls, says statistics chief China's macroeconomic controls are showing positive results judging from the reined-in growth of gross domestic product, investment and credit for the third quarter, but it is too soon to relax the curbs, the mainland's top statistician said. In his first public comments on the economy since taking over as director of the National Bureau of Statistics, Xie Fuzhan said the state-led curbs were going in the right direction, but the 'foundations of the effects still need to be consolidated'. At the 2006 China Economic Growth Forum in Suzhou city, Jiangsu province , which ended yesterday, Mr Xie said the economy was still marked by 'long-term accumulated systematic and structural contradictions', though macroeconomic control efforts had helped GDP slow to 10.4 per cent for the third quarter from 11.3 per cent in the previous quarter. He singled out numerous problems - including a huge balance of payments surplus, excessive consumption of energy and resources, pollution and a vulnerable ecological system - as the price of economic development. His comments echoed those of Premier Wen Jiabao , who told his cabinet last Wednesday that it was too early to relax monetary and administrative tightening measures introduced in April to prevent overheating in the economy. 'The overall growth rate of fixed asset investments dropped 2.5 percentage points for the first three quarters from the first half, but it was still 1.2 percentage points higher than the same period last year,' said Mr Xie. 'The rate of growth in outstanding yuan loans by the end of September dropped by 1.1 percentage points, from the pace at the end of July, but the [loan] amount still surpassed the full-year target, while the foreign trade surplus in the first nine months was higher than the whole of last year. 'Problems of growth related to farm production and rural incomes may affect economic stability, and also restrain the economy's long-term development,' Mr Xie added, referring to worries over social unrest. Mr Xie took over as statistics chief on October 12 after his predecessor, Qiu Xiaohua was sacked when anti-corruption investigations implicated him in a scandal involving Shanghai's city pension funds. Academics have been divided over last week's release of third-quarter figures, showing economic growth had eased slightly on the back of a slowdown in fixed-asset investment. Some economists predict the central government will continue to steer the same macroeconomic course, while others expect a relaxation if urban fixed-asset investment drops by 20 per cent year on year for the next two months.