CHINA'S economic supremo Zhu Rongji said yesterday the country would keep its annual growth rate at a moderate nine per cent for the next few years as economists said macro-control would have to be maintained to regulate the economy. Speaking in Beijing before leaving for a nine-day visit to Japan, the Vice-Premier warned that social instability could erupt if China's growth rate was artificially forced down. ''China is aiming for fast, healthy and sustained economic growth,'' he said. The China News Service (CNS) reported last night that the consumer price index in 35 major cities last month grew by 23.3 per cent over the previous month. Although the operation of the economy remained stable, it said inflation and unlawful fees and charges were still serious problems. ''According to analysis, the present economic development is a continuation of that in the last quarter of 1993. On one hand, the economy still grew at a rapid pace. On the other, some contradictions and problems were still prominent. The task of macro-control remains heavy,'' the CNS report said. In 1993, China's gross national product grew by 13 per cent, the highest rate in the world. But signs of overheating have prompted the communist leadership to go for moderate growth of nine per cent this year. The remarks made by Mr Zhu yesterday indicated that Beijing is determined to keep the rate of growth at a moderate pace in the next few years, which means that state fiats would have to be maintained to regulate the economy. Mr Zhu maintained that the economy was not overheating, adding that there had been no major problems with reform measures implemented since the start of this year and that prices, the market and public opinion were stable. The senior official also dismissed fears among foreign investors over the stability of China's money supply policy. ''Some foreign friends are afraid that the policy is sometimes tight and sometimes loose,'' he said. Mr Zhu maintained that the country's money-supply policy would be determined in accordance with the real state of the economy in order to guarantee stable, fast and continuous growth. Asked to comment on press reports that he would step down from his concurrent post as governor of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, Mr Zhu said that since he took the job in the middle of 1993, he had discovered the holder of the post was notpopular anywhere. ''Very few people want this job. So I have no choice but to go on doing it,'' he said with a smile. Meanwhile, Vice-Premier Zou Jiahua has fiercely criticised the malpractices of fabricating and false reporting of economic figures by some regions and departments to the central Government. He warned that wrong economic data would jeopardise efforts to get a true picture of the economy and form the right economic policies.