Premier Wen Jiabao says the central government is determined to break the mainland's banking monopoly, and if pilot schemes in the special financial zone newly set up in the southeastern city of Wenzhou prove successful they can be promoted and implemented nationwide. 'Our banks are profiting too easily. Why? That's because only a few big banks command monopoly positions- [business] can only get financing from them and [it is] hardly [possible] elsewhere,' Wen told private entrepreneurs during a three-day trip to Fujian and Guangxi that ended yesterday, China National Radio reported. Wen said allowing private capital to enter the banking and financial sectors was intended to break up the banking monopoly. Last month, Beijing announced it would legalise Wenzhou's controversial underground banking sector and allow the city's residents to make direct investments abroad. Observers said the two decisions represented significant steps in liberalising banking and investment on the mainland. Wen also said the mainland economy was heading in the direction the government anticipated despite declines in a few major economic indicators. 'Despite the falls, major economic indicators are still at reasonable levels, and confidence should be maintained on the country's economic work,' Wen told a meeting in Fuzhou with mayor and governors of Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu, Fujian and Zhejiang. Data released yesterday showed business activity in the non-manufacturing sector rebounded in March on rising market demand, strengthening the case for the world's second-largest economy escaping a bruising slowdown. The non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to a revised 58 last month, from February's 57.3 and January's 55.7, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) said. Two days ago the federation reported the manufacturing PMI was 53.1 in March, the fourth straight month it has risen and its highest level since March last year. A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion from the previous month; one below 50 indicates contraction. Wen also said that ensuring funding for major investment projects in progress was a priority of the government's macroeconomic control programme. And he said the government was studying further structural tax cuts to support small and medium-sized enterprises. Meanwhile, at the Boao Forum for Asia in the island province of Hainan, Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said it would take great effort to achieve the 7.5 per cent economic growth target for the year. And in a panel session at the forum, People's Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan said Beijing would use a combination of monetary tools to tackle inflation and steer the economy towards a soft landing. 'I think that for China and other economies, the policy goal is gradually to bring inflation down so it's a soft landing,' he said. Zhou also said the US Federal Reserve should consider other countries' interests when setting policies that create liquidity risks for emerging economies.