Despite Beijing's efforts to adjust economic structure, the economy is not performing at its optimum level, according to Professor Gao Peiyong. Gao, the head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' National Academy of Economic Strategy, said the country's structural reform was disturbed by the financial crisis in 2008. "Compared with the situation before 2008, today's economic structure has not improved - it is moving in the opposite direction." He also warned that room for the central government to regulate the macro economy was narrower than in 2008. "There is a dilemma between steady economic growth, structural adjustment and a controllable price level," he added. However, he said the economy was fluctuating amid a recovery. He did not expect another crisis. "We believe the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 was the most difficult period." According to a recent survey among mainland economists, the second quarter, which saw gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 7.6 per cent, was the worst it would get. In the survey, 57 per cent of the respondents believed GDP growth in the third quarter would be faster than in the second, Gao said. "The same survey shows that 72 per cent of economists in China believe that whole-year GDP growth will be between 8 and 8.5 per cent," he said. By contrast, a research note issued by Morgan Stanley yesterday trimmed its China GDP forecast to 7.5 per cent from 8 per cent for this year, and down to 7.9 per cent from 8.6 per cent for 2013, due to "weak growth data from August". The research note said: "Until recently, we expected China to muddle through its economic difficulties with prompt cyclical policy easing. However, sluggish growth pushed market expectations into a downward spiral to the worst projected outcome of a complete policy paralysis with no reform or easing." A report by independent consultancy Lombard Street Research said the second quarter's GDP growth rate could be repeated in the third quarter, "with little growth of domestic demand and negative net exports".