Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao
Wen meets with foreign leaders in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in early April. Reuters

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao warned Sunday of huge downward pressure on the Chinese economy, in the clearest expression yet of concern at the top of the country's leadership about a sharp slowdown in recent months.

During a weekend inspection tour of east-central China, Wen called for the government to preset and fine-tune its policies in a more aggressive manner while sticking to proactive and prudent monetary policies, using fiscal and monetary tools to offset the economic slowdown as much as possible. But he also tried to reassure the Chinese public, saying that the economy was running at a generally stable pace, reported Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency.

Wen said attention should be paid to improving structural tax reduction measures and resolving structural problems between credit supply and demand and to make government policies more targeted, forward-looking and effective.

At a meeting held in Jiangsu provincial capital of Nanjing on Sunday, Wen said the government made a timely shift to pro-growth measures in April, and those are now working, with the economy moving toward stabilized growth albeit at a slower pace.

Wen largely attributed the slowdown to weak demand from overseas, particularly Europe with its faltering economies, the New YorkTimes reported. But in separate remarks Saturday, he reaffirmed a government policy of making real estate prices more affordable, by strictly banning real estate speculation.

That policy that has played a central role in the country's economic slowdown, as residential real estate construction has slowed to a crawl except for low-income housing.