(Bloomberg) -- China’s central bank vowed to get more out of its existing pro-growth policies, acknowledging that the economy is suffering from subdued demand and downbeat sentiment despite some signs of improvement this year.

The Chinese economy “is still facing challenges such as insufficient effective demand and relatively weak social expectations,” the People’s Bank of China said in a statement following a quarterly meeting of its monetary policy committee. 

“We will pay more attention to implementation of the counter-cyclical adjustment,” the PBOC said, citing a phrase typically used for measures to address short-term volatility in the economy. In another sign that the immediate outlook is of growing concern to authorities, the bank dropped a reference to “cross-cyclical adjustment” that was in the statement after its last meeting. That’s the wording it uses to describe policies aimed at tackling longer-term structural problems. 

While China has shown signs of better-than-expected growth early this year, driven by a rebound in manufacturing, economists still expect more stimulus will be needed to reach the official target of around 5%. Persistent deflationary pressure, a multi-year property downturn and rising trade tensions are among the biggest challenges to the growth outlook.

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Still, the PBOC refrained from hinting that it’s ready to take aggressive new easing measures, pledging instead to “strengthen the implementation of existing monetary policies.” It renewed promises to keep liquidity “reasonably ample,” helping prices to achieve a “mild rebound,” and to “firmly prevent over-correction in the foreign exchange rate.”

To help the housing market, the bank indicated it’s ready to meet the “reasonable” financing needs of public or private developers without discrimination. It also pledged to ramp up financial support for homebuilding projects whether they’re commercial or state-subsidized. 

Outside of the troubled property sector, the PBOC said it will encourage banks to step up financial support for large-scale equipment upgrades by firms, and trade-ins of household appliances by consumers — a major government-led program that aims to boost consumption.

Earlier this year the PBOC reduced the amount of cash banks must set aside as reserves and slashed a key reference rate for mortgages by the most since 2019.

While officials have said there’s space for further reductions to the required reserves, pressure on the yuan is limiting the scope of the PBOC’s monetary easing. Economists expect the central bank to cut rates moderately later this year.

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--With assistance from Tom Hancock.

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