July 1, 2012 / 7:49 PM / 6 years ago

China must keep property curbs: Vice Premier Li

China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang addresses an EU-China High Level meeting on Energy at the EC headquarters in Brussels May 3, 2012. REUTERS/Thierry Charlier/Pool

BEIJING (Reuters) - China must maintain restrictions on home purchases, Vice Premier Li Keqiang was quoted as saying on Sunday, rejecting calls to relax property market restrictions as a way of keeping the economy growing.

Li, widely seen as premier in waiting, was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying that speculative and investment purchases of homes in China must be curbed. Li made the remarks at a recent conference, Xinhua said, without being more specific.

The comments make Li the most senior Chinese official to directly rebut first-time-ever calls from government advisers last month for Beijing to relax property curbs and might dampen market speculation that home purchase restrictions are about to be lifted.

Government policy over the last two years has aimed at taming record prices and addressing the concerns of millions of people who can not afford to purchase a home.

Property curbs include barring people from buying more than two properties and raising mortgage rates.

Li is widely expected to succeed Premier Wen Jiabao when China starts a once-a-decade leadership change later this year.

Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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