BEIJING (AP) - China's prime minister called for urgent steps to prevent economic overheating, state media said Thursday, as the government forecast more double-digit growth in the next quarter, adding to pressure for new measures to avert a financial crisis.
''We must take forceful measures to resolve prominent problems to prevent the economy's rapid growth from turning into overheating,'' Prime minister Wen Jiabao said Wednesday in a teleconference with officials nationwide, according to news reports.
Wen, China's top economic official, told officials to ''resolutely control'' a boom in construction and bank lending that drove growth in the second quarter to 11.3 percent, its highest rate in a decade, the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily and other outlets reported.
On Thursday, the government announced new taxes on real estate sales in an effort to discourage speculation.
Chinese leaders want to keep economic growth high in order to reduce poverty. But they worry the investment boom could soar out of control, igniting inflation or leaving companies and banks with dangerously high debts.
Growth should slow only slightly to 10.8 percent in the next quarter, compared with the same period last year, the government's main planning agency said Thursday.
For the first nine months of this year, investment in factories and other fixed assets should soar by 28.5 percent, the National Development and Reform Commission said. That is close to the 29.8 percent growth rate reported in the same period of 2005.
The government has tried to cool off the economy by raising interest rates in April and restricting construction and credit. Economists say another rate hike is possible, as is a rise in the value of China's currency, the yuan, which might restrain exports by making Chinese goods more expensive.
Wen also called for more efforts to improve life for China's poor by ensuring stable growth of farming and other industries in the countryside, home to some 800 million people.
The ruling party announced last week that the annual meeting of its Central Committee in October will focus on building a ''harmonious country'' _ a reference to efforts to ease tensions over the growing wealth gap between regions and social classes.
Meanwhile, the government said it will start collecting a 20 percent capital gains tax on property sales beginning Aug. 1. The tax agency said the measure was enacted in 1994 but has rarely been used.
The agency said it would impose a separate tax of 1 percent to 3 percent on resales of residential property owned less than five years.
The announcement on the agency's Web site didn't say how the new tax would be applied. China already charges a 5 percent tax on property sales after less than five years of ownership.