China’s Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday that “changes” in the economy in March had exceeded expectations, with the economy operating in a steady manner in the first quarter.

Li made the comments while meeting foreign and Chinese executives at the Boao forum in the southern island province of Hainan.

China’s economic growth cooled to 6.6 percent last year, the slowest pace in nearly 30 years, and analysts polled by Reuters expect a further pullback to 6.3 percent in 2019.