An expert from China's State Information Center (SIC) predicted Friday that, though impacted by SARS, the country would see an economic growth rate of between 8.2 percent and 8.5 percent in the first half of this year.
Fan Jianping, Vice Director of the SIC's Economic Prediction Department, told Xinhua that he made the forecast based on China's very good economic growth momentum in the first half of the year, adding that the country's Consumer Price Index (CPI) would be 0.7 percent to 0.8 percent higher than that of last year.
Official statistics showed that the actual foreign direct investment in the period totaled over 20 billion yuan (about 2.5 billion US dollars), according to Fan.
The country's trade surplus, though shrinking compared with that of last year, is still considerable, added Fan.
He stressed that China's economy had entered a stage of steady growth, and the SARS impact would not last long.
China had begun to feel the increasing pressure of unemployment, Fan said, adding that SARS had weakened the ability of China's tertiary industry to provide more job opportunities.
The unemployment rate is increasing, and the urban registered unemployment rate might surpass 4.5 percent, Fan said.
However, Fan was optimistic about the future development of China's economy.
"China has successfully curbed the contagious SARS, and with the growing flow of foreign capital into China's market, the country is sure to see a fast and steady economic growth."
(Xinhua News Agency July 5, 2003)