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Economists: SARS to Impose only "Brief" Impact on China's Economy
The outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) will only impose a brief impact on China's economy, agreed economists at a forum on "SARS and Asia's Economy: Impacts and Policy Recommendations" that began here Tuesday.

China will contain the spread of SARS in a short period with its current efforts and achievements, and the depressed consumption and investment of the most seriously affected service industry will be soon eased once the epidemic is under control.

This will in turn promote economic growth, said the economists.

Homi Kharas, chief economist of East Asia for the World Bank, said China can transfer the SARS effects into a temporary impact through international cooperation.

He said some positive phenomena occurred in China's economy even while SARS spreads in the country, including an improved international environment, rapidly growing exports, a stable cash market and a rapidly growing GDP in the first quarter.

Chen Xingdong, chief economist of BNP Paribas Peregrine Securities Ltd., concluded that, after analyzing the monthly performance of seven major industries in China, SARS will affect China's economy most seriously in the third quarter but the economy will rebound strongly in the fourth quarter.

He predicted China's GDP will grow at least seven percent in 2003 and maintain a rapid growth in 2004.

Chinese economist Hu Angang was also optimistic about China's economy after the SARS crisis. He predicted China's GDP growth rate will be eight to nine percent in 2003, and that of Beijing, the most seriously affected region, will be 10 percent.

(Xinhua News Agency May 14, 2003)

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