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Chinese Officials: Earthquake Will Have Minimal Economic Impact

In the wake of last week's devastating earthquake in China's Sichuan region, government officials say that growth near that region will be affected, but that significant changes to the national economy are not expected. A statement released by the State Council estimates the direct losses at 67 billion yuan, or approximately US$9.5 billion, the equivalent of 0.27 percent of China's gross domestic product last year. Analysts predict that the quake may actually have a positive impact on China's growth, as the government has pledged 70 billion yuan (approximately US$10 billion) toward reconstruction, and this may present growth opportunities. The Chinese government's official death toll from the quake stands at more than 41,000 as of today.

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