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China's GDP Expected to Hit 8 Percent Despite SARS: CASS
China's economy will still keep a growth rate of eight percent this year despite the impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), according to the latest report released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

A group of CASS economic experts delivered an analysis on China 's post-SARS economy development recently, which anticipates the negative impact of SARS on China's economy will not exceed one percentage point in growth of gross domestic product (GDP).

But the experts group lowered the original anticipation of this year's GDP growth from 8.6 percent to eight percent.

The report said that the influence of SARS on China's social and economic development is more minor than the impact of the Asian financial crisis in 1997. And the SARS influence will be easier to overcome compared with that of the financial crisis and the September 11 incident in the United States in 2001.

According to the report, China's capital investment in fixed assets is expected to grow 14.5 percent this year, higher than the average growth rate since 1996. The per capita disposable income of China's urban residents and rural people will increase 7.9 and 3.7 percents respectively.

The volume of retail sales in 2003 will rise by 10.4 percent, and the consumer price index (CPI) is expected to grow 0.3 percent, said the report.

It said the state's fiscal revenue in 2003 will hit 15.8 percent and the export growth will top 14.1 percent. The total volume of exports will exceed that of imports by 10 billion US dollars this year.

The short term influence of SARS will first appear in some service industries, causing a deficiency in social demand and reduction of people's income, said the report.

The reduction of export orders and contracted foreign capital will also bring a negative impact on China's economy.

The pressure caused by SARS on China's employment and finance also cannot be ignored, said the report.

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