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    Cost of Chinese quake could exceed $70 bln

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    The cost to China's economy from the devastating earthquake which hit southwest China in May could amount to $58-70 billion, a government think tank said in a report on Wednesday.

    BEIJING, June 18 (RIA Novosti) - The cost to China's economy from the devastating earthquake which hit southwest China in May could amount to $58-70 billion, a government think tank said in a report on Wednesday.

    The report said, however, that the disaster is not expected to have a serious negative impact on the economic growth in the country, slowing it by 0.1%. But the cost of rebuilding in the affected regions could well boost growth by 0.4%, offsetting the losses and raising overall GDP by 0.3%.

    China is the world's fastest growing economy with 11.4% GDP growth or $3.46 trillion in 2007.

    The country's worst earthquake in 30 years claimed the lives of 69,172 people, but with over 17,000 people still missing Chinese authorities expect the final toll to exceed 80,000.

    According to official data, 373,500 people were injured in the quake, which affected over 45.5 million, with 1.5 million evacuated from the disaster zone.

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