Experts Estimate Over $75 Billion Economic Loss from Sichuan Earthquake

May 26, 2008 12:00 am Last Updated: May 26, 2008 12:00 am

With more and more damage reports being released, experts believe the economic loss from the earthquake in China is substantial. Some experts estimate the direct economic loss to be about 525.2 billion yuan (approximately US$75.6 billion), almost four times the loss caused by the snowstorms that hit southern China in January and February of this year.

Preliminary estimates by the Chinese government reveal that the losses from industrial enterprises in Sichuan are over 67 billion yuan (US$9.6 billion). These are mainly from over 14,000 damaged enterprises. Private property losses are estimated to far exceed that of enterprises.

As of May 23, the earthquake has resulted in 51,151 deaths, 274,683 wounded and 32,666 missing. According to Southwest Securities' preliminary estimates, the indirect economic losses of regions affected by the earthquake are probably between 30 to 60 billion yuan (US$4.3 to 8.6 billion). The total losses caused by the disaster may be between 105 to 190 billion yuan (US$15.1 to 27.3 billion). This might reduce the country's economic growth for the rest of the year by 0.15 to 0.2 percent. This excludes the indirect impact on other areas. Economist Liu Zhengshan, however, believes the direct losses could reach up to 525 billion yuan.

Fan Jianping, chief economist of the State Information Centre, said the financial losses from the earthquake is higher than the snowstorm that struck earlier in the year. The direct economic loss is much more. The annual economic growth might drop 0.4 to 0.7 percent. It will also have an impact on the overall macro-economic policy and labor supply nationwide in the short term, as many rural workers are from the earthquake region.