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H7N9 not expected to exert significant influence on China's economy

By Zhu Ningzhu (

15:37, May 06, 2013

BEIJING, May 6 (Xinhuanet) -- The H7N9 bird flu is not expected to exert significant influence on China's economy, though certain sectors have been hit bitterly, experts and business insiders predict.

"Based on the experience gained through coping with SARS, the government has taken measures in prevention and control of the influenza as well as information disclosure, which will spare bigger and more impact." said Han Meng, a researcher from Chinese academy of social sciences.

In the early stages of the disease, the poultry market, hospitality, tourism and aviation industry were all affected to a certain degree owing to citizen's reluctance to buy poultry foods and go out to travel.

China's poultry industry has suffered losses, amounting to 10 billion yuan ($1.62 billion) in the one week after the outbreak of H7N9, data from China Animal Agriculture Association revealed.

While the poultry market downturn is still unfolding, other sectors such as tourism are regaining ground or remain immune to the H7N9 fear.

As is predicted by business observers, the virusimpact on general tourism is very limited. During the May Day holidays, many scenic spots saw increasing number of tourists. For instance, Beijing received 4.97 million travelers, increasing 5.1 percent year on year.

In 2003, China's economy was battered by SARS, with a number of sectors suffering great losses. Yet in the end of 2003, China's economy expanded 9.1 percent year on year, the fastest since 1997.

Less industrial sectors are affected by H7N9 this year compared with that of 2003, as no evidence has been found showing the flu strain can be transmitted through human-to-human contacts. Besides, in terms of output value and transaction volume, poultry and related products contribute small proportion to China's total economy.

The flu's influence on CPI will be seen in short term, as fluctuation of agricultural prices is relatively small, according to a report released by a research institution subordinate to Bank of Communications .

China's slower GDP growth, 7.7 percent in the first quarter, down from 7.9 percent in the final quarter of 2012, was still above the 7.5 percent full-year target for 2013 set by the government in March.

Analysts say China's economy will continue to grow steadily in spite of the H7N9 fear.

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