Economic Impact From Chinese Quake 'Limited'

'I think the sound momentum for economic growth will be maintained,' said a government official.

BEIJING (AP) -- The impact of last week's earthquake on China's economy and state-owned companies would be ''limited,'' a government official said Wednesday.

''I think the sound momentum for economic growth will be maintained,'' said Li Rongrong, chairman of the state body that oversees government-owned enterprises.

''Despite the huge impact of the earthquake we believe the impact of the earthquake on the general economy in China including the state-owned enterprises will be limited,'' he said.

The May 12 quake inflicted an estimated 30 billion yuan (US$4.29 billion; euro2.74 billion) in losses on state-owned enterprises, he said. Around 3,000 employees of those companies were either injured, dead or missing, he said.

Li said eight state-owned hydropower stations were not damaged despite some signs of cracks.

''They're all fine. In some places there are slight signs of cracks, but it's had no impact,'' he said.

Earlier this week, officials said all companies suffered 67 billion yuan (US$9.5 billion, euro6.07 billion) in losses from the quake.

China's state companies are pillars of the economy and control China's crude oil and natural gas production, generate half of the electricity and account for 15 percent of coal output.

Only a small proportion of state-owned companies suffered from the earthquake, Li said, predominantly electric and telecommunication companies. Li said 3.64 million households suffered electrical failures.

Three state-owned companies have their headquarters in Sichuan, and over 50 have branches there.

Dongfang Electric Corp. a major manufacturer of power equipment, and the State Grid Corp., which runs most of China's vast power distribution network, were among the five state-owned companies that suffered the most damage, Li said.

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