By  on June 11, 2008

BEIJING — While the Chinese government still hasn't put a definitive price tag on damage caused by last month's devastating earthquake in Sichuan, economists and central government planners say the economic ramifications go far beyond the destruction of homes, businesses and lives.

Inflation, agricultural production, supplies of building materials and tourism are all expected to take a hit from earthquake-related destruction and reconstruction. Rebuilding in quake-devastated areas will likely present the largest of the economic challenges. The government has said it will take three years to rebuild the affected areas of the Sichuan province, where some five million people remain homeless after the 7.9-magnitude quake on May 12 that killed at least 69,000 people. Aftershocks remain a major concern.

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