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Urban people's income up 9%
( 2003-07-31 07:00) (China Daily)

The income of Chinese people in cities increased by 9 per cent in the first half of this year, but there was a remarkable fluctuation in consumption due to the SARS.

The booming shopping street, Nanjing Street, is shown in the picture. [newsphoto.com.cn]
According to the National Bureau of Statistics website, the per capita disposable income of urban residents in the first half of the year was 4,301 yuan (US$520), a 9-per cent rise over the same period last year.

Salaries made up the bulk of urban people's disposable income. The per capita salary was 3,254 yuan (US$393), an increase of 10.6 per cent compared with that of the first half of last year.

Per capita consumer spending in the first half of this year stood at 3,110 yuan (US$376), up 6.7 per cent over the same period last year.

However, the increase could have been higher had it not been for the SARS epidemic.

The epidemic, which peaked in May, made everyone in SARS-hit areas reluctant to go to public places such as shopping centres, cinemas or tourist attractions.

As a result, per capita consumer spending in May increased by only 0.6 per cent compared to the same month last year, while the year-on-year increase was as high as 8.9 per cent in the first quarter of this year and 8.7 per cent in April.

In June, when the outbreak became to ebb and people started to feel more relaxed, per capita spending increased by 3.8 per cent compared with last June.

But the outbreak had little impact on non-consumer spending, which includes spending on housing and insurance.

Per capita non-consumer spending was 1,086 yuan (US$131) in the first half of this year, a year-on-year increase of 15.1 per cent.

Of that amount, per capita spending on ready-built homes or houses under construction was 331 yuan (US$40), an increase of 24.9 per cent.

The statistics bureau also said that social security measures were gradually paying off. In the first half of this year, unemployment benefit payments rose by 39.9 per cent.

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