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Mexico tallies quake's cost

Mexican government officials are tallying up the economic losses of the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that caused widespread damage in the capital, as the number of buildings considered in danger rose to 500.

The death toll in the quake rose to 331, with 192 of those deaths occurring in Mexico City. Authorities pledged a return to normality, but many streets in the capital were still blocked by construction equipment and recovery teams looking to extract the last remaining bodies from the rubble.

The city government announced a plan of reconstruction loans and aid for apartment dwellers who lost their homes, and may lose them as teetering buildings are pulled down.

But for city businesses like the downtown restaurant Guapa Papa, the result is already all too clear.

Sitting in the entrance of his restaurant Monday, surrounded by caution tape, Antonio Luna said: "This is a bust. It's already closed due to structural damage to the building."

He had to let go the three dozen employees at the 1950s-themed restaurant and is just trying to salvage whatever furniture and equipment wasn't damaged.

Moody's Investors Service said the quake "has the potential to be one of Mexico's costliest natural catastrophes."

Alfredo Coutino, Latin America director for Moody's Analytics, said they were still collecting data on losses, but a preliminary estimate was that the earthquake could knock 0.1 to 0.3 percentage point off growth in Mexico's gross domestic product in the third and fourth quarters.



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