Shanghai's economy could grow by 11 per cent this year, narrowly beating last year's 10.9 per cent, if Sars does not return in the second half of the year, a vice-mayor has been quoted as saying. If the figure is achieved, this year would be the 12th in a row that the city recorded double-digit economic growth. Vice-Mayor Yang Xiong said gross domestic product grew 11.7 per cent year on year in the first eight months of 2003, to 385 billion yuan (HK$361.9 billion), the Shanghai Youth Daily reported yesterday. Shanghai hopes rapid economic growth will help create jobs. The city needs to create 400,000 jobs this year to keep the official urban unemployment rate below 5 per cent, reports say. Actual unemployment is far higher, analysts say, since the official figures do not include rural unemployed and those laid off by state companies. Separately, Guangdong's Nanfang Daily reported the province's GDP grew 12.8 per cent year on year in the first eight months. Exports were up 25.1 per cent, to US$91.66 billion, over the period and utilised foreign investment climbed 30.1 per cent to US$15.7 billion. The agricultural sector registered a 0.9 per cent drop in output value, while manufacturing maintained fast-paced growth of 16.9 per cent. Shanghai and Guangdong are the twin engines of mainland growth.