Monday, December 11, 2017
Business

China fights slump with stimulus plan

BEIJING — China is rolling out a ministimulus plan to fight its economic slump but is moving cautiously after its massive response to the 2008 global crisis left a painful hangover of inflation and debt.

Beijing has yet to announce a total price tag. But measures announced piecemeal in recent weeks include $10 billion to build affordable housing and $4 billion to subsidize sales of energy-efficient appliances.

That limited size should make the effort more manageable than the $586 billion avalanche of spending and bank loans in 2008. But its power to boost growth in a $2.5 trillion economy also will be smaller.

Still, analysts say the measures should be enough to drive a rebound and keep growth for the year at or slightly above 8 percent.

"I do think it will make a big difference," said Nomura economist Zhiwei Zhang.

"Second-half GDP growth will be better than the first half, to a large extent driven by this support," Zhang said. "Without it, I think growth probably would trend down."

After spending two years enforcing lending and investment curbs to cool inflation and an overheated economy, communist leaders began gradually reversing course in December after a plunge in demand for China's exports.

Their efforts took on more urgency after economic growth plunged to a nearly three-year low of 8.1 percent in the first quarter and factory output in April grew at its lowest rate since the 2008 crisis. Analysts say growth should slow further in the current quarter.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are forecasting 8.2 percent growth this year. The government's official target is 7.5 percent.

The appliance subsidies might help spur consumer purchases, but measures announced so far rely heavily on more spending to build airports and other public works and encouraging private sector investment.

Construction spending pumps money into the economy quickly but raises the risk of setting back the government's longer-term effort to reduce China's heavy reliance on investment to drive growth. Easing investment curbs also threatens to add to a glut of unneeded mills and factories in steel and other industries.

Dozens of new wind, hydro and other renewable power projects have been approved by the country's planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission.

Cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Fuzhou in the southeast are speeding up construction of expressways and subway projects. Other cities have received approval to upgrade hospitals, water treatment plants and other public facilities.

Comments
Medical field accounts for 7 of 10 highest-paying jobs

Medical field accounts for 7 of 10 highest-paying jobs

The nation’s highest-paying jobs don’t quite track with the fastest-growing jobs in Florida. According to a new study released today by California-based CareerCast, the highest-paying jobs are largely in the medical field and require post-graduate de...
Published: 12/12/17
Outback Steakhouse co-founder Chris Sullivan steps off Bloomin’ Brands’ board

Outback Steakhouse co-founder Chris Sullivan steps off Bloomin’ Brands’ board

Chris Sullivan, co-founder of Outback Steakhouse, resigned from the board of the restaurant chain’s parent company last Wednesday, according to a Monday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The document, filed by Tampa-based Bloomin’ B...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

TAMPA — With the Republican tax bill poised to eliminate the opportunity, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority on Monday said it had refinanced a big chunk of its debt to save money in the future.The authority borrowed $152 million from the bo...
Published: 12/11/17
JW Marriott Clearwater Beach project still on target despite some bumps

JW Marriott Clearwater Beach project still on target despite some bumps

CLEARWATER BEACH — While Tampa is excited about its first JW Marriott hotel, plans are moving ahead for a $130 million JW Marriott property on Clearwater Beach, despite some hiccups. "We’ve done really well in our opinion," Uday Lele, developer of t...
Published: 12/11/17
HSBC says U.S. will dismiss criminal charges against it

HSBC says U.S. will dismiss criminal charges against it

HSBC said Monday that U.S. authorities were preparing to dismiss criminal charges against the bank, five years after it reached an agreement to avoid prosecution related to lapses in its money-laundering controls.In 2012, the bank, one of the world’s...
Published: 12/11/17
Major auto manufacturer offers longer hours, incentives to fix airbags

Major auto manufacturer offers longer hours, incentives to fix airbags

TAMPA — With nearly 200,000 people around Tampa Bay still driving around with defective airbags that could kill them, a major automaker is trying to dramatically cut that number down this week.Fiat Chrystler Automobiles U.S. has launched Airbag Recal...
Published: 12/11/17
This 6-year-old kid made $11 million in one year reviewing toys on You Tube

This 6-year-old kid made $11 million in one year reviewing toys on You Tube

When most people think back on the child celebrities of their time, they likely think of child movie actors, the well-trained stars of showbiz. For some, these were stars like Mary Kate and Ashley Olson, or Macaulay Carson Culkin from "Home Alone." F...
Published: 12/11/17
Ticket-fighting firm hires former Florida Bar president to sue the Bar

Ticket-fighting firm hires former Florida Bar president to sue the Bar

Times Staff WriterWell, this is awkward. A company that is suing the Florida Bar has hired a former Bar president to represent it. Ramon Abadin has joined the legal team of TIKD, a company that expedites the process of fighting traffic tickets in Pin...
Published: 12/11/17
A longer wait: Some now try nearly 3 years to get disability insurance

A longer wait: Some now try nearly 3 years to get disability insurance

By the time Teralyn Fleming could finally plead her case to get federal disability insurance, she had been waiting two years and three months. The wait was not a peaceful one — a blood clotting disorder pushed her out of the workforce in 2015 so she ...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Tampa: Hundreds protest Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

Tampa: Hundreds protest Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

TAMPA — Hundreds rallied near the University of South Florida on Friday night to protest President Donald Trump’s recent declaration that the United States will recognize the divided city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.The protest was organize...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/09/17