Friday, May 01, 2009

Chinese For Shovel Ready

Story in yesterday's WSJ that, unlike the US, China's government spending on infrastructure has already stimulated construction projects. And these projects are also helping US companies:

China's efforts to quickly pump up its economy are providing a much-needed boost for U.S. businesses as well.

A growing number of companies, from tire and excavator makers to fast-food chains, are benefiting from China's $585 billion stimulus program, which has quickly funneled money into everything from bridges to consumers' pockets.

Just 11 days after the Chinese government approved a $930 million bridge and expressway project called Xiangshan Island Bridge, which will extend over the East China Sea and through mountain tunnels, massive orange drilling equipment was already on site.

Such speed is critical to U.S. industrial-equipment makers, which sell into that market and aren't benefiting nearly as quickly from U.S. stimulus spending.

Caterpillar Inc. Chief Executive James W. Owens says the company's excavator sales in China have returned to record levels in recent months, bouncing back from plummeting sales over the winter.

He says China continues to have a great need for infrastructure and that projects there could start much more quickly than could similar projects in the U.S. "It's something like nine months [in the U.S.] versus nine weeks" in China, he says.

Good thing the Chinese didn't have any requirements that these projects only use materials and equipment made in China.

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