China's Heavy Industries Steel for Crash

Global downturn freezes country's industrial transformation
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2008 1:44 AM CST
A Chinese migrant worker walks on a street bridge crossing railways near Beijing South Railway Station earlier this month.   (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
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(Newser) – The global slowdown is rapidly shutting down China's heavy industries, the New York Times reports. Just months after the government warned that the red-hot economy could lead to runaway inflation, the nation's steel, cement and construction industries now find themselves with a huge excess of capacity—and workers. Growth is expected to slip to its lowest since 1990.

"It’s the speed of the deceleration that scares people," said one economist. "People got scared, and many activities just stopped. Many turned off the lights.” Beijing has announced a stimulus package worth nearly $600 billion to shore up heavy industry, but many analysts doubt even that will be enough to offset the knock-out effect of a slump in American demand for Chinese exports.