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VOA双语新闻 - 信贷紧缩经济放缓使休斯敦人担心

时间:2011-06-03 03:46来源:互联网 提供网友:jackdj21   字体: [ ]

   The sub-prime mortgage collapse1 that led to the current U.S. financial crisis has not had as deep an impact in the middle of the nation as it has had on the east and west coasts. But economists3 say a credit crunch4 will affect all regions of the country. Even an economy buoyed5 by a booming energy sector6 is not immune.

  When housing prices soared in other areas of the country, cities like Houston, Texas saw only modest increases. So when prices went into steep declines elsewhere, people here did not worry. But tightening7 credit overall is having an impact.
  Some builders have shut down because they cannot get the financing they need to proceed with developments. The situation worries small business owners like Linda Heckman, who runs a gift shop in a Houston suburb.
  "I use my credit card to buy merchandise for the store," she said. "If I cannot do that, then I cannot buy merchandise for the store."
  She says an economic slowdown would also affect her customers and reduce her sales. She says she hopes Congress will act soon to restore confidence in the system.
  One person keeping a careful watch on the situation is Barton Smith, a University of Houston economist2 who provides economic forecasts for the city.
  "Home prices in Houston are essentially8 flat," he said. "That is a lot better than being down 15 to 20 percent, like many urban areas in the United States. So we are doing better, but we are not totally immune. We are already seeing increasing reports of businesses in Houston that are having a hard time maintaining their lines of credit just to continue to do business."
  Smith says the soaring price of oil in recent years, which helped slow the nation's economy overall, has so far had a positive effect in Houston where many oil and gas companies, as well as energy services companies, are located.
  "Energy is what is keeping our head above water and allowing us to continue to grow while a lot of the rest of the nation is suffering job losses," he said. "But if the problem gets worse and spreads more rapidly through the global economy, then it is going to continue to put significant downward pressure on oil."
  The price of a barrel of oil has dropped about $40 in the past few months, although it is still more than double what it was just a few years ago. But a prolonged economic slowdown could reduce demand for energy and the price of oil.
  Rice University economist Barbara Ostdiek says that could hurt Houston.
  "If a slowdown in the global economy pulls down the price of oil then, certainly, you would expect that to have an effect on the Houston economy," she said. "Now, that does not mean it is devastating9."
  Ostdiek says the energy industry is likely to remain strong here even, if there is a drop in oil prices. But, she says, a global recession that drove down demand in fast-growing nations like India and China could put even greater downward pressure on prices for most commodities - including oil.
  "As China and India sort of shudder10 in the wake of our current financial crisis, there is concern about their export-driven economies, particularly in China, and the extent that they are driven by the ability to sell products into our market," she said. "So the commodity prices are reflecting not only that slowdown in our demand, but also the slowdown in what have been very rapidly growing economies."
  In a sense, Barbara Ostdiek says, the problem of easy money and easy credit is coming full circle, since it was foreign countries, like China, that bought many of the financial instruments produced in the United States and thereby11 kept the freewheeling system going.
  "For a while, we were able to consume beyond our means and it was essentially funded by the rest of the world," said Ostdiek. "What we are seeing now may be a not too pleasant, but a necessary, adjustment of these huge global imbalances."
  For that reason, Ostdiek is among the many economists in the country who favor government action that is carefully crafted to shore up confidence in banks and the credit system. Although she says Congress needs to act soon, she maintains there is enough time to develop a plan that will work without putting taxpayer12 money at great risk.
  Barton Smith agrees:
  "It is important that we find a solution, but it is also important that we find the right solution," he said. "And I am not sure that the Paulson plan, even with all the various Band-Aids [bandages] that have been put on it, is the correct solution."


1 collapse aWvyE     
  • The country's economy is on the verge of collapse.国家的经济已到了崩溃的边缘。
  • The engineer made a complete diagnosis of the bridge's collapse.工程师对桥的倒塌做了一次彻底的调查分析。
2 economist AuhzVs     
  • He cast a professional economist's eyes on the problem.他以经济学行家的眼光审视这个问题。
  • He's an economist who thinks he knows all the answers.他是个经济学家,自以为什么都懂。
3 economists 2ba0a36f92d9c37ef31cc751bca1a748     
n.经济学家,经济专家( economist的名词复数 )
  • The sudden rise in share prices has confounded economists. 股价的突然上涨使经济学家大惑不解。
  • Foreign bankers and economists cautiously welcomed the minister's initiative. 外国银行家和经济学家对部长的倡议反应谨慎。 来自《简明英汉词典》
4 crunch uOgzM     
  • If it comes to the crunch they'll support us.关键时刻他们是会支持我们的。
  • People who crunch nuts at the movies can be very annoying.看电影时嘎吱作声地嚼干果的人会使人十分讨厌。
5 buoyed 7da50152a46b3edf3164b6a7f21be885     
v.使浮起( buoy的过去式和过去分词 );支持;为…设浮标;振奋…的精神
  • Buoyed by their win yesterday the team feel confident of further success. 在昨天胜利的鼓舞下,该队有信心再次获胜。
  • His encouragement buoyed her up during that difficult period. 他的鼓励使她在那段困难时期恢复了乐观的情绪。 来自《简明英汉词典》
6 sector yjczYn     
  • The export sector will aid the economic recovery. 出口产业将促进经济复苏。
  • The enemy have attacked the British sector.敌人已进攻英国防区。
7 tightening 19aa014b47fbdfbc013e5abf18b64642     
  • Make sure the washer is firmly seated before tightening the pipe. 旋紧水管之前,检查一下洗衣机是否已牢牢地固定在底座上了。
  • It needs tightening up a little. 它还需要再收紧些。
8 essentially nntxw     
  • Really great men are essentially modest.真正的伟人大都很谦虚。
  • She is an essentially selfish person.她本质上是个自私自利的人。
9 devastating muOzlG     
  • It is the most devastating storm in 20 years.这是20年来破坏性最大的风暴。
  • Affairs do have a devastating effect on marriages.婚外情确实会对婚姻造成毁灭性的影响。
10 shudder JEqy8     
  • The sight of the coffin sent a shudder through him.看到那副棺材,他浑身一阵战栗。
  • We all shudder at the thought of the dreadful dirty place.我们一想到那可怕的肮脏地方就浑身战惊。
11 thereby Sokwv     
  • I have never been to that city,,ereby I don't know much about it.我从未去过那座城市,因此对它不怎么熟悉。
  • He became a British citizen,thereby gaining the right to vote.他成了英国公民,因而得到了投票权。
12 taxpayer ig5zjJ     
  • The new scheme will run off with a lot of the taxpayer's money.这项新计划将用去纳税人许多钱。
  • The taxpayer are unfavourably disposed towards the recent tax increase.纳税者对最近的增加税收十分反感。
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