China Approves Massive Infrastructure Spending

Announcement of $156 billion worth of spending welcomed by markets


BEIJING—China has approved an estimated $156 billion in new subways, highways and other infrastructure projects in recent days, giving markets a boost on Friday, even as economists are increasingly fretting that the country is behind the curve in responding to the economic slowdown.

The spending plans send a signal that the Chinese government has belatedly heeded risks from a slowing economy and has become increasing open to stimulus, economists said.

"China's central government finally took real actions to arrest the worsening slowdown," Bank of America-Merrill Lynch economist Lu Ting said in a note, but he added that the new plans come too late to arrest a further slowdown in the third quarter.