Business Briefs – September 10, 2017

U.S. Consumer Borrowing Increased in July

WASHINGTON (AP) – American consumers borrowed more heavily in July, increasing their debt primarily in a category that includes auto and student loans. The Federal Reserve says that overall consumer credit rose $18.5 billion in July, up from the $11.9 billion increase in June. Economists and financial markets watch the credit report closely for clues about the direction of consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity.

China’s Exports Cool in August While Imports Accelerate

BEIJING (AP) – China’s export growth weakened in August in a sign of softer global demand while imports showed unexpected strength despite forecasts of a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

Car-Centric Houston Struggles After Loss of Countless Autos

KATY, Texas (AP) – Bryan Harvey is frequently reminded that he shares a name with the storm that dumped 50 inches of rain on metropolitan Houston and unleashed the floods that have him working 14-hour days towing water-logged cars.

Even in their despair, some victims have salvaged a smile by posing for pictures in front of the “Harvey’s Towing” sign on the side of his red Dodge Ram 5500 flat-bed truck.

More than a week after Harvey slammed Houston, wreckers like Bryan Harvey are still hauling cars and trucks from flooded neighborhoods to dealerships or to vast fields where insurance adjusters can assess the damage.

The Houston area has lost hundreds of thousands of cars, says Michael Hartmann, general manager of Don McGill Toyota of Katy, a city of 17,000 about 30 miles west of Houston. “We have a shortage of rental cars and people are not sure how to go about handling claims and just what to do with their lives.”

The wreckage has forced Houstonians to scramble to try to rent or borrow cars or to work from home — if they can. Some have it worse: They can’t return to work until they resolve the transportation problems, depriving many of them of income and slowing the city’s return to business as usual.

Thousands Rally in London To Protest Britain’s Exit From EU

LONDON (AP) – Thousands marched Saturday to Parliament in central London to protest Britain’s plan to withdraw from the European Union.

Organizers of the “People’s March for Europe” said the goal was to “unite, rethink and reject” the Conservative government’s plan to implement Brexit by 2019. Some protesters carried the EU flag while others carried an “Exit from Brexit” banner.