Chile to spend $1.2 billion on housing, credit

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- Chile is putting up more than $1 billion to help middle-income families and smaller businesses survive the global financial crisis.

The money comes from treasury funds accumulated through Chile's fiscal discipline over the years.

President Michelle Bachelet says $500 million will enable Chile's state-owned BancoEstado to increase credit for qualifying businesses.

The other half will go to subsidize home purchases by middle income families, creating more jobs in the construction industry.

Finance Minister Andres Velasco joined Tuesday's announcement, saying Chile's economy is solid enough to survive "this huge international storm."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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