Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news, as China sets its lowest growth target in almost three decades

Here’s my colleague Lily Kuo on the Chinese growth targets:

Li appeared to hurry through the GDP targets, spending most of his nearly two hour speech on pledges to boost employment, cut taxes, and lower costs for businesses.

“Li Keqiang’s main purpose seems to have been to mollifying two constituencies that have been grumbling the loudest: the domestic private entrepreneurs and the foreign business community,” said Damien Ma, co-founder of the thinktank MacroPolo at the Paulson Institute.

Related: China warns of ‘tough struggle’ as it cuts growth target to lowest since 1990

Ouch. Struggling UK retailer Debenhams has just issued a fresh profits warning.

The department store is blaming macroeconomic uncertainties, increased financing, and the disruption as it tries to negotiate a restructuring plan with its lenders.


p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Debenhams issues a profit warning after 6.2% slump in UK sales, says refinancing talks are progressing well and will lead to 50 store closures

“We are making good progress with our stakeholder discussions to put the business on a firm footing for the future. We still expect that this process will lead to around 50 stores closing in the medium term.

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Read More China unveils tax cuts after slashing growth target – business live

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