THE NEWS WRAP: Chinese government won’t tolerate less than 7% growth

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has announced China will not tolerate a GDP expansion rate of less than 7%, with the target necessary to meet a long-term aim of having a prosperous society by 2020.


“The comments confirmed that the government’s acceptable range for growth this year is between 7% and 7.5%,” Chang Jian, a Hong Kong-based economist at Barclays, told Bloomberg.


“As economic growth is slowing to below 7.5%, the government policy’s focus is gradually shifting to stabilising growth.”


IGA accuses supermarket giants of inflating fuel discounts


Metcash chief executive Ian Morrice has accused Coles and Woolworths of inflating fuel prices to make their discounts appear more generous than they are, as consumer watchdog the ACCC investigates the practice.


Metcash, which supplies groceries to supermarkets under the IGA banner, says the big supermarkets’ practice of combining fuel with grocery discounts makes it more difficult for independent stores to compete.


“What we see as unfair about that is the price of petrol has been increasing and as that price of petrol increases then shortly afterwards a very large docket scheme gets put out there by the supermarkets,” Mr Morrice says.


“The coincidence between petrol prices going up and followed shortly after by very large discounts on fuel is at a time when they [Coles and Woolworths] own the fuel distribution and they own the supermarkets – that’s the issue.”


Myer chief says high labour costs to blame for struggling retailers


Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes has blamed high wages for Australian retail’s current troubles, during a speech to the Australian Retail Association’s annual Australian Retail Awards in Melbourne.


“[Top Shop or River Island merchandise is] picked out of a distribution centre in Birmingham at £4.30 ($7) an hour, and we’re trying to get that same product picked at a distribution centre in Altona at $27 an hour, and if it’s after hours in-store, it’s $40 to $50 an hour,” Brookes says.


“When we open on Anzac Day, I think the cheapest person is $62 an hour because of the penalty rates. We ain’t world-competitive, and we ain’t got a chance of being world-competitive.”




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.14% to 15567.74. The Aussie dollar is down to US92.93 cents.


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