Chinese economy slows, but future looks brighter

Growth in the Chinese economy slowed to 6.7 percent over the first quarter of the year, its slowest rate since 2009.

However, other figures from the Chinese government suggest stimulating measures may be beginning to have an effect. New debt seems to be prompting a recovery in factory activity, investment and household spending after Chinese banks extended 1.37 trillion yuan in net new yuan loans in March, nearly double the previous month’s lending.

Investment in industrial assets and infrastructure jumped 10.7 percent on the same period last year, with household spending also increasing.

Volkswagen sales hit by scandal

It seems that Volkswagen have failed to counter the negative image produced by its emissions scandal, seeing demand for its branded motors fall by 1.6 percent in March.

Despite European car sales rising by 5.7% over the last month, Volkswagen’s brands, including mass-market Skoda and up-market Audi, accounted for 23.4 percent of new registrations in the three months ended March versus 24.4 percent.

However, the German company did see some growth, with European sales for the entire group rising by 2.3 percent.

Volkswagen (ETR:VOW) shares have fallen a further 1.75 percent on the news, to 126.05 (1001GMT).

Major changes set to split up IKEA

Major changes are due to be made to the structure of Swedish furniture company IKEA, splitting up the company in order to manage its increasing growth.

IKEA are set to transfer ownership of some operating parts of the company to the smaller firm who owns the IKEA brand. Inter IKEA will now take control of design, manufacturing and logistics, massively increasing its role and fundamentally changing the way IKEA is organised.

Some critics say this will hinder the traditionally smooth operation of the furniture company, who have been running in this way for the past 30 years and become a household name in the process.