July 14, 2013 6:40 PM
China's reform-minded leaders are more willing than ever to raise the pain threshold for the economy to push through long-term reforms, despite a protracted slowdown that has sparked calls for looser monetary policy. Grim trade data for June last week fanned market talk of fresh steps to support an economy heading for its weakest growth this year in more than two decades. French President Francois Hollande said Europe's second-largest economy was recovering and tried to fight deepening pessimism in an interview, two days after ratings agency Fitch stripped the country of its last top-notch credit rating. Stung by leftover-inventory because of a wet, cold spring and unsure about consumer-spending, many retailers are ordering conservatively for the second busiest selling season of the year behind the end of the year holiday-period, according to executives in shipping, banking and manufacturing.