China allows biggest corporate bond default yet

BEIJING - Chinese leaders have allowed the country's biggest corporate bond default yet in a fresh sign of wrenching economic change as growth slows and Beijing gives market forces a bigger role.

China Shanshui Cement Group, a major cement producer, said it could not repay a 2 billion yuan ($315 million) debt due Thursday. The company said it had asked a court to appoint a liquidator to wind down its operations.

The default highlights the mounting pressure on Chinese heavy industry as Beijing cools an investment boom and shifts emphasis to consumer businesses.

Until last year, Beijing bailed out troubled borrowers. But the Communist Party allowed its first bond default last year and the number has grown as it tries to gives market forces a bigger role in the state-dominated economy.