Eurozone growth rate doubles, ‘Gucci’ paper handbags and China’s robot revolution

GDP growth of 0.6% is double the rate of the previous quarter, while US economic growth slows to 0.5%

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Eurozone growth has exceeded economists’ expectations, growing 0.6 per cent quarter on quarter at the start of the year — its fastest quarterly pace since the same quarter in 2015 and a doubling of the growth rate at the end of last year. It is good news for European policymakers, who have been forced to ramp up stimulus measures to revive the economy.

In contrast, the US economy grew at its slowest pace in two years during the first three months of 2016, raising questions over the durability of its expansion at a time of global uncertainty. Gross domestic product growth of 0.5 per cent was less than half the rate set in the previous quarter due to tumbling corporate investment and lower exports. The numbers were also held back by a deceleration in consumer spending growth. (FT)

In the news

I am in forced exile: Vijay Mallya His passport has been revoked, there is a warrant out for his arrest and India’s foreign ministry has written to the UK government requesting his deportation — but the boisterous Indian beer and spirits tycoon has declared he is ready to settle hundreds of millions of pounds owed to banks after the collapse of his company, Kingfisher Airlines. (FT)

Germany eyes jobless migrant benefits ban The country is planning to ban EU migrants from most unemployment benefits for five years after their arrival, in a dramatic response to rightwing populist assaults on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s liberal immigration policies. (FT)

Carl Icahn sells all his Apple stock The billionaire investor, who was among the company’s largest outside shareholders, said he no longer held a position, citing concerns about China’s attitude towards the tech firm. (FT)

Comcast buys DreamWorks Animation The largest US cable TV provider has agreed to pay $3.8bn for the studio behind Shrek and Kung Fu Panda. (FT)

Taiwan chipmakers worried about brain drain The companies are facing an exodus of talent as they are squeezed by competition from Chinese competitors. (NAR)

Amazon delivers good quarter for investors Amazon reported its most profitable quarter to date on Thursday as sales beat expectations, with the subsequent 12 per cent rise in its share price valuing the group at almost $280bn. Sales for the quarter were $29bn, up 28 per cent from a year earlier, representing Amazon’s highest revenue growth in nearly four years. (FT)

Gucci cracks down on fakes for the dead The Italian brand is asking Hong Kong funeral shops to stop selling paper versions of the fashion house’s handbags to be burnt as offerings for those in the afterlife. (FT)

It’s a big day for

Iranian politics A run-off parliamentary election is to take place for 68 parliamentary seats following February’s general election. Results then showed allies of President Hassan Rouhani made big gains from the conservative Islamic establishment, but neither faction has a majority, meaning the run-offs will decide who controls the 290-seat parliament. (FT)

Food for thought

Obama weighs his economic legacy GDP is growing and unemployment is at 5 per cent — but many voters feel like the US never recovered from the financial crisis. The president has a theory about why. (NYT)

The bombing of MSF The Kunduz Trauma Center run by Médecins Sans Frontières in Afghanistan remained open throughout the battle for the city last year — until an American AC-130 gunship dropped a bomb on it. (The Intercept)

China’s robot revolution Across the country, factories are replacing humans with robots in a new automation-driven industrial revolution, the effects of which will be felt around the world. (FT)

Good reasons to buy gold Why did pirates wear gold earrings? So that when they came to a violent or disease-ridden end on a distant shore, they might stand a greater chance of getting a Christian burial, paid for by the jewellery on their body. That’s one historical nugget of a story from a London underground bullion store. (FT)

Can Hill thrill after you’ve felt the Bern? Hillary Clinton is on track to win the Democratic nomination but can she persuade wary supporters of rival Bernie Sanders to follow her? Sign up for our daily US politics newsletter here. (FT)

Trumpology: a masterclass A roundtable with five writers who have covered Donald Trump, and delved deep into his psyche. (Politico)

Video of the day

The US in three numbers US managing editor Gillian Tett explains the three figures that give an insight into the workings of the US economy. (FT)

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