Businesses in England said £5bn in pandemic restart grants had not arrived in time to safety-proof their premises Construction of new homes in the US in March grew at its quickest pace since 2006 Australia reported its first death from blood clots “likely to be linked” with the AstraZeneca vaccine
Get the latest worldwide picture with our vaccine tracker Total doses given: 844.0m
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China’s growing economic strength is also helping western companies, especially in high-end sectors, mitigate some of the disastrous effects of the pandemic. LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury goods company, reported strong demand from Chinese consumers for its brands, including Dior and Louis Vuitton, helping offset the loss felt by the lack of free-spending Chinese visitors to its boutiques in Europe as international travel all but dried up. L’Oréal, the world’s biggest cosmetics company, enjoyed a similar boost from sales in China, now its second-largest market after the US. The Chinese love of Mercedes-Benz cars also helped first-quarter results at Daimler. There is evidence that momentum is slowing — quarter-on-quarter growth was just 0.6 per cent — and the IMF has pointed out that the country’s economy will still bear some permanent scarring from the coronavirus pandemic. Still, the recovery has been much quicker than those of China’s peers, thanks to its success in containing coronavirus and a period of intense industrial production, which jumped 24.5 per cent in the quarter. Global trade is booming while household consumption and retail sales are also buoyant.
China’s record first-quarter growth figures of 18.3 per cent, announced this morning, come as welcome news for a government busily preparing for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist party in July. For up-to-the-minute coronavirus updates, visit our live blog
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