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Morning business round-up: IMF chief resigns

What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

There has been intense speculation over who might be the next head of the IMF since the resignation of IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

More names are being added to the list of possible candidates and there is a debate over whether the job will go to a developing country.

Japan's economy has fallen back into recession, its latest growth figures have shown.

Gross domestic product shrank 0.9% in the first three months of the year, the Cabinet office said, as a result of the impact of March's earthquake and tsunami.

The figures mean that Japan's economy has now contracted for two quarters in succession.

Meanwhile, Singapore raised its growth forecast thanks to strong growth in manufacturing at the start of year.

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 8.3% in the first quarter compared to the same period a year earlier, the Trade and Industry Ministry said.

The government said it now expected growth of between 5% and 7% this year, 1 percentage point higher than its previous forecast.

Japan's largest drugmaker Takeda has agreed to buy Swiss drugmaker Nycomed, for 9.6bn euros ($13.7bn; £8.5bn).

Conditional trading in shares of commodity giant Glencore has begun in London.

The shares were priced at 530p each, valuing the company at £36.7bn. The shares rose when trading started.

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The extra public holiday that resulted from the royal wedding helped to boost UK retail sales in April.

The warm weather also a factor behind the 1.1% rise in sales recorded last month.

Our Business Daily podcast today has a special programme on the history of economics. Michael Blastland looks at the mysteries of human behaviour, asking if our sympathies and mood swings can do more to explain our economic fortunes than the apparent logic of economic law.

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