Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—China’s dismal trade data, European bailout wrangling, Benanke-guessing, lunar national parks

July 10, 2013
July 10, 2013

What to watch for today

Who gets to control European bailouts? An EU commissioner for financial market regulation is expected to propose that the EU have sole control of bank bailouts (paywall) and restructuring in the euro zone, but Germany is against the idea on the grounds that it would violate member country treaties.

Ben Bernanke’s tea leaves scrutinized. Given the US Federal Reserve’s recent hints about tapering its asset purchases, all eyes will be on the chairman’s speech at the National Bureau of Economic Research conference. And also on minutes of the June 18-19 Fed meeting, released today.

Another rate hike in Brazil? The central bank is expected to raise benchmark rates by 50 basis points to 8.5% as part of its efforts to rein in inflation.

Smithfield’s CEO to face lawmakers. Larry Pope will appear before the Senate Agricultural Committee to answer questions about intellectual property and product safety in Smithfield’s $4.7 billion sale to the Chinese pork producer Shuanghui.

Yum! Brands having problems in China. The fast-food behemoth is likely to report a 19% drop in earnings and a 7.6% fall in sales in the second quarter. The key question is how badly the owner of Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut has been hit in China by bird flu and quality problems with its chicken suppliers.

Is Burberry still fashionable? The luxury fashion retailer is forecast to report a strong 6% increase in like-for-like sales. Keep an eye, too, on whether it bumps up its full-year sales target.

At last that saga’s over. Japan’s SoftBank expects to complete its $21.6 billion acquisition of US carrier Sprint Nextel after a messy, months-long bidding war. The deal got the clearance from US regulators last week.

While you were sleeping

China released atrocious trade figures. Exports fell 3.1% in June and imports were down by 0.7%, falling far short of analyst predictions. The data don’t bode well for next week’s Q2 GDP figures, which could fall short of the government’s 7.5% target.

A fresh start for Libor. Trans-Atlantic stock-exchange operator NYSE Euronext won the contract to administer the benchmark rate, the basis for $350 trillion worth of financial contracts, for the bargain rate of just $1.49 (not a typo). In fact, managing Libor is incredibly lucrative.

The IMF downgraded the global economy. The Fund forecast world GDP would grow 3.1% in 2013 and 3.8% in 2014, 0.2 percentage points lower than its forecast in April. The IMF said emerging markets are feeling the pain of the multi-speed recovery.

Egypt got an interim prime minister. Liberal economist Hazem el-Beblawy was offered the job—unlike Mohamed El-Baradei, he’s acceptable to all the parties. Elections will be held in six months, sooner than expected. Meanwhile, Gulf states pledged $8 billion in aid to help ease the current crisis.

Standard & Poor’s downgraded Italy. The ratings agency pushed Italy’s sovereign credit rating down to BBB, two levels above junk territory, and left it on negative outlook, meaning another downgrade could be imminent.

The man who led Fukushima’s meltdown battle has died. Masao Yoshida, who selflessly stayed to direct staff at the Japanese nuclear facility in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, succumbed to cancer at age 58. Fukushima’s operator claimed that radiation was not the cause.

Quartz obsession interlude

Steve LeVine on how carbon emissions are falling, but not because of worries about climate change. “In the US, CO2 emissions have fallen to 1994 levels, and president Barack Obama vows to cut them even further. But the main cause of the fall thus far has not been climate policy, but more efficient vehicles, less driving, and a shift to cheap natural gas in power plants… In both China and India, the main reason is financial—neither the governments nor companies can afford to keep subsidizing natural gas consumption.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Egypt’s aid should not be cut. If the US declares a coup took place and slashes billions in funding, it will only make things worse.

Strick regulations get the credit for Asiana’s low death toll. But that approach needs protecting.

The US is in a no-win position in Syria. Maybe it’s time to learn a few lessons from Russia.

China will create jobs in the US. Thanks to its surging import demand over the next five years.

In the office, ego is the enemy. Executives throw good money after bad investments because they don’t want to be seen as failures.

Surprising discoveries

Putin runs federally-guarded safe houses for his cronies to avoid the plebs. Apartments are $50 million each.

This side up. Upside-down parts may have caused Russia’s rocket crash.

US lawmakers want to establish a national park on the moon. Nobody trusts companies not to trash it.

Most rap musicians lie about their wealth. At least in their rap lyrics.

Legos by UNICEF. A proposal to package relief supplies inside giant stackable bricks.

Why toothpaste makes orange juice taste bad. The chemicals in toothpaste make the tongue more sensitive to bitter flavors.

Indians get the world’s highest pay rises. But most of them are eaten up by inflation.

What fun it is being in the Chinese military police! They train by playing video games and improve morale using “smile walls.”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Lego emergency shelters and favorite wealthy rap lies to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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