Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—US debt wrangling, BUD beer, Brazil rates, Brooks Brothers steakhouse

October 8, 2013
October 8, 2013

What to watch for today

Progress on a US debt deal. Maybe. Democrats in the US Senate are expected to introduce a bill this week that would give the president the power to raise America’s debt limit unless two-thirds of both chambers of Congress disapprove. President Barack Obama said he would negotiate with Republican lawmakers on budget issues, but only after they agree to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling.

Peak Brazilian interest rates. Brazil’s central bank is expected to raise the country’s base interest rate—already at 9.0%—by half a percentage point. Analysts say monetary tightening should end soon, given the country is nearing the politically unpalatable sphere of double-digit interest rates.

Indonesia’s central banker has a plan. The governor of Indonesia’s central bank said the bank would unveil a “macro-prudential policy” to help the emerging Asian economy deal with inflation, a slowing economy, and a sell-off of its government bonds.

Explaining from the Fed. The US Federal Reserve releases the minutes of its Sept. 17-18 policy meeting, where it decided not to start winding down stimulus measures, surprising investors. The minutes could shed light on what’s reportedly been a tense debate within the 19-person Fed decision-making group.

Any signs of an HP turn-around. At a Hewlett-Packard analyst meeting, investors will be looking for signs that CEO Meg Whitman can finally make good on promises to turn the tech company around, especially its enterprise division selling hardware, software and services to large businesses. HP’s stock has dropped 17% over the past three months.

Summits and meetings. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund’s annual meeting continues in Washington. Meanwhile, the ASEAN regional bloc holds a summit in Brunei in the wake of APEC’s just-finished summit

While you were sleeping

Emerging economies are dragging down the global economy. The IMF cut its forecast for global growth this year to 2.9% from a previous estimate of 3.2%. The culprits? Slower growth in India, Brazil and China.

The quarterly earnings season kicked off. Metals giant Alcoa exceeded analyst profit estimates thanks to cost-cutting, and despite a 3% decline in aluminum prices since  the end of June.

The name’s BUD. An Italian court has ordered Anheuser-Busch to stop selling its most popular beer under the name of Budweiser as part of a trademark fight with a Czech brewer. Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser brand will now be called BUD in Italy.

Brooks Brothers is getting into the steakhouse business. The oldest menswear retailer in the US is planning to open a large steakhouse in New York City by next summer.

GSK wants to sell the world’s first malaria vaccine. The British pharmaceutical giant says it is seeking approval to sell a malaria vaccine next year after trial tests reduced instances of the disease in African children.

Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is recovering after surgery to remove a blood clot close to her brain. The government will release a report on her health tomorrow.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on the market’s reaction to progress toward preventing a default on US debts. “The yield on some very-short-term Treasury-bills, normally the safest thing you can possibly own, has been shooting higher. The spike is mostly concentrated around Treasury bills that mature later this month and in early November, just as the US Treasury department will be running low on cash if the debt ceiling isn’t raised… The bond markets are sending a very bad signal about the prospects for any near-term solution to the US debt ceiling fight, and they may even be bracing for a worst-case outcome, such as a default.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

When exactly will the US run out of money? It could be Oct. 24 instead of Oct. 17.

A stock market crash is the best way to resolve the US debt ceiling crisis. A real crisis and total loss of confidence would push Washington to stop procrastinating. 

Weak leadership, not slowing economic growth, is the real threat to Asian economies

The best thing about Google’s new Chromebook is its charger. The newly announced laptop is charged via a micro-USB cable, which means you can use the same charger as for your phone, tablet or smart watch.

Wal-Mart could reduce poverty in America just by raising prices.

Surprising discoveries

What’s really killing all the bees? Too much stress, which could come from non-lethal doses of pesticides, poor nutrition and bad weather.

People in positions of higher status say “I” less frequently, according to new research.

Americans are dumber than average at math, vocabulary and technology.

We’re one step closer to nuclear fusion. Scientists at a lab in California claimed a breakthrough in harnessing fusion—the process that powers the sun and which could produce cheap energy. (Further progress will have to wait: workers at the National Ignition Facility are now on furlough because of the US government shutdown.)

Your sweet tooth is displacing poor people. By 2020, the world will consume 25% more sugar than it does now—demand that means more impoverished villagers in Africa, Asia and Latin America will be kicked off their land to make room for sugar cane.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, alternative names for Budweiser, and bee stress reduction techniques to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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