Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Egypt backslides, the BBC reboots, Facebook Instagrams ads

November 22, 2012
November 22, 2012

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Black Friday madness for US retailers. More than 80 million Americans will go shopping on Friday, and YouTube will fill with videos of them rioting in order to get the best deals. Legend has it that strong sales on Black Friday predict shopping patterns for the entire North American holiday season, but that’s apparently not the case. Retail analysts are cautiously optimistic that this year’s holiday retail sales, which account for a fifth of annual sales in the US, will increase 3.5%, compared to a 20-year average of 3.8%. It appears the “arms race” over deals on Black Friday may even be suppressing sales later in the month.

US markets close early, putting liquidity pressure on trading. Markets in the US took Thursday off and have a truncated Friday, closing at 1pm, which means stocks could move quickly in response to news during the hours that markets are open. Research suggests optimism around holidays means stocks trend upward the days immediately before and after Thanksgiving.

Mexico’s unemployment rate released. Last month, Mexico’s unemployment fell to a four year low of 4.7%, but early numbers for the country’s third quarter GDP weren’t promising, as the country’s economy slows due to weak demand for manufacturing of goods destined for the US.

Heads of Europe’s finance industry to discuss the future of pretty much everything. On the agenda for Frankfurt’s European Banking Conference, which will include everyone from Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, to CNN financial talking head Todd Benjamin, is a “rethinking” of banking, investment, money and economic/social policy.

While you were sleeping

Will Egypt’s president become a new dictator for life? Mohammed Morsi has assumed sweeping powers designed to end the power struggle with the military authorities of the old regime, which had tried to clip his wings after the Muslim Brotherhood leader was elected president earlier this year. But liberal democrats are worried. “Morsi today usurped all state powers and appointed himself Egypt’s new pharaoh,” said opposition leader Mohammed El Baradei.

China’s real economy on the march. At least one economist says the data confirm his judgement that growth in China will expand from 7.4% in the third quarter to 8.4% in the fourth.

Which leads to a strengthening of the euro. European stocks rallied on the good news from China.

At EU budget talks, “A big fuss over nothing.” That’s how some have described today’s fight between the UK and the rest of Europe over pay and perks for Eurocrats. The next couple of days of negotiations could be “hard fought and particularly acrimonious.”

An embattled BBC gets a new captain. The last BBC chief executive resigned after just 54 days on the job; hopefully, new director Tony Hall, who is being promoted from head of news, will last a bit longer.

Judge orders Apple to pull back the curtain for Samsung. Details of Apple’s ten-year licensing deal with HTC, the Taiwanese manufacturer of smartphones and tablets, must be disclosed to Samsung, says a judge. The disclosure happens in the midst of a patent dispute in which Apple is requesting that eight Samsung smartphone models and one tablet be banned from the US.

Has Facebook finally figured out mobile? Maybe you noticed that email from Facebook, about changes to its terms of service. (One wonders: Do all 1 billion users receive the same note?) Reading between the lines, it seems that Facebook may be leveraging its $715 million acquisition of photo-sharing app Instagram to finally do something interesting with mobile advertising.

Quartz obsession interlude

If you think a dishwasher is a mark of the good life, think again: All over the world, members of the rising middle class are doing without the contraptions, reports Quartz’s Lily Kuo. “In India, less than 1% of households own dishwashers mostly because families wealthy enough to afford the appliance just pay maids to do the dishes by hand. […] In 2010, Brazil, Russia, India and China together accounted for 42% of sales of laundry appliances but only 2% of unit sales of dishwashers.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Why can’t India feed its people? In the world’s largest democracy, malnutrition persists. First-class reporting on this troubling issue.

China’s no-win economic future. Senior economic advisor to UBS, George Magnus, argues that China can’t help but fly off an investment cliff.

Europe’s dark finish to 2012. Europe will contract in the fourth quarter faster than at any point since 2009, says a survey of euro-zone manufacturing.

All week long, we were paying attention to the wrong war. The Gaza-Israel flare-up is unlikely to change anything, but the bloody conflict in the Congo could “redraw the map of Africa.”

Surprising discoveries

Mexico’s drug war never looked so good. This is the best-designed cartographic exploration of Mexico’s cartels and the drugs they ship you’re likely to ever to see.

Mobile brings the web into stores. 72% of consumers aged 20-40 in US and UK will use mobile devices to compare prices before they even leave the store, and 24 other things you didn’t know about the mobile takeover of retail.

Everything you need to know about China’s new “first lady.” The wife of China’s new Paramount Leader is a glamorous pop singer who is set to break the mold for the usually invisible wives of the country’s leaders.

Bizarre buildings. China’s increasingly ostentatious architecture is by turns wonderful and tacky.

Best wishes from Quartz for a productive day. Please send any news, queries, insights into the political situation in Egypt or pictures of funny buildings to hi@qz.com or hit “Reply” to this email.

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