Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—G20 talks, GM profits, Dropbox IPO, teeth and grammar

February 14, 2013
February 14, 2013

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

G20 finance ministers meet in Moscow. No one is expected to make a big stir over this whole currency wars unpleasantness.

UK retail sales may have bounced a bit in January. But only after a pretty terrible fourth quarter.

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius appears in court. The South African double amputee nicknamed the “Blade Runner,” the toast of last year’s London games, is accused of killing his girlfriend.

Did US industrial production keep up its momentum? Figures for January will show whether December, when production hit its highest level in more than four years, was just a blip.

An asteroid flies by. Space rock 2012 DA14 will pass closer to Earth than some satellites. From parts of Asia and Australia, it will be visible in the small hours of Saturday morning with a telescope. Also: it’s probably not worth $195 billion.

While you were sleeping

The euro-zone recession deepened. The 17-nation bloc’s economy contracted for the third quarter in a row, by 0.6%, as did Germany, the largest euro economy.

Shirakawa defended the drop of the yen. The Bank of Japan’s outgoing governor said the bank is merely trying to support domestic growth. And it needs it; fresh data showed Japan mired in recession in the fourth quarter.

General Motors is still going strong, despite Europe. The US auto giant posted profits in 2012 for the third straight year after its 2009 bankruptcy. And that was despite its exposure to Europe, where its losses were double those in 2011.

Nestlé slowed and expects to slow more. Though pet care products and frozen food sales in North America helped push the company to an $11.55 billion profit in 2012, Europe was weak, and sales growth in emerging markets, where Nestlé has 40% of its business, is slowing; this year, said the CEO, will be “challenging.”

Rio Tinto posted its largest ever net loss. The mining behemoth lost almost $3 billion in 2012. It plans to start swinging the axe on costs and selling unprofitable assets.

Indian inflation fell sharply. Surprisingly sharply, opening the door for the central bank to cut rates, which would be good news for an economy that has been rapidly losing steam.

The new, bigger American Airlines. The company will keep its name after merging with US Airways. The two airlines had pretty limited overlap on routes, which should help the deal pass regulatory muster.

Dropbox could be the next big tech IPO. The cloud-based file storage company is talking to banks, sources tell Quartz’s Gina Chon. It would have to defeat the skepticism about tech stocks since Facebook’s botched offering last year.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims explains why BlackBerry is doomed, even in its stronghold of corporate clients. “If BlackBerry is losing customers in enterprise and hasn’t created something compelling enough to lure ordinary consumers, what has the company got left? I’ll tell you: Revenue propped up by a dwindling supply of subscribers in the developing world, who are in the middle of a mass exodus to cheaper Android phones. It’s not time to stick a fork in Blackberry just yet, but as a business, it appears to be doing little more than coasting on its own momentum.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

There’s everything to like about raising the minimum wage.

The US should let China buy more of its companies.

Complex models don’t kill financial systems; people do.

Fat Americans need the option of smaller-sized servings.

Surprising discoveries

There’s a 30% chance of an asteroid hitting Earth this century with the force of 700 Hiroshima bombs.

Canadian high schoolers sometimes “feel like crying.

In Singapore, there’s a boom in penny stock trading.

Teeth and grammar are the most important qualities in a potential date

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, asteroid predictions and smaller menu options to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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