Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Manufacturing data, Argentine arrears, Korean stand-off, airline toilets

March 31, 2013
March 31, 2013

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

A big week for the global economy begins. Surveys getting at the pulse of the Asian, European, South American, and US manufacturing sectors all come out today.

A new, tougher regulator for Britain’s banks. The Financial Conduct Authority takes over from the Financial Services Authority. Post-Libor, post-crisis, the FCA seems set on being both more aggressive in pursuing malfeasance and more inventive about how to find it.

Will Argentina head for default? The country is in a standoff with a US court that ordered it to pay the full $1.3 billion it owes to a subset of its bondholders. With an instalment of the money due on Sunday, Argentina could end up in arrears today unless there’s a last-minute compromise.

It’s April Fool’s Day. And also, thanks to Easter, a holiday in much of Europe.

Over the weekend

More bad news from Italy’s oldest bank. Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena has quietly admitted that customers have pulled out “a few billion euros” in deposits in the wake of awful fourth-quarter results and an ongoing fraud investigation.

More fighting talk from North Korea. The US pledged more shows of force (paywall) after North Korea threatened to start a nuclear war. But there are some good reasons not to worry, at least not too much.

Kenya’s presidential election was decided. Uhuru Kenyatta, who faces charges of crimes against humanity at the Hague, had his election validated by Kenya’s highest court. Supporters of his defeated opponent, Raila Odinga, took to the streets.

The man who could be India’s prime minister. Narendra Modi, chief minister of the state of Gujarat, was appointed to the top leadership body of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party—a sign that he may be the party’s nominee for PM in the upcoming election.

A vote of no confidence in the euro. IMF data showed that emerging-market central banks have been dumping the euro (paywall) from their reserves, cutting their collective holdings by 8%.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on the one reason a Facebook phone, due to be unveiled this week, might make sense: “Facebook, with its experience in making customized Android phones and its many deep connections with carriers in emerging markets, will be perfectly positioned to start offering customers an all-in-one text, calling and social networking experience that could make sense in a way that it doesn’t, presently, in rich countries.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Can China’s Lenovo beat Apple? Close, but no cigar.

Trouble in Egypt, thanks to currency shortages. As food prices skyrocket and big cities experience electrical blackouts, economists say there’s a shortage of hard currency.

Be sceptical when big executives take pay cuts. They’re not as painful as they sometimes seem.

Is there a real-estate bubble in Brazil? It has the fastest-rising housing prices in the world. 

Surprising discoveries

Protesting a Google Doodle. Some Americans wanted bunnies or Jesus on Google’s homepage on Easter Sunday, not labor hero Cesar Chavez.

No one really needed Cyprus. There are plenty of other tax havens.

The Senate barbershop where you can get “the John Kerry.” 

Procurement fights over the best airline toilet. It takes top tech to stand up to passengers who flush dentures, underwear, and blankets (paywall).

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, weird things found in airline toilets, and your funniest April Fool’s pranks to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

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