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Quartz Daily Brief — Europe Edition– Chinese consumers, mining deals, maternity leave

By Kevin J. Delaney

GOOD MORNING QUARTZ READERS IN EUROPE, THE MIDDLE EAST, AND AFRICA!

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR TODAY:

A new twist in the debate between Germany and Spain. After weeks of debate, Spain is ready to ask for a bailout from the European Central Bank, Reuters reported, but German officials caution patience: They hope that Spain’s new austerity program will allow it to avoid a formal rescue.

“The biggest opportunity in the history of man.” 3,800% growth in Chinese consumer spending will create a $10 trillion market for scrambling multinationals. Despite the slowdown, those who can are still making showy purchases. During Golden Week, China’s national holiday, wealthy citizens have been gifting each other traditional mooncake snacks made of gold and silver.

Australia’s central bank will announce its interest rate decision. Moderate easing expected

Australian miner Arrium may warm to a AU$1 billion takeover offer by Korea’s Posco.  The bid of AU$0.75 per share was rejected. But Arrium shares, while up, have not exceeded the offer price. Falling Chinese demand has depressed metals prices. Analysts’ views on what Arrium is worth are mixed. Australian mutual funds, known as “super funds,” may be happy to sell.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

Years after the Bear Stearns debacle, a new suit was brought on the firm’s mortgage deals. More than four years after rotting mortgage assets at investment bank Bear Stearns prompted government officials to engineer an acquisition of the firm by JP Morgan Chase, a Federal mortgage task force is suing the bank, alleging “a broad pattern of misconduct in the packaging and sale of mortgage securities during the housing boom.”

Australian courts said miners can disclose almost-there China deals. In a landmark ruling, Australia’s High Court said Andrew Forrest, the iron ore billionaire nicknamed Twiggy, did not mislead investors when he announced a deal with China that was not quite legally binding. China’s legal system and understanding of contracts is completely different to Australia’s, so Oz diggers have struggled with what to disclose and when.

Savvy China watchers know to watch iron prices to check in on the country’s economic slowdown.

Japanese iPhone seller buys rival. Softbank (which is really a mobile phone company) will spend US$2.5 billion on smaller rival EAccess. It wants more bandwidth capacity to support iPhone 5 users.  Goldman Sachs is EAccess’s biggest shareholder.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE:

Stephanie Gruner Buckley tracks the European financial crisis: “It’s been a tense few weeks in Greece. While politicians wrangled, police officers, military personnel, and judges walked off their jobs to protest the cuts. Protests turned violent amid general strikes that had shuttered businesses and public services. This week doctors, lawyers, and plumbers—self-employed workers targeted by new measures—are expected to join the fray. Without further aid, Greece risks defaulting on its debt, being expelled from the euro zone, and suffering swift economic collapse. This isn’t going to happen, suggested stories in the German press this past weekend. European leaders, concerned about a domino-effect that could result from such an exit, will overlook budget shortfalls and the slow pace of reforms, and get Greece its money.” Read more here.

MATTERS OF DEBATE:

Hey, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, it’s okay to go back to work right after having a baby. After all, I did.

It’s time for India to start buying robots.  To compete with China, the country will need automated assembly lines, not cheaper labor.

Related: Kenneth Rogoff still believes that technology’s benefits are broadly shared.

Ride the iron road from Scotland to Singapore: Parag Khanna traces the railroads creating new economic links between Europe and his favorite semi-authoritarian state.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES:

A genetically engineered cow that produces anti-allergy milk. Finally, some long-awaited innovation in the milk sector.

Why billionaires are so whiny

Zuckerberg owns a tie! The Facebook CEO won’t wear it for the investors, but Dmitry Medvedev, the noted-fashion plate and Russian prime minister, merits more formal attire.

ALSO TODAY: British 10-year bonds and housing prices are released, and later in the day, US automobile sales. On this day in 1859, Gandhi was born.

Best wishes from Quartz for a productive day. Please send any news, queries, requests for new kinds of genetically engineered milk, and cheeky takeover bids to hi@qz.com.

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