Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Japan rates, China exports, BoE’s pledge, dolphin memory

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What to watch for today

Korea and Japan stay the course. With core inflation picking up, the Bank of Japan is likely to leave rates unchanged and continue the ¥7 trillion ($72 billion) per month bond purchases. Korea’s central bank too is expected to keep interest rates unchanged.

Will China’s exports bounce back? Economists expect exports to have gone back to growing in July after a weak set of trade data in June stoked fears about a slowing economy.

A Greek-US summit. Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras will hold wide-ranging talks with Barack Obama in Washington. The IMF’s claim that a chunk of Greece’s debt will have to be written off due to a $11 billon black hole in its finances is likely to figure prominently in the talks.

Earnings gloom. The world’s largest food group, Nestle, is expected to report weak first half due to sluggish sales in Europe and emerging markets.  Mining major Rio Tinto is set to report weaker profit margins due to lower prices, especially of iron ore. T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom and Adidas will also report numbers.

More tension in Egypt. The interim government signaled that it was preparing to take action against supporters of ousted president Mohamed Mursi gathered at two protest camps in Cairo, after foreign mediation failed.

Eid Mubarak! Ramadan ends in most of the world. Including in Saudi Arabia, where there was briefly alarm that the Muslim holy month, whose dates depend on sightings of the moon, might have been a day too short. 

While you were sleeping

The Bank of England made a promise. New governor Mark Carney pledged to keep interest rates at historic lows till unemployment falls to 7%. Carney pioneered such “forward guidance” as a policy tool in 2009 during his stint at Canada’s central bank, and the Fed and the European Central Bank later adopted it.

US-Russia ties deteriorated… President Obama canceled a bilateral meeting with president Vladimir Putin set to be held in Moscow next month, following Russia’s decision to grant asylum to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Relations had already soured over Russia’s support for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

…while the Saudis tried to patch things up. Saudi Arabia will reportedly offer the Kremlin incentives, including a $15 billion arms deal and a pledge to not challenge Russian gas sales, if Russia stops supporting the Assad regime.

The SEC trained its guns on Standard & Poor’s. The rating agency is reportedly facing scrutiny from the US Securities and Exchange Commission for how it rated a commercial mortgage bond in 2011. The probe goes beyond a lawsuit that the Justice Department filed against S&P in February.

Quartz obsession interlude

Adam Pasick on why Apple’s program of exchanging fake chargers for real ones is a PR master-stroke that may even boost its bottom line. “In a single stroke, Apple has inoculated itself from blame if any further third-party chargers disastrously melt down—as the shoddy, cheaply manufactured fakes are prone to do. If it had chosen to do nothing, it would have eventually faced some uncomfortable questions, like: “How many more people have to die because Apple sells overpriced chargers?” By offering to take back any and all third-party chargers, even those made by legitimate accessories companies like Belkin and Griffin, Apple is cementing its own super-premium-priced chargers as the gold standard.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

China won’t suffer an economic slowdown. Its poorest regions will support its growth rate.

Why the West is so worried about al-Qaeda in Yemen. It has both technical skills and global reach, and is loyal to the leadership hiding in Pakistan.

Think Europe is doing better? Look at Italy. The vast public debt, anemic growth and aging population will be a daunting challenge.

How to get India growing again. There needs to be more investment rather than stimulating demand through more spending.

Who needs managers? How small startups that disdain hierarchy cope without them (paywall).

Surprising discoveries

Only 19 of the top 500 American CEOs use Twitter actively. And 68% of them aren’t on any social network whatsoever.

Global warming could last 200,000 years. Climate change could accelerate faster and last longer than previously thought.

If your kids are troublemakers, it might be a good sign. A study shows that entrepreneurs are more likely to have been difficult as teenagers.

A PC with a bad sense of humor. Scientists in the UK have developed a computer that writes sexist jokes.

Dolphins have amazing memories. Signature whistles help them identify friends they haven’t seen in 20 years.

Vacations aren’t all that refreshing. The measurable benefits are small and even those wear off in less than a month.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, climate-change predictions, and entrepreneurs’ rap sheets  to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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