What to watch for today
Japan stands pat? With core inflation picking up, the Bank of Japan is likely to leave rates unchanged and continue its ¥7 trillion ($72 billion) per month bond purchases. Earlier in the day the Bank of Korea left its seven day repurchase rate at 2.5%.
A Greek-US summit. Prime minister Antonis Samaras will hold wide-ranging talks with Barack Obama in Washington. The IMF claims that a chunk of Greece’s debt will have to be written off due to a $11 billon black hole in its finances.
Earnings gloom. Nestle, the world’s largest food group, is expected to report a 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 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
Panda beats bears. China’s July exports rose 5.1% from a year earlier and imports jumped 10.9%, beating most estimates and resulting in a $17.8 billion trade surplus.
Australia lost 10,200 jobs. Employers cut payrolls as weaker demand ate into orders, posing a challenge to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as he prepares for September election. The jobless rate remained at 5.7% as fewer people sought work.
US-Russia ties deteriorated… President Obama canceled a scheduled 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.
…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 Moscow stops supporting the Assad regime.
Hilton checks back in. The hotel group was taken private by Blackstone in 2007 for over $18 billion plus debt, and after substantial restructuring it has hired four banks in preparation for an upcoming IPO.
FInancial firms in the crosshairs. The US Justice Department is conducting parallel civil and criminal investigations into mortgage-backed securities issued by JP Morgan. Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission is scrutinizing how Standard & Poor’s rated a commercial mortgage bond, in a probe that 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 coup 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 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
Trouble in Yemen could delay the closure of Guantanamo. Releasing the prison’s Yemeni in-mates is becoming riskier.
Russia’s Olympics will be like 1936. Putin is persecuting and “making scapegoats of gay people, just as Hitler did Jews.”
Australia’s luck is running out. Its leaders are about to find out how hard things can be when you can’t just rely on natural resources.
Bo Xilai’s trial exposes the truth about China by debunking myths about harmony among the elite.
China won’t suffer an economic slowdown. Its poorest regions will support its growth rate.
Something fishy on the N train. A dead shark was found on the New York subway, bound for Queens.
Dial 9 for terror. Imagining the Al Qaeda conference call.
Only 19 of the top 500 American CEOs actively use Twitter. 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.