GOOD MORNING QUARTZ READERS IN EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST, AND AFRICA!
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR TODAY:
Is the Syrian civil war spreading? Turkey shelled Syria late yesterday after Syrian mortar shells struck Turkish border towns; Prime Minister Recep Erdogan promised that similar attacks would prompt retaliation. Turkey is a member of the NATO collective self-defense pact; representatives of the alliance from Europe and America issued a statement demanding that Syria end its violations of international law. Meanwhile, dozens died after explosions in Aleppo, Syria.
The European Union was in recession during the third quarter of 2012. The chief economist at Markit says shrinking business activity will continue through the end of the year.
Which sets the stage for the European Central Bank to announce its interest rate decision today in Frankfurt; no major change is expected but ECB chief Mario Draghi may offer more detail on his plans to purchase Eurozone sovereign debt and bailout Spain. In other Eurobarometers to watch: The Bank of England will also revisit its interest rates, and Spain will auction off two-, three- and five-year bonds.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
China’s services industry expands at lowest level in two years. Add it to the list: we’re seeing a slowdown in the PRC.
Good news for US economy: Employment, services and housing finance indicators came in expansionary flavors, suggesting that the Fed’s recent stimulus plan is having some effect. YUM.
The first of three US presidential candidate debates pitted incumbent Barack Obama against Republican standard bearer Mitt Romney. You may not care, but just in case, an assertive Romney jabbed at an tired president over taxes, budgets and social programs, making a good impression but little real impact.
Several Chinese banks say they’re skipping IMF meetings over island dispute with Japan. In case it’s not clear, this little dispute isn’t going away, but the move is probably counter to China’s hopes of becoming a bigger player on the international stage.
Oil prices fall to a two-month low. Production is growing fast, and competition with natural gas is also pushing down crude.
Hewlett-Packard’s market value slumped below its book value. The markets are predicting losses for HP, where CEO Meg Whitman’s turnaround project isn’t off the ground yet.
Portugal announced massive tax increases to save its bailout. If the problem is really “public backlash,” this won’t help.
QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE:
Christopher Mims on the mobile web: “As long as internet connectivity is fickle, Apple has an advantage. Its apps and content live on its phones, tablets and computers, where they are always available. All Apple’s cloud has to do is let you download new apps and content when connectivity is strongest, leaving Apple to concentrate on building pretty devices that work smoothly. But if Google is right and the future is ubiquitous internet connectivity, then Apple has a problem. More and more services will be moved on to the cloud, where Apple has yet to demonstrate any real expertise.” Read more here.
MATTERS OF DEBATE:
Demographics are behind China’s labor strife. A look at the people behind China’s industrialization.
Muslim anger as an investment strategy. Is the upside of Middle East protests economic growth?
America needs to become an alternate Asia—and fast. Why the US’s economic future depends on trans-Pacific immigrants.
Do overseas votes count? Yes.
“Entrepreneurs are still seen as drifters with nothing better to do”: Can a new generation shake off Japanese economic malaise?
Fanny Sit, Moses Chan, Dodo Cheng, Magnum, Bunny: Hong Kong loves unusual English names.
A bizarre, tiny dinosaur: Meet Pegomastax africanus, the “thick jaw from Africa.”
ALSO TODAY: The US Federal Reserve releases the minutes of its most recent meeting so we can catch all the laugh lines. In 2004, SpaceShipOne became the first privately-built spacecraft, winning the Ansar X PRIZE.
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