Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Brazil rates, Israel elections, in-flight calls

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Possible Brazil interest-rate easing. Will policymakers further slash the benchmark rate to a record low as Brazil’s once-hot economy stalls, or will rising inflation concerns keep their fingers off the button?

The Beige Book read on the US economy. Look for signs in the Federal Reserve’s report of ongoing strength in housing. On the other hand, keep your eye out for signs that businesses are battening down the hatches in case the economy goes over the fiscal cliff.


US multinationals gave a mixed reading on the state of the global economy and China slowdown. Aluminum maker Alcoa reported stronger quarterly profits than expected, but cited “challenging market conditions,” and cut its forecast for aluminum demand growth for 2012 from 7% to 6%. The Yum Brands restaurant company raised its 2012 outlook, as quarterly sales in China increased 6%. US engine maker Cummins lowered its 2012 targets, citing increasing global economic uncertainty and weakening demand in China.

The IMF warned of growing risks to global financial stability. European policymakers’ slow progress in stabilizing the euro zone is stalling the global economy, the IMF warned in a semi-annual report released Tuesday, adding that ”confidence in the global financial system has become very fragile.” The IMF cut its global growth forecast to 3.3% ahead of meetings in Tokyo later this week.

Greeks greeted Merkel peace mission with protests.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel made her first visit to Greece since the start of the debt crisis—meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in an effort to show global markets a unified face. But Greeks had other plans, with tens of thousands of protestors taking to the streets amid tear gas to protest EU austerity measures that they see Merkel as driving.

Israel called early elections. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered elections moved up to early 2013, likely consolidating his current position amid a shortened campaign against a fractured, multi-party opposition. Though only 35% of Israelis believe that Netanyahu is best suited to be prime minister, according to a recent Haaretz poll, the next most popular candidate nets less than half as much support.


Matt Phillips on the China Slowdown: “Reading the tea leaves of Chinese monetary policy is never easy. But analysts argue that the People’s Bank of China is in the midst of a significant change in the tools it uses to tighten or loosen money.” Read more here.


Airlines should allow in-flight cell phone calls. Some do via satellite connections, though it’s forbidden in US airspace.

Syria and Turkey are headed toward war. It could happen even if neither country wants it.

Silicon Valley coders write bad software. And it’s because they’re bad writers.


There’s a business in financial astrology. And according to it, the Federal Reserve’s horoscope is ominous.

UK universities are tapping the bond market for funding. Amid cuts in government grants, Cambridge University considers leveraging up to attract students.

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