Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—BoE forecasts, airline merger, smartphoneomics, Springsteen theology

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What to watch for today

Positive noises from the Bank of England. After October’s inflation fell to a one-year low of 2.2% yesterday—not much above the 2% target—the central bank is expected to lower its near-term inflation forecasts. It may also predict a faster drop in unemployment, one of its key criteria for tightening monetary policy.

Economic growth slows in Europe… German GDP growth is expected to fall from to 0.4% in the third quarter from 0.7% in the second, dragged down by weak industry. France, whose credit rating was downgraded last week, could slow to 0.1% from 0.5%, and the euro zone as a whole to 0.1% from 0.3%.

…and in Japan, too. Japan’s growth likely slowed in the second quarter, thanks to weaker private spending and an expected decline in exports. The Bank of Japan has been bullish about the country’s growth, so a slowdown could affect plans to raise the sales tax from April 2014.

Better results for Macy’s. The US retail chain said sales in its last quarter were dragged down by sluggish consumers, but should pick up in the back-to-school season. Macy’s could also outline its expectations for the holiday period, traditionally crucial for retailers.

While you were sleeping

The airline mega-merger got a green light. The US Justice Department okayed the $11 billion tie-up between American Airlines and US Airways, which will make the world’s biggest airline with 1,500 aircraft and $39 billion in revenues, conditional on the company’s selling some landing slots. The deal is still subject to court approval and faces opposition from other airlines.

The Philippines scaled back its death toll. The number killed by Typhoon Haiyan over the weekend is likely nearer to 2,500, not the 10,000 reported over the weekend, according to the country’s president, Benigno Aquino. The UN says more than 11 million people are believed to have been affected.

Sberbank will slash its staff. The Russian state-owned bank, eastern Europe’s largest lender, is to cut 30,000 of its 250,000 jobs in the next five years and close 3,600 branches to boost profitability.

Sina beat its estimates. The online media company and owner of China’s biggest microblogging platform, Sina Weibo, more than doubled its third-quarter profit year-on-year, to $25.4 million. A partnership with Alibaba has paid off, allowing Sina to make more money off advertising on Weibo.

The EU agreed to cut spending. Negotiators in Brussels came to a deal over a stricter budget for the European Union, although some countries objected that the cuts weren’t deep enough. The budget will slash spending by about 6% and funnel more money into jobs, innovation and humanitarian aid.

Egypt ended its state of emergency. An Egyptian court ruled that the state of emergency imposed in August should end, two days before it was due to expire anyway. Authorities will no longer be allowed to arrest people or search homes without a warrant, and the 1am curfew will be lifted.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on the economics of selling expensive phones to rich people in poor countries. “It’s a kind of institutionalized haggling: Start with a ridiculously high number and then knock it down as demand falls. Indeed, newspapers are filled with advertisements for sales on smartphones. But even Apple, while keeping its sticker prices high to retain its image, must find ways to compete… It’s the high price that makes the phone desirable, but it’s the savings that move it off the shelves.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Airlines should have quiet flights. Now that airplanes are electronic-device-friendly zones, airlines should introduce “quiet flights.” Hey, it worked for trains. 

Brazil is going too far on internet security. The government’s plan to require all data on Brazilian citizens to be stored in Brazil will be costly for tech companies and bad for internet freedom (paywall).

Young adults should take their parents into work. It will probably help their careers.

Catholic school is good for girls. The academic benefits of single-sex schools have been proven, and they tend to cultivate strong female leaders.

Surprising discoveries

Is the mafia in Argentinian soccer? An organized crime syndicate is suspected of profiting from a stake in Angel Correa, one of the country’s star players.

Girls with guns. Hunting is on the decline in Japan, except among one group: women in their 20s and 30s.

Cures for jetlag. They include drinking alcohol, not drinking alcohol, and Viagra.

What the fox says. The viral YouTube video is being turned into a children’s book.

The religion of Bruce. Rutgers University is introducing a seminar on the theology of Springsteen lyrics.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, jetlag cures and sightings of Saint Bruce to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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