Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—BoE forecasts, growth slows in Europe and Japan, airline merger cleared, an iceberg the size of Singapore

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What to watch for today

The Bank of England’s state of play. After October’s inflation fell to a one-year low of 2.2% yesterday, 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 is expected to fall 0.4% in the third quarter compared to 0.7% growth in the second, dragged down by weak industrial activity. 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 a 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’s sales 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 crucial holiday period.

Boeing workers vote on a new labor contract. The aircraft maker’s biggest union has pledged to reject the deal, which could lead to losing out on building the company’s next jet, the 777X.

While you were sleeping

Starbucks is ordered to pay $2.76 billion in a distribution dispute. The company will shell out the money to Mondelez International Inc., formerly known as Kraft Foods Inc., over how its coffee products are delivered to food retailers.

Yum’s China sales dropped less than expected. Yum! Brands Inc., which owns KFC, saw its October same-store sales in the country decline 5%, a smaller drop than expected as the company grapples with stiffer competition from local chains.

Airline mega-merger gets a green light. The US Justice Department okayed the $11 billion tie-up between American Airlines and US Airways, which will create the world’s biggest airline, conditional on the company 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 President Benigno Aquino. The UN says more than 11 million people have been affected.

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. A partnership with Alibaba has paid off, allowing Sina to pull in more ad revenue.

A 1969 Francis Bacon triptych sold for $142.4 million. In what appears to be the biggest ever sale of an artwork at auction, a consortium of investors bought “Three Studies of Lucian Freud,” paying more than the price tag for Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”

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

Financial innovation is depressing. The fresh ideas swirling around Wall Street are less than inspiring.

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

Young adults should take their parents to work. It would probably help their burgeoning careers.

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

Surprising discoveries

Occupy Wall Street’s return on investment. The group spent $400,000 to retire $15 million worth of consumer debt.

Researchers are tracking a huge Antarctic iceberg. The Singapore-size chunk of ice is on the move and could pose a risk to vessels if it enters shipping lanes.

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

What does the fox read? 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, iceberg sightings, and Springsteen miracles to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.


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