What to watch for today
Biden arrives in China. As his tour through Asia continues, the US vice president will discuss economic matters with China’s leaders. But territorial issues may be more pressing given Beijing’s recently established air defense zone that comprises almost one million square miles of ocean.
Big banks face EU fines. EU authorities may fine six large banks billions of euros for allegedly colluding to rig Euribor, an interbank lending rate that, like its better-known (and equally scandal-ridden) cousin Libor, is a benchmark for massive amounts of securities.
More jobs in the US. A private-sector payroll survey will likely suggest 165,000 new jobs were created in November, from a particularly weak 130,000 in the previous month. While the official payroll figure on Friday is more important, today’s number will hint at whether employment is getting back on track.
FIFA executives talk tactics. Top dogs at world soccer’s governing body gather in Brazil ahead of Friday’s World Cup draw to discuss the humans-rights situation in Qatar, the host of the 2022 tournament, as well as a series of challenges in Brazil, from construction accidents to street protests.
OPEC meets in Austria. The cartel of countries that produce 40% of the world’s oil output holds its last meeting of the year in Vienna to discuss how to keep oil prices stable and rising, whether to change its production target of 30 million barrels a day, and how to cope with supply issues in the Middle East.
While you were sleeping
China’s services industry held steady. A private survey showed November’s PMI was 52.5, little changed from 52.6 in October, with numbers above 50 indicating expansion.
US senators cautioned on Huawei. Two influential lawmakers have expressed security concerns about the Chinese telecommunications firm building parts of Seoul’s next generation network. Vice President Biden visits South Korea later this week.
SpaceX launched a commercial satellite. The California-based private spaceflight company successfully launched a platform for satellite operator SES, aimed at expanding services for customers in Asia.
Australian growth disappointed. Gross domestic product expansion missed expectations, increasing a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in the three months to September compared to a revised 0.7% the previous quarter. The annual growth rate is now at 2.3%.
Detroit’s bankruptcy got approved. Four months after Detroit filed for bankruptcy, a federal judge approved the application, granting the debt-ridden city protection from its lenders in the largest public bankruptcy in US history. Now the city will explain how it plans to offload $18.5 billion in debt.
Yasser Arafat wasn’t poisoned. The former Palestinian leader died of natural causes, according to a leaked report from French scientists. A previous report said Arafat’s body contained polonium, seeming to support the theory that he had been poisoned in 2004.
Quartz obsession interlude
Gwynn Guilford on how more trade is now settled in yuan than in euros, but that doesn’t change much. “There’s a big difference between settling trade in yuan and using it for investment or as a reserve currency. The government has done little to open China’s capital account (more here). Small wonder. Doing so would risk a deluge of illicit outflows, driving up interest rates and probably crashing China’s already demand-sapped stock market. Letting the market set interest rates would likely bankrupt hundreds of state-owned companies. And to guarantee sufficient yuan liquidity, China would probably need to run a trade deficit, stunting growth.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
A secrets bill in Japan threatens journalists. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing a vaguely worded bill that could affect reporters and whistle-blowers.
Monetary policy no longer works. It’s trying to control too many variables with not enough tools.
AIDS can be eradicated. The obstacle is the continuing stigma and discrimination against AIDS patients, in rich countries as well as poor ones.
Graduating into a recession isn’t that bad. Because people have lower expectations of getting work, their long-term career satisfaction is higher.
China is cheating on educational rankings. China’s high marks in a recent international student assessment shouldn’t count because Chinese cities are being compared to entire countries.
Children may benefit from their mothers’ gastric bypasses. Kids born to women who’ve had the surgery may deal with sugars and fats in different ways thanks to epigenetic inheritance.
Why we love lists. These reasons aren’t written in list form, though.
How zombie infections spread. Data from horror movies show becoming a zombie is pretty much like getting the flu.
Korean kids aren’t happy. Pushy parents and strenuous schooling are good for test results but bad for morale.