What to watch for today
China’s manufacturing zooms ahead. The official purchasing managers’ index for manufacturing will likely hit an eight-month high. That, paired with the recent slight pickup in in GDP growth, suggests the government’s various stimulus measures are doing their bit to help.
A strong US jobs report. After adding 288,000 jobs last month, economists expect the US Bureau of Labor statistics to report 225,000 new jobs in July, which would make it the sixth consecutive month of gains above 200,000.
How long do we give the latest Gaza ceasefire? The US and UN say Hamas and Israel have agreed to an unconditional 72-hour ceasefire starting Friday morning. But Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has also called up 16,000 more reservists and vowed to get rid of Hamas’s tunnels, ceasefire or no ceasefire.
The clock starts ticking for Edward Snowden. The one-year visa Russia granted to the US intelligence whistleblower expired at midnight Moscow time Thursday. He has applied for permanent asylum; according to one report, he’ll have a decision within 30 days (link in Russian).
Start trading like a billionaire. The iBillionaire index launches—a new exchange-traded fund based on stock picks by some of the world’s richest investors, which they must disclose in US 13F filings. Of course, these filings are at least 45 days behind the markets, so you might not want to rely on them too heavily…
While you were sleeping
The last hope died for a global trade pact. Talks on a global standard for customs rules—which some projected could add 21 million jobs and $1 trillion to the world economy—collapsed after India vetoed the deal. It wanted more leeway to stockpile and subsidize food for its poor than the WTO was willing to give.
The euro zone flirted with deflation. Inflation unexpectedly fell to 0.4%, the lowest level in five years, reigniting the question of whether the European Central Bank—which cut its main interest rate to a record low last month—will take unorthodox measures to stimulate the economy, like Fed-style quantitative easing.
Argentina’s default spooked the markets. The Dow and S&P dropped for the first time since January, with the Dow plunging over 300 points, hitting a two-month low. The S&P index and Nasdaq dropped 2%. European markets fell too, though more for reasons closer to home.
A series of gas explosions rocketed Taiwan. Blasts caused by ruptured gas pipelines killed at least 15 people (paywall) and injured over 200 in Kaohsiung, a southern city in Taiwan. Before the explosion, smoke with a “gas-like smell” was seen coming out of drains in the streets.
The world got more serious about Ebola. Liberia closed schools and sent public servants home, and Sierra Leone declared a state of emergency, quarantining the virus’ epicenters. Meanwhile, the US issued a travel warning for the three African countries where the outbreak has now killed more than 700 people.
Another bidder appeared for T-Mobile. French telecommunications firm Iliad offered $15 billion in cash for 56.6% of the US mobile provider, countering the offer from Sprint and its Japanese parent SoftBank. One report has it that Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile’s owner, has already said no.
Quartz obsession interlude
Tim Fernholz on uncovering who’s to blame for Argentina’s debt default. “There are good cases to blame each party: If the vulture funds had exchanged their bonds earlier, they would have made a decent profit and saved us all this mess—but there’s no law saying they had to do that. If global finance hadn’t integrated the world’s economies, Argentina wouldn’t have suffered from capital flight—but it wouldn’t have had access to capital to begin with absent that system. If Judge Griesa hadn’t issued his controversial order…” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Don’t be fooled by falling unemployment rates. They disguise an increase in poorly paid part-time workers.
Stop sending aid to Africa. What it really needs is the technology and science (paywall) to help tackle health and development problems.
Private schools can weaken India’s caste system. Low-caste students would be more respected in for-profit schools.
Universities are selling themselves cheap. They’re taking money from donors and big corporations with too many strings attached.
Kids’ clothes shouldn’t be gender-specific. Girls should be able to chose science-themed t-shirts, too.
Singapore’s surveillance state is a big data lab. But can it create a harmonious society?
London’s rowdiest drinkers will be watched. They’ll be forced to wear ankle tags (paywall) that record the level of alcohol in their sweat.
Doctors could listen for cancer. Turning stem cell data into sound can reduce the long waits for cancer tests.
There’s a campaign to rename the kaffir lime. The k-word is racist in South Africa.
A little poison is good for you. We need it to trigger our bodies to create antioxidants.
North Korea is being subjected to chocolate propaganda. South Koreans are sending Choco Pies across the border by balloon.
Red Robin has America’s most unhealthy meal. Its “Monster” double burger, milkshake, and bottomless fries rack up 3,450 calories.