Skip to navigationSkip to content

Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Russian ruble-rousing, Burkina Faso’s fire, Tim Cook’s sexuality, skinny women’s salaries

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Europe’s deflationary spiral. A struggling European Central Bank releases fresh euro zone data, widely predicted to show inflation is well below its 2% target rate and squarely in the “danger zone” of less than 1%.

British banks take their medicine. The Bank of England announces the leverage ratio for all British banks, which is expected to be above the global 3% minimum. US regulators are requiring a 5% rate for several banks. Swiss banks will have to hit 4% by 2019 (paywall).

Switzerland takes its Ebola shot. Lausanne is hosting the largest study for the leading experimental vaccine to fight Ebola. Residents (mostly doctors and medical students) will be given the chance—and 800 Swiss francs ($845)—to be injected with a piece of the Ebola virus. GlaxoSmithKline is looking for 120 adult volunteers; 50 have signed up.

Russian ruble-rousing. The country’s central bank will likely raise interest rates to 8.5% or higher to bolster the decimated ruble. Russia’s currency shot up 5% against the dollar Thursday in anticipation of the move—that’s still 20% lower than its start-of-the-year value.

Numbers, numbers, numbers. The quarterly earnings keep pouring in. The biggest fish include: BNP Paribas, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Hilton Hotels.

While you were sleeping

America’s economy outdid itself. The country’s GDP grew by 3.5% in the third quarter, higher than the 3% predicted by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The quarterly growth caps the country’s strongest 6-month streak in over a decade; the economy grew 4.6% in Q2. Fewer oil imports have helped lower the trade deficit, while job gains and cheaper gas are boosting confidence among American consumers.

Protestors set Burkina Faso’s parliament building on fire. The outrage stemmed from the government’s attempt to allow the president in power for 27 years, Blaise Compaoré, to serve again. MPs responded by abandoning their plans to extend Compaoré’s reign, and the army declared a state of emergency.

Lenovo completed its acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Lenovo announced its intent to acquire the company that invented the mobile phone back in Jan. 2013, and now it finally has, for $2.91 billion in a mix of cash, credit, and stock. Combined, the new entity is the third largest smartphone maker, depending on who you ask.

Shadow banking took over the world. The murky industry, which includes hedge funds, real estate investment trusts and off-balance sheet investment vehicles, is worth $75 trillion, or 120% of global GDP, according to the Financial Stability Board. It grew $5 trillion in the span of one year, thanks to lenders looking to avoid regulations and investors seeking yield amid historically low interest rates.

Tim Cook said he was proud to be gay. “While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me,” the Apple CEO told Businessweek.

Quartz obsession interlude

Svati Narula on America’s complicated relationship with sugar. “The American sugar industry is highly protected, with strict quotas and tariffs on imports of the stuff—except for supplies from Mexico, for reasons we’ll get to shortly. The protections have kept domestic sugar prices higher than world prices. The whole affair has been a rare moment of discord in the US-Mexico sweetener trade under the North American Free Trade Agreement.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Having kids won’t make you miserable. At least not your first or second one.

Only tomorrow’s economists can fix the global economy. Apt change comes only when the old, wrong ones die.

Revenge porn should be stopped. But do the laws punishing it go too far?

Gluten isn’t the problem. For many, it’s the processing of today’s food that the body dislikes.

Income inequality is helping left-wingers. Finally they have something to stand on.

Surprising discoveries

Thin women get paid more. Up to $22,000 a year more than their overweight colleagues.

The Sistine Chapel got a makeover. Michelangelo’s work is the beneficiary of $4 million in 7,000 LED lights and a ventilation system.

Charts can change minds. But watch out: the underlying data is easily manipulated.

We’re living in Minority Report. London’s police force is using Accenture software to predict crime.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, third children, and persuasive bar charts to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.