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Quartz Daily Brief — Asia Edition — Spanish credit, Indian drug prices, and China's slowdown

By Kevin J. Delaney
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.



Moody’s could announce the results of its month-long Spanish credit downgrade review today. A budget released by the government yesterday with €40 billion in cuts, about 9% of the overall budget,  is an effort to avoid having austerity imposed by external authorities in the bailout scenario many observers see as inevitable. More details are expected today, but initial market reaction was positive.

In other Euro nerves news, France reveals its budget plan. The new socialist president’s first budget will be an important test, but with growth at a standstill and unemployment high, filling a €30 billion budget shortfall will be a challenge.

Steel woes in China reflect the commodity squeeze. Baosteel is stopping production at a Shanghai plant to avoid losses driven by plummeting steel prices.

Japanese unemployment numbers will be released, along with a barrage of other domestic indicators, including price level and vehicle manufacturing. European price level statistics will be released later in the day, a development keeping inflation-anxious Germans up all night tonight.


India will impose price controls on essential drugs. Painkillers, anti-AIDS and cancer medicines, sedatives and steroids—about 60% of the domestic market—will now need to be priced beneath government ceilings.

Record trade deficit in the United Kingdom: The £20.8 billion gap was not good news for PM David Cameron, though a slight upward revision in last quarter’s growth numbers was good.

US GDP revisions, meanwhile, were bad but not fundamental: That pesky drought sapped agricultural productivity, and a drop-off in defense spending came with reduced expenditures in Afghanistan. More positively, the number of people filing for unemployment insurance fell to its lowest level in two months.

Mexicans dour, Brazilians bright: Consumer confidence measures in the two countries highlight a divergence in economic perception based on a fundamental question: Are there any good jobs around?

Blackberry-maker RIM lost $235 million last quarter, but that’s ok. Analysts expect so little of the erstwhile phone innovator that the nearly quarter-billion-dollar loss drove share prices up. Our efficient markets are giving RIM more time to execute a pivot to emerging markets, but competition is just as plentiful in South Africa as it is in Europe.


Steve LeVine on why China’s slowdown will get permanently worse: “There are demographic reasons to understand the slowdown not as temporary, but the beginning of a long-term phenomenon, one that could become much worse if not arrested. In a June 2012 study, Wang Feng of the Brookings Institution examined young workers—the type that energize an economy with a willingness to migrate and work at repetitive jobs for relatively low wages—and found a striking population decline. In 2010, there were 116 million Chinese aged 20 to 24, but that will fall to 94 million by 2020, Feng forecast, a 20% plunge. And when Feng factored in a fast-rising enrollment in higher education, he foresaw an even smaller population of workers aged 20-24: just 67 million by 2030, a 42% drop from 2010.” Read more here.


Japan should switch its Olympics dream from Tokyo to Tohoku. The case for bringing the Olympics to the region damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

To solve the US growth crisis, give every citizen a $2,000 loan. Miles Kimball argues that federal lines of credit are the best kind of stimulus.

Or maybe Hugo Chavez will just give you a house. The Venezuelan leader takes twitter electioneering to new heights.  


A SARS-like virus killed two in Saudi Arabia, and five others are being quarantined in Denmark. The virus is too new to have a name.

Spain’s bank run may not actually be much of a bank run at all. An in-depth analysis.

Was this Nazi Buddha statue carved from a meteorite? Yes.

Mens sana in corpore sano: A new study shows that exercising immediately after learning strengthens memory.

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