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Quartz Daily Brief – Americas Edition – Greek debt relief, OECD misery, US housing, M&A Gangnam style

By Naomi Rovnick
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Good morning Quartz readers!

What to watch for today:

Stocks leap over Greek debt relief reliefThe third round of talks in a matter of weeks between euro-zone finance ministers, the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank officials, to hash out their differences on Greece’s bailout program finally resulted in an agreement. It amounted to little more than tinkering with ratios and forecasts, but could make Mr Market blissfully happy all day. European stocks rose in morning trading, while Asian markets mostly did well too.

Or perhaps everyone listens to the OECD and gets all miserable again. They are not popping champagne corks at the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development. The Paris based think-tank has slashed its global growth forecasts, predicted two years of economic contraction for the euro zone, and warned that America faces another recession if the fiscal cliff is not navigated properly. The only solution to this potential catastrophe might be yet more rounds of monetary easing by all Western banks, the OECD said.

Will ArcelorMittal have to leave France? Indian tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, who controls ArcelorMittal, was due to meet with (paywall) French President François Hollande today for peace talks after France’s Minister of Industrial Renewal, Arnaud Montebourg, blasted the company as unpatriotic for planning to close plants and even threatened to nationalize the business.

Can the housing sector continue to be a bright spot in the US? We’ll find out when September’s Case/Schiller Housing Price indices are released this morning.

While you were sleeping:

Brits spent money. UK GDP rose 1% in the third quarter, which was in line with initial government estimates, after household spending rose to its highest level in two years. The data, however, was probably flattered by the London Olympics, a one-off feel good event that will obviously not be repeated in the fourth quarter. A return to recession could be on the cards.

Egypt’s president kept annoying the public. Opposition parties protested again today against the president, Mohammed Morsi, who last week granted himself sweeping powers that critics claim effectively make him a pharaoh—and leading to violent clashes in Cairo. Morsi has partially compromised with critics; he will allow judges to review his decisions while preserving a constitutional council working to design a permanent government for the country.

Yasser Arafat was exhumed. The former Palestinian leader’s buried corpse was exhumed and then reburied by forensic experts who will test whether he was murdered by Israeli agents. Arafat died eight years ago but conspiracy theories that he was poisoned have never been laid to rest. For its part, Israel thinks the conspiracy theories are an anti-Israel conspiracy.

Quartz obsession interlude: 

Christopher Mims on weird retail in our mobile future: “The sheer variety of opportunities for buying things means the future of retail will be a hybrid between showrooms, virtual stores, and traditional stores tricked out with a variety of novel ways to pay. The question is, which retailers will do best in each of these modes, or some combination of them. It’s not hard to imagine that, having saturated the online market, some online retailers will eventually have to create physical showrooms of their own. Shrunken, more-specialized, more boutique-like successors to Best Buy, carrying mostly products not available from other retailers, could be juxtaposed in the world’s strip malls and urban shopping arcades with showrooms that carry no inventory beyond display models.” Read more here.

Matters of debate:

Dubai risks yet another property bubble. Does no-one remember the circa 2010 stories of trapped, homeless expats who fell foul of the last real estate crash?

Five quick fixes to grow China’s economy. But only if they can overcome entrenched political interests.

Indian English is morphing into something unrecognizable. Kids are leaving school speaking “Hinglish”, a hybrid of Hindi and English that this writer claims would not be understood in London or New York.

Are banks and states engaged in a dance to the death? symbiotic relationship that could end poorly for everyone.

The problem with outdated trade statistics. Think that iPhone was made in China? Think again.

Surprising discoveries:

How to undiscover an island. Scientists seek to rid the world’s maps of a non-existent Pacific landmass.

South Korea has been gobbling up European companies. Quietly, and without generating the usual wails of protectionist headlines from nationalist European media, the East Asian nation’s acquisitions of European businesses tripled to $1.3 billion in the first 10 months of this year. Was Gangnam Style, which just became the most watched video on Youtube ever, a brilliant ruse to distract us?

American holiday shoppers have nothing on China’s online buyers. While US retailers celebrated a $1 billion online take from holiday sales on Black Friday, China’s “Singles Day” earlier this month brought in $4.84 billion.

Best wishes from Quartz for a productive day. Please send any news, queries, feedback, and coordinates for undiscovered islands to  or hit “Reply” to this email.

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