What to watch for today
Brazil’s war on inflation. The central bank will probably announce an interest-rate hike at a two-day policy meeting that begins today. Officials are eager to soothe residents angry over the rising price of food staples and rein in inflation.
More casualty figures from the Iran-Pakistan quake. Twelve hours after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit southeastern Iran, just 35 deaths have been reported, all on the Pakistani side of the border. Expect those figures to rise. Iran has a history of destructive quakes.
Slovenia tries to prove it’s no Cyprus. It is auctioning €500 million ($652 million) in new treasury bills. The goal is to convince foreign lenders it can recapitalize its banks, whose bad loans are worth 20% of Slovenia’s annual GDP, without a bailout.
Canada isn’t so perfect. It was seen as something of an economic miracle after the financial crisis, but today the Bank of Canada is expected to lower its forecast for Canadian GDP growth. The IMF yesterday dropped its own forecast to 1.5% from 1.8%.
First quarter results party: Bank of America, Tata Motors, BHP Billiton, Tesco, Kinder Morgan, eBay, and Mattel all report earnings.
The Iron Lady is laid to rest. Current and former world leaders and celebrities attend Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. The cost to taxpayers is about £10 million—272 new teachers for a year, two years of aid to Iraq, or two pints of milk for everyone living in London.
While you were sleeping
One of the Boston Marathon bombs was made from a pressure cooker. Authorities say a cooker packed with gun powder and shrapnel set off at least one of the fatal blasts at the race on Monday. There’s still no news about suspects or a motive.
The world will produce $216 billion less than expected. The IMF said today it expects 3.3% global GDP growth this year, down from its 3.5% prediction three months ago. Biggest disappointments: Brazil, Russia, and southern Europe. Biggest turnaround: Japan.
American Airlines flights got grounded without the cloud. The airline’s connection to its online booking system went down, stranding passengers across the US for several hours. One of them was one of ours.
A rebound for gold prices and US stocks. US stocks got a boost after Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, and Coca-Cola reported first quarter earnings that met or beat expectations. Intel met expectations, but it’s in decline; Yahoo didn’t do so great. Spot prices for gold also rose almost 2% by late afternoon, after an 8% drop the day before.
Quartz obsession interlude
Christopher Mims on what’s wrong with Intel: “The unofficial motto of Intel, articulated by former CEO Andy Grove, is that “only the paranoid survive.” And yet so far Intel has mostly gone with business as usual, continuing its cycle of putting most of its development effort behind the ever more powerful chips that are only suitable for PCs and high-end servers.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Does high government debt hurt growth? New research casts doubt on an influential paper cited by austerity fans, but perhaps we should have been more skeptical of the results in the first place. And here’s how not to make the Excel error that tripped up the researchers.
The price of gold is plummeting because of bitcoin.
What do the Boston bombing and other attacks do to an economy? Besides causing anxiety, most attacks don’t inflict long-term economic damage.
Indian politicians fighting on Twitter is a sign of progress.
You could be on a reality TV show on Mars. Really. A non-profit will be accepting applications in July for human colonists to send to the red planet by 2023.
About two million people in Beijing are living below the earth’s surface in bomb shelters.
Hospitals make money when surgeons make mistakes.
Chinese counterfeit trade makes up almost 2% of world trade.
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