Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—ECB rates, Brazilian tax, IKEA’s new chairman, bull sperm

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What to watch for today

Will Draghi strike again? The European Central Bank (ECB) announces its latest monetary-policy decision. Few expect another interest-rate cut after the one last month. Last time the bank made a decision, it also talked about helping small businesses get loans, but the bank may not yet be ready to roll out a final plan.

BlackBerry starts a new push in India. The company has lost Indian market share to Nokia and Samsung—but it’s making a big effort to win that back with the Q10, which launches today, and upcoming Q5.

European unemployment: Prepare to be scared. France and Greece report jobless rates for the first quarter and March, respectively. French unemployment is forecast to rise slightly to 10.3%. Even if it were to fall a bit in Greece, there’s no way to make 1 in 4 unemployed look good.

Putting the Xi back in MeXico. China’s premier, Xi Jinping, spends one more day in Mexico before heading north to visit US president Barack Obama. Xi and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto have talked about broader cooperation, but a free trade-pact looks far off.

While you were sleeping

Saudi Arabia suspended internet-messaging app Viber. Skype and WhatsApp could be next.

Brazil surrendered on currency war. Deciding that currency appreciation isn’t as bad as stagflation, the country scrapped a tax on foreign investment.

A new boss for IKEA. Matthias Kamprad, the youngest son of outgoing chairman Ingvar Kamprad, is 43, likes PAX wardrobes, and…well, that’s pretty much all we know about him.

Thomson Reuters screwed up. It admitted to “clock synchronization issues” that allowed high-frequency traders to see US ISM manufacturing data 15 milliseconds early—and make $28 million in trades.

The Federal Reserve tempered its outlook. It’s latest “Beige Book” reported “modest to moderate” growth in the US, a hint that the central bank won’t rush to reduce monetary stimulus to the economy.

Dow closed below 15,000. The Dow Jones Industrial average fell 217 points, to below 15,000 for the first time since the beginning of May.

The IMF put out a mea culpa on Greece. Although it still calls the bailout a “necessity,” it says it should have taken a different approach (pdf) to helping the country.

Quartz obsession interlude

Simone Foxman on why northern Europe has surprisingly large “shadow economies.” ”About half of Danes said they’d paid for undocumented labor in the previous year in a confidential survey, and a full 80% said they would be comfortable doing so. Around 50% of German construction workers have done shadow work. In 2007–the last year for which data for all of the following countries is available–the undocumented trade accounted for 18% of GDP in Norway, 17.9% in Sweden, 17.0% in Finland, and 15.3% of GDP in Germany. By contrast, the shadow economy accounted for 12.2% and 8.4% of UK and US GDP that year, respectively.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

One third of food produced doesn’t make it from the farm to the table. It’s not because you didn’t finish your supper.

The policy wonk behind Xi Jinping. One of the most influential men in China (paywall).

Same-sex marriage is good for the economy. It’s impossible to ignore the correlation between tolerance and economic competitiveness.

Why it makes sense for Yahoo to acquire Foursquare. Reason #4: Foursquare’s CEO dresses the part.

Surprising discoveries

The US has sent nearly $2 million worth of bull sperm to Iran this year. And a bunch of other weird stuff.

The chef who nurtured Kim Jong-il’s passion for sushi. And his 30-year love-hate relationship with North Korea.

What Turkish protestors have learned from Grand Theft Auto. See all that “GTA” graffiti?

IBM’s Watson computer takes on cancer. Win Jeopardy? Fun. Cure cancer? A supercomputer’s day job.

Thought-controlled drones. How these stalkers of the future work.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, real-life video game experiences, and sushi chef escapades to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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