GOOD MORNING QUARTZ READERS IN THE AMERICAS!
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR TODAY
China’s political transition begins to take shape. State media are just reporting that the Communist Party will on Nov. 8 hold its 18th congress, at which it will select a new generation of top leaders for the country. Also, the party has expelled Bo Xilai and is transferring the matter to judicial authorities. The case of Mr. Bo, the former Chongqing party secretary whose wife was convicted of killing a British businessman, has cast a shadow on the Chinese leadership in the runup to what’s expected to be its most sweeping reorganization in a decade.
Moody’s could announce the results of its month-long Spanish credit downgrade review. 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, France reveals its budget plan. New socialist president Francois Hollande’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. Hollande may force wealthy French to pay more taxes. He also might unveil plans that rely on overly optimistic growth assumptions.
German and French governments might bid to part-nationalize a private defense company that will be formed by the planned merger of EADS and BAE Systems, according to German press reports. France is already an EADS shareholder while Germany is reportedly willing to acquire shares. Spurred on by robust trade unions and political paranoia about military secrets leaking, the euro zone governments want to safeguard (paywall) jobs and their influence over EADS. Britain and the US oppose more state involvement in the company. The political wrangling makes it likely the merger will be delayed beyond its original Oct. 10 deadline.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
The UK threatened criminal sanctions against bankers who manipulate the LIBOR rate, the benchmark for some $360 trillion worth of loan agreements worldwide. The Financial Services Authority recommended a raft of other reforms for LIBOR, following the massive rate fixing scandal.
Japanese economic data were lackluster, again. In keeping with tradition, the Japanese government released a host of disappointing data. Deflation is getting worse, industrial production is falling, and monetary easing measures are not working too well. Here is a very good analysis from earlier this year of what is wrong with Japan’s economy and how the Western world is headed for a similar fate.
Brewers’ brawl finally resolved. Shareholders voted Singaporean conglomerate Fraser & Neave should sell its stake in Tiger beer producer Asia Pacific Breweries to Heineken for $6.3 billion. The remainder of F&N is likely to be taken over by Chang beer owner Thai beverage. This formally ends a long and complicated scuffle between Thai beverage and Heineken for control of APB. The fight was practically resolved earlier this month when Thai Beverage owner Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi (try saying that after a beer or two) agreed Heineken could buy APB while he would take over the rest of F&N, which includes property and soft drinks concerns.
QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE:
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.
MATTERS OF DEBATE:
Compulsory elections could mean the Democrats win every time.
The Georgian elections may be as important as those in the US. That is because the Eurasian nation is home to crucial oil and gas pipelines and borders a number of political hotspots.
Facebook’s new store might be less annoying than the advertising. Would you rather buy cupcakes than read sponsored stories?
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.
China creates jobs for Americans, according to this research at least.
Apes are running out of space. Disturbing study shows ape habitats in Africa have declined dramatically.
$65 million is not an acceptable dowry for this Hong Kong woman whose wealthy father has offered prospective husbands the enormous marriage bounty.
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.