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The World Bank cut its economic forecast for China. It predicts GDP growth will slow to 2.8% amid zero-covid measures and a struggling property market. Meanwhile, for the first time since 1990, many regional developing countries in Asia are projected to grow faster than China.
The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines are both leaking. Detection of underwater explosions near the Russian natural gas network has raised suspicions of sabotage.
Russia made another nuclear threat. The “saber-rattling” coincided with the end of Russia’s staged referendum in the occupied regions of Ukraine. Meanwhile, more than 194,000 Russians have fled to neighboring countries to avoid a draft.
Nigeria raised its interest rate. The rate increased from 14% to a record high of 15.5%. Morocco also hiked its interest rate for the first time since 2008.
Adani Group plans to invest $100 billion over the next decade. Around $70 billion will go into its green energy business.
Meta shut down two disinformation networks started in China and Russia. The separate operations were seeking to influence views on US politics and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
What to watch for
The first US-Pacific Island Summit kicks off today in Washington, D.C. as US president Joe Biden seeks to strengthen ties with Pacific nations and counter China’s growing influence in the region. The two-day summit comes amid a global pivot towards the Pacific, from Australia’s “Pacific step-up” to the UK’s “Indo-Pacific tilt.”
This year has seen a marked US push in the region, starting with an Oceania tour, the launching of the Partners in the Blue Pacific initiative, and US vice president Kamala Harris’s attendance at the Pacific Islands Forum. The Biden administration has now committed to reopening an embassy in the Solomon Islands, and creating embassies in Kiribati and Tonga.
But a lot of this is the US playing catch-up. It was just in 2019 that Biden made his “Pacific pledge.” China established a dialogue in 2006, and has more recently signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands. It remains to be seen if the US can build credibility and partnerships in a region it has long overlooked.
When was the last time the pound crashed?
The British pound hit a historic low against the US dollar this week after huge tax cuts were announced by Liz Truss’s new government. It’s been a bit since the pound has flirted so closely with dollar parity—in fact, the last time was when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister.
In this situation, central banks often buy their home currency on foreign-exchange (FX) markets to boost it. But you need hefty reserves to do that. Building those up just hasn’t been a priority for the UK, which is the world’s fifth largest economy but only ranks 18th-largest in reserves of foreign currencies and gold.
There aren’t a lot of solutions. The Bank of England has made it clear, at least for now, that it’s not going to prop the pound. And the IMF has warned the UK that its recent fiscal package would likely threaten its monetary policy and increase inequality.
Reassessing the 9-to-5
Perhaps like many of us, you’ve started to question aspects of work that we once took for granted. Like: Why do I work five days a week when I could get just as much done in four? Could offices be designed better? Why is good feedback so hard to get, and to give?
These questions didn’t spring to our minds unbidden, but the pandemic sure gave them a push. And now, widespread change seems possible. We’re thrilled to present our new podcast, Work Reconsidered, available Oct. 6, that’ll document this moment of change. Check out the trailer and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
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✦ Our 10th birthday is the perfect time for a new podcast, but we’ve got another gift for you, too. How about six months of an annual membership, free?
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Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, teen-era playlists, and James Earl Jones recordings to firstname.lastname@example.org. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Sofia Lotto Persio, Julia Malleck, and Morgan Haefner.