🌍 The yuan sinks

Plus: Don’t WhatsApp about finances
A clerk counts stacks of Chinese yuan and U.S. dollars at a bank in Shanghai, China.
A clerk counts stacks of Chinese yuan and U.S. dollars at a bank in Shanghai, China.
Photo: China Photos (Getty Images)

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

China’s yuan hit a 14-year low. It fell to about 7.23 to the dollar following the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike last week.

The Bank of England intervened in the bond market. It has committed about £65 billion ($69 billion) to buy long-dated bonds as it seeks to stabilize the market.

The EU announced a new Russia sanctions plan. The proposed package includes an oil price cap, a ban on some steel imports, and chip export restrictions.  

Singapore’s SATS will become the world’s largest air cargo handler. The carrier’s $1.14 billion purchase of World Flight Services will expand its network to cover over 50% of global air cargo volume.

The first US-Pacific Islands summit got off to a rough start. The Solomon Islands refused to endorse a joint declaration, while Micronesia found US financial support “insufficient.”

Shell bought a Nigeria-based solar company. It purchased Daystar Power for an undisclosed sum, marking the oil giant’s first acquisition in the African renewables sector.

What to watch for

Nike looks to be sprinting, not walking, into the metaverse. Seven million visitors have traversed Nikeland, the sneaker maker’s Roblox world, since its launch five months ago. Meanwhile, Nike’s purchase of non-fungible token studio RTFKT is paying off—in millions of dollars.

But can these digital wins help pick up the sneaker giant’s flagging performance? First quarter earnings, released today when the market closes, might provide a clue.

Nike far outstrips other major brands in terms of earnings from the metaverse, minting $185 million compared to its rival Adidas’s meager $11 million. While impressive, that figure remains a drop in the ocean that is Nike’s total revenue. Even in a not-so-good year, Nike is making over $12 billion each quarter.

In a year that has seen production hiccups, oversupply issues, and a strong dollar reducing revenues from international markets, success in the metaverse may offer Nike’s stock some lift, and be a bright spot for investors.

Don’t WhatsApp about finances

As convenient as it is for bank workers to text or send WhatsApp messages to clients and colleagues about business matters, it’s… well, super illegal, and now 16 financial firms are facing a combined $1.8 billion in fines for not putting a stop to the communications.

Image for article titled 🌍 The yuan sinks
Graphic: Ananya Bhattacharya

It’s not like the phenomenon, made all the more acute as bankers worked from home, was just among novice employees. Several managing directors and heads of trading desks were explicitly called out in an investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), for doing things like directing employees to delete messages.

Several banks have ousted officials over the grievances and slashed bonuses for employees who weren’t following communication regulations. Some have even said they’re going to employ a person to oversee the issue. Never thought we’d see “bank WhatsApp cop” on job boards.

👩‍💻 … And on the topic of the evolution of tech in the workplace, Quartz at Work is hosting a panel of experts this week to discuss just that matter. They’ll offer strategies to align the operating systems of your company with the tools that can make a difference. RSVP for the event, which is this Friday, Sept. 30, from 5-6 pm BST / 12-1 pm EDT.

It’s clean out time for space junk

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and NASA are finally taking steps to reduce the huge amount of defunct satellites that are gumming up the space around Earth. Pundits think the FCC’s newly proposed five-year deadline to remove space junk is a great step. But does it go far enough?

Monitoring space junk is becoming more complicated as the number of errant items—and their risk of colliding—only increases. We’re sort of space debris nerds here at Quartz, and over the years have reported on:

💥 Just how close some debris have come to colliding

🤖 The rise of robot garbage hunters in space

🛰 Every active satellite orbiting Earth (at least in 2015)

🚛 Why we can’t solve the space junk problem with an orbital garbage truck—yet

🛸 That you’re likely not seeing a UFO or a shooting star, but space pollution

✦ Our 10th birthday is the perfect time to sign up for a Quartz membership to support our expeditions, whether they be about the global economy or into the great beyond. Take 50% off when you subscribe today.

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Surprising discoveries

Experts say we should fly to Venus first, not Mars. Its surface may be hot enough to melt lead, but our sister planet is a lot closer to home.

Ancient birds may not have been complete dodos. An 80 million-year-old avian skull indicates the neurons were firing up there.

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An all-electric airplane took to the skies. The prototype could become the first fully electric commercial plane.

Brazil’s yellow football jerseys are getting the boot. For many fans, its association with far-right politics has soured its symbolism.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, smart birds, and phygital art to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Ananya Bhattacharya, Sofia Lotto Persio, Julia Malleck, and Morgan Haefner.