🌏 China lifts a lockdown

Plus: America enters its dollar store era

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

China’s Zhengzhou is lifting its covid lockdown. The city, which is relaxing measures following nationwide anti-covid restriction protests, is host to Apple’s key iPhone factory.

Twitter stopped enforcing its covid misinformation policy. No announcement was made, but a note added to its website says the practice ended Nov. 23, just weeks after mass layoffs.

Russia reportedly asked India for raw materials and equipment. Moscow is seeking over 500 items, including parts for cars and trains, Reuters reports, as western sanctions take a toll. Meanwhile, NATO will help Ukraine repair its damaged power grid.

Qatar and Germany signed a 15-year natural gas deal. Qatar will send Germany 2 million tons of the energy source starting in 2026 as the European country seeks to make up a Russian supply shortfall.

China sent three astronauts to its new space station. In a landmark moment for China’s space program, Tiangong is now the second space station to achieve permanently-occupied status, after the International Space Station.

Tata Group announced a merger between Air India and Vistara. Vistara, Tata’s jointly-owned venture with Singapore Airlines, will be combined with Air India to become India’s largest international carrier.

What to watch for

As Americans tighten their purse strings at a time of persistently high inflation, they’re turning to dollar stores for more than just holiday decor and party favors. Shoppers are frequenting them for essentials—especially cheaper food and beverages—and, increasingly, they’re paying more with credit than cash.

Dollar Tree posted strong earnings this past quarter, and come Thursday (Dec. 1), Dollar General, another chain, is poised to do the same. Dollar stores aren’t entirely immune to economic headwinds: Dollar Tree trimmed its guidance for the year. Yet they are among the most resilient features of the retail industry, and have been able to compete against e-commerce giants like Amazon.

The greatest asset for these stores, which stock wide varieties of items at low prices under one roof, is that they’re ubiquitous—and that, unlike Amazon Prime, they don’t come with a $139 annual price tag for deliveries that still take a day.

China should be off the hook for climate finance

China has the world’s largest carbon footprint. So it’d make sense that the country should pay up for a new UN-administered fund that aims to cover the costs of climate change-related impacts on developing countries, right?

Well, not exactly. If per-capita income is used as a proxy for a country’s ability to pay into the fund, and per-capita cumulative emissions since 1990 is used as a proxy for a country’s contribution to the climate crisis, it doesn’t look like China crosses the paying threshold. The country’s per-capita income hovers around $10,500, while its cumulative emissions since 1990 are 128 tons of CO2—less than a quarter of the US’s 530 tons.

Image for article titled 🌏 China lifts a lockdown
Graphic: Tim McDonnell

During COP27, Xie Zhenhua, the Chinese climate envoy, said his country wouldn’t contribute to the fund, and honestly, the data seem to give his argument some moral backing. In fact, Liechtenstein, Qatar, and Singapore may be better candidates.

🔔 What it takes to lead a flock

Cast the dice, read the cards, interpret the stars—there are many ways humans try to predict the future. When it comes to markets and the macro-economy, a bellwether (a term for a sheep with a bell around its neck that leads a flock) indicates trends and helps analysts get a read on our financial futures.

One of the most famous economic chimes that traders listen to is FedEx. The US multinational delivery and transportation company, founded in 1971, has long been considered a bellwether, not just for the US, but also the global economy. It helps when your business touches 220 countries and territories comprising 99% of global GDP.

✦ But what are the origins of the phrase, and how did it come to be used in business lingo? Find out in the next edition of the Quartz Weekly Obsession email. Sign up today so you don’t miss it, and grab a Quartz membership too—it’s 50% off!

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