🌍 Then there were eight

Former chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak looking at Downing Street like:
Former chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak looking at Downing Street like:
Image: Reuters/Henry Nicholls

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

The UK leadership race now has eight candidates. The Conservative party members who secured enough support from fellow legislators will be on the ballot for run-off votes today. Front-runner Rishi Sunak has gained prominent backers.

London Heathrow airport is limiting summer passengers. Daily travelers will be capped at 100,000 amid staff shortages. Airlines will also be asked to stop selling tickets until September.

China will repay some victims of the Henan bank scandal. Authorities have named the alleged culprit of what could be one of China’s biggest financial scams.

Sri Lanka’s resigning president and 14 family members were blocked from leaving the country. They reportedly failed to pass immigration twice after refusing to wait in a public queue.

Shares for French energy giant EDF surged ahead of nationalization. The government is reportedly preparing to pay €8 billion ($8.05 billion) as it looks to secure its energy supply.

LianLian is seeking 1.5 billion yuan ($223 million) in pre-IPO financing. The rival to Jack Ma’s Ant Group, whose own IPO was stopped by Chinese regulators in 2020, is planning a Hong Kong debut next year.

Croatia is officially joining the euro zone. It plans to adopt the euro currency in 2023, and will be the 20th nation to join the monetary union.

What to watch for

With US gasoline prices still above $4.50 per gallon, president Joe Biden is under immense pressure to balance the global oil market. Asking consumers to use less oil is a political dead end. His best bet is to squeeze out more barrels, which he hopes to do during a visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week.

Global oil production is running practically full-steam. Production in the biggest shale oil basin in the US hit a record in June. For some OPEC members, including Nigeria and Libya, mismanagement and conflict have crippled drilling. Saudi and the UAE have a bit more drilling capacity, but it’s unclear if they would be willing or able to put it to use (or if it can make a dent in gasoline prices).

In a July 12 forecast, OPEC said it expects global oil supply to lag behind demand well into 2023. Don’t hold your breath for a break at the pump.

Why did the euro and the dollar reach parity?

A line chart shows the US dollar to euro exchange rate from July 11 to July 12. The currencies hit near-parity the morning of July 12.

For a few moments yesterday, the euro and the US dollar were worth the same. The parity is not a great milestone for the euro, which has been stronger than the dollar since 2003.

Investors are worried about a looming economic crisis in Europe. The European Central Bank has been slower to raise interest rates, and Russia is threatening the continent’s natural gas supply following economic sanctions over the war in Ukraine. And energy security continues to be a concern as the EU has agreed on a Russian oil ban, forcing nations to find new sources.

If recession fears are dragging down the euro, what’s boosting the dollar? It’s about security. In times of economic uncertainty, many investors hold dollars because they believe the currency and the assets denominated in them are safer. The higher demand, the higher the value.

Job training in the metaverse

Virtual skill building has quietly become a multi-billion dollar business. It’s also already entered some treacherous terrain: the realm of workplace psychology.

Training videos on bias and conflict resolution for workers and managers are often cringeworthy, but do we really want to learn how to be more emotionally intelligent humans from avatars and code? The latest Forecast email looked at the benefits of donning a VR headset for training, as well as the new problems the technology presents (at least HR videos don’t make you dizzy).

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Surprising discoveries

Image for article titled 🌍 Then there were eight

Five of the world’s billionaires were turned into popsicles. Art collective MSCHF wants you to eat the rich, literally.

The latest climate change gauge is fatty fish. Japanese fishermen fear katsuo are plumping up because of warming water temperatures.

Government workers in the Philippines were told to smile more. The Mulanay municipality enacted a policy to stop people from grimacing while serving the public.

A cobalt mine discovered intact after 200 years will be sealed again. Keeping oxygen out of the shaft is the only way to ensure its inside remains pristine.

Sunlight boosts men’s appetite. Skin exposed to UV light was found to secrete more ghrelin, a hormone responsible for stimulating hunger—but only if no estrogen is present.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, popsicles, and genuine smiles to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Julia Malleck, Morgan Haefner, and Tim McDonnell.