🌍 Europe feels the heat

Members of the public observe a fire from La Teste-de-Buch, southwestern France, on July 16, 2022.
Members of the public observe a fire from La Teste-de-Buch, southwestern France, on July 16, 2022.
Image: GAIZKA IROZ/AFP via Getty Images

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

A heat wave fueled wildfires across Europe. Firefighters battled blazes across the Mediterranean region as the UK braces for record-high temperatures.

Eight people died in a plane crash in Greece. The aircraft, which had taken off in Serbia, was bringing 11 tons of weapons to Bangladesh.

The UK’s Tory party leadership hopefuls squared off in a heated debate. A series of votes this week will determine the final two contenders to succeed prime minister Boris Johnson.

Thousands of people in Hungary protested tax law changes. Critics fear the new measures will hurt small businesses.

Chinese president Xi Jinping visited Xinjiang. It was his first visit to the region since his government started to crack down on the Uyghur minority, which has brought international sanctions.

Taiwan accused a Chinese Apple supplier of stealing trade secrets from a local competitor. Prosecutors charged 14 people in connection to the case.

What to watch for

In April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its global growth forecast to 3.6% for this year and next, warning that the global economic outlook could get worse from there. Now, the IMF is looking to make another cut later this month for both 2022 and 2023.

The outlook has “darkened significantly,” wrote Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the IMF, in a blog published July 13. She did not provide specific figures.

IMF data showing annual GDP Growth

So why is the IMF reconsidering its growth prediction? Global events like the Russia-Ukraine war and the covid pandemic continue to hurt supply chains, driving up prices and boosting inflation. The resulting economic uncertainty is putting the world at greater risk for a recession.

The price(s) of oil(s)

The “price of oil,” which fell below $95 on Friday, is a misleading phrase. The oil industry actually looks at three major indices:

Brent: Originally a now-defunct oilfield off the coast of Scotland, it refers to a mix of oil from many different North Sea deposits. The Brent crude index is used heavily in Europe and by OPEC.

West Texas Intermediate: The major American index refers to crude that actually comes from oilfields all over the US and is then refined in the Midwest.

Dubai: The major benchmark for oil prices in Asia, Dubai crude is “sour” (i.e., high in sulfur) and has a “medium” viscosity.

A chart comparing Brent crude and Urals crude oil prices, the latter of which tanks sharply when Russia invades Ukraine.

The Russia-Ukraine war delivered a shock to the market, so the three indices are closer to each other than they’ve been since 2020. But another index, Russia’s Urals blend, lags severely behind, despite Moscow trying to (literally) sweeten the deal for buyers.

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DNA analysis solved a human fossil mystery. Remains found in a Chinese cave belonged to a female whose genome can help explain how humans arrived in the Americas.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, mustard seeds, and Scottish fungus to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Alex Ossola, Michelle Cheng, Sofia Lotto Persio, Samanth Subramanian, Clarisa Diaz, Nate DiCamillo, David Yanofsky, and Susan Howson.