Business & Finance
Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition

Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition July 29, 2019

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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50 Issues

In this issue

2 min.
in brief

● President Trump reached a budget deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, setting the stage for a $1t federal deficit in 2020. The accord includes $738 billion in defense spending and $632 billion in domestic spending. ● Amazon, Facebook, and Google are likely to become the subject of broad antitrust review. The U.S. Department of Justice announced it will investigate whether major technology companies are using their power to thwart competition and silence conservative voices. ● Protests in Hong Kong took a more violent turn after peaceful rallies descended into running battles on opposite sides of the city and violence spread into outlying areas. China warned the U.S. against interfering. ● India launched an unmanned rocket on July 22, as it sought to become the first nation to land a spacecraft on the south…

1 min.

▶ Waiting to Hear From the Fed Will Trump get the cut he wants? The Federal Reserve may bring interest rates down at its July 30-31 meeting. Predictions point to a quarter-percentage-point easing. Chairman Jerome Powell has been on the receiving end of presidential tweets for a year to lower borrowing costs. ▶ Beyond Meat, the alternative-protein company whose stock has soared more than 700% since its May IPO, reports earnings on July 29. ▶ Christie’s starts an auction of vintage timepieces on July 30, including a gem-coated Rolex GMT-Master watch estimated at $320,000. ▶ The top Democratic presidential contenders will face off in Detroit on July 30-31 in the party’s second round of 2020 debates. ▶ The U.S. employment report for July is due on Aug. 2. Economists predict the jobless rate will…

2 min.
a questionable consensus on the budget

Avoiding a debt ceiling crisis is good, but the spending deal in Washington is an accident waiting to happen Observers calling for a more consensual style of American politics were dealt something of a corrective by President Trump and Congress on July 22. Republicans and Democrats agreed that public spending and public borrowing should rise a lot faster than previously promised. For the moment, it seems, fiscal indiscipline is a bipartisan endeavor. Granted, there’s one good thing about this agreement, and it’s important: It postpones for a couple of years the next debt-ceiling-and-government-shutdown crisis, which Congress and the administration had previously penciled in for September. Threatening financial markets from time to time with deliberately induced calamities is a proven failure as a way to contain spending. It also needlessly destabilizes the economy…

9 min.
the strange economics of mideast oil

A third of the world’s seaborne crude and fuels pass through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. So it’s no surprise that as skirmishing in the Gulf between the U.S. and Iran has intensified this year, the price of oil has … wait …fallen? Anyone betting that troubles in the area would push up the price of oil has lost a barrel of money. The prices of Brent crude and the U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), are each down about 26% from their highs of last October, which was before hostilities ratcheted up. The stability of oil prices is fortunate for President Trump, who’s been able to tighten the screws on Iran without provoking an increase in gasoline costs that would be unpopular with voters. It’s…

5 min.
a bloody good business

On a glorious July afternoon, the big fish swims toward us, its signature dorsal fin slicing the water. The great white shark measures 12 feet, maybe more. Its jaws snap shut on 300 pounds of seal. “We have predation,” says the guide on my shark-viewing excursion. The attack leaves behind a gory red plume, the money moment in a bloody good business. Shark tourism generates more than $300 million a year in places such as Australia, the Bahamas, and New Zealand. But I’m on Cape Cod, the Massachusetts seaside destination where growing numbers of great whites have taken to summering over the past decade. They come for the cuisine: tens of thousands of gray seals lazing in the coastal surf. It’s a conservation success story, the result of decades of federal…

5 min.
the world’s biggest brewer thinks small

From an art deco storefront in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, a company called ZX Ventures has assembled stakes in scores of nascent consumer brands: There’s a partnership to research protein snacks for yoga fans, a controlling interest in a marketer of canned rosé founded by a social media impresario who calls himself the Fat Jewish, and alcohol-focused e-tailers in more than a half-dozen countries. But this isn’t your typical startup incubator. It’s an arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, producer of mass-market stalwarts such as Budweiser, Beck’s, and Bass. ZX’s “culture is about dreaming big,” says Pedro Earp, AB InBev’s chief marketing officer and head of ZX. “There are so many opportunities out there, man.” The idea is to identify potential growth engines and bet on them fast, either in-house or via…