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Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition

Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition

October 26, 2020

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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happy anniversary, christine!

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis releases its third-quarter GDP estimate on Oct. 29. Analysts predict a sharp rebound from last quarter’s –31.4%. ▷ 28 Also on Oct. 29, the Conference Board reports its gauge of U.S. consumer confidence. Economists say the number should edge slightly higher from September’s figure. The Bank of Canada meets to set interest rates on Oct. 28. Forecasters don’t anticipate a change from the bank’s current rate of 0.25%. In Germany, the Federal Statistical Office on Oct. 30 is expected to report a 9% decline in third-quarter GDP, following the second quarter’s 9.7% drop. The Nov. 1 Caixin Manufacturing PMI should show a modest uptick in manufacturing in China. On Oct. 18 the country reported third-quarter GDP of 4.9%, near pre-Covid levels. Sotheby’s fall sale of impressionist and modern art…

a subcontinent of inequality

It’s been a punishing year for women in India—and not only because Covid-19 has made life and work a daily crisis. The barriers remain stark in 2020: economic, cultural, legal, political, even journalistic. The summer saw some of the country’s television channels and newspapers demonizing a Bollywood actress who was accused of everything from black magic to murder after her actor boyfriend reportedly killed himself in June. When autumn arrived, media became fixated on another woman—a teenager belonging to India’s lowest caste, the Dalit community, who was allegedly gang-raped by members of a higher caste and died on Sept. 29. The caste violence and the Bollywood scandal are at different ends of India’s social spectrum. One involved a woman oppressed by religious tradition in the depths of society; the other, a…

why adm is making veggie burgers

Grab a slice of bread in the U.S., a tortilla in Mexico, a glass of orange juice in the U.K., or a pork dumpling in China, and odds are Archer-Daniels Midland Co. has had a hand in it. For decades, ADM, once the self-styled supermarket to the world, helped put the big in Big Food. From trading soybeans to manufacturing high-fructose corn syrup to refining ethanol, it had reach and power rivaled by few in agriculture. But after years of slack growth in its old-line businesses, the 118-year-old giant is hitching its future to such things as pet food, veggie burgers, and probiotics. Nowhere is the company’s headfirst plunge into nutrition on better display than at its ADM Science and Technology Center in Decatur, Ill., a renovated 200,000-square-foot school building. There,…

covid threatens women pilots’ progress

Growing up in Amsterdam, Rachna Sharma Reiter felt like the exception. At age 7, she knew she wanted to be an airline pilot but never met any girls her age who shared that ambition. At flight school in the U.S., she was one of three women in a class of 150. After 16 years in the cockpit, she still finds herself being viewed as an anomaly. “It seems like things haven’t really changed,” says Reiter, who works for U.K. discount airline EasyJet Plc. “Whenever I go somewhere, they always tend to think I’m a flight attendant, even when I’m in my pilot’s uniform.” The path to the flight deck has never been easy for women. Beyond the gender assumptions, there are the structural forces impeding progress. Male-dominated militaries have long fed…

a race to the bottom

On July 24 a 40-foot-long boat called Maxlimer set out from the port of Plymouth on the southern coast of England, steering southwest out of the English Channel into the open ocean. The unmanned vessel, guided by pilots at a computer onshore, carries sonar that sends out an average of 10,000 sound pulses per hour to chart the topography of the ocean floor. The goal of the boat’s three-week journey was to put together for the first time a detailed map of about 600 square miles of Europe’s continental shelf, the place where the ocean floor plunges from a few hundred feet beneath the surface to several thousand. As the Maxlimer’s sonar pings bounced off the seabed, scientists around the world took turns listening for alarms indicating gales, approaching ships, or…

e-commerce turns fashionable

“So, what are you looking for?” the Lululemon staffer cheerfully asks. She handpicks a couple of pairs of yoga leggings that cost upwards of $100, but there’s a catch: There’s no way to try them on because the consultation is over Zoom. The half-hour conversation ends with the purchase of high-rise tights in heathered graphite gray, which show up two days later and fit. Retailers had been toying with features such as video chats and livestreaming to make e-commerce more pleasant and personable even before the coronavirus forced store closures. But months into a pandemic that still has people wary of going to the mall, the online shopping experiment is pivoting from hype to a longer-term strategy. Covid-19 has supercharged the threat e-commerce poses to brick-and-mortar chains—U.S. online sales in the…