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Here’s what you need to know
The International Monetary Fund said the global economic recovery is stalling. The IMF cut its latest growth forecast and warned about diverging paths for rich and poor countries. Separately, the organization decided to keep its managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, who is accused of manipulating China’s business ranking when she was at the World Bank.
The US will ease travel restrictions across its land borders. Citizens of Canada and Mexico can now drive across the border to visit family and for other nonessential travel, as long as they’re fully vaccinated.
Apple is cutting its production targets for the iPhone 13. The sustained shortage of semiconductor chips is forcing the company to cut 10 million iPhones off its planned production for 2021. In fact, the crunch may be worsening; one analysis showed the time between ordering a chip and taking delivery of it has risen to a record 21.7 weeks.
China’s electricity costs are going up. Beijing said coal-fired power plants would be allowed to charge more, as it tries to fix supply issues that have led to electricity rationing and idled factories.
UK job openings hit a record high. Retail and hospitality are among the industries struggling to hire workers. Meanwhile, a House of Commons report called the UK’s early pandemic response “one of the most important public health failures” for the country.
The G20 will work with the Taliban on aid distribution. Leaders agreed it’s the only way to prevent a humanitarian crisis. The EU also announced additional funds, for a total of €1 billion, that will be sent directly to international aid groups.
What to watch for
Jeff Bezos’s space company, which you may remember sent him on an 11-minute trip to the edge of space earlier this year, is expected to launch its second spacecraft with passengers from Texas today at 9am US central time. You can watch the livestream, if you’re so inclined.
Blue Origin is currently facing a wave of criticism from current and former employees who say its toxic culture doesn’t reflect its futuristic goals—and could make the whole operation less safe. The company has downplayed these concerns. Bezos shared an old magazine cover on Twitter, apparently comparing employees alleging sexual harassment to critics of Amazon’s business model.
But hey, William Shatner—that’s Captain Kirk himself—is on today’s flight, and at 90 years old, will become the oldest human to leave the atmosphere. Also onboard are paying passengers, entrepreneurs Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries, and Blue Origin exec Aubrey Powers.
What does China want from COP26?
The COP26 climate change summit is just weeks away, and China remains one of few major greenhouse gas-emitting countries to not have submitted a new carbon-cutting plan. As the world’s top CO2 emitter, China plays a decisive role in the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. It’s rolled out a series of important pledges, but the details are fuzzy.
COP26 will be a crucial opportunity for leader Xi Jinping to sell people at home and abroad on its reputation as a clean-energy leader. The strategy, if it’s going to be successful, should really nail three key things:
1️⃣ Rebuild climate credibility
2️⃣ Lean into climate competition
3️⃣ Iron out some of those details
Quartz will be in Edinburgh for COP26, and we’d like to bring you along with us—via email of course. Sign up below for our free Need to Know: COP26 limited email and we’ll keep you posted.
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Ships weren’t ready for demand’s bend and snap
As Yale’s Stephen Roach warned 17 months ago, the global supply chain, which wasn’t ready for a sudden snap back of consumer demand, is now “dysfunctional across the board.” And conversations are on the rise about stagflation, an unpleasant state in which sputtering economic growth and joblessness coincide with rising inflation.
A demand boomerang paired with limited infrastructure has left cargo ships teetering at ports with more goods than ever before. At California’s Port of Long Beach, the average ship is holding 7,000 containers, 70% more than the pre-pandemic average of 4,000. It’s an increase that’s exacerbating logistical challenges at ports worldwide. The problem is infrastructure, and companies are on the hunt for viable alternatives.
We examine all the dominos in the shipping crisis in our latest Weekend Brief, only available to Quartz members. ✦ Keep tabs on the supply chain and a whole lot more—sign up today and get 40% off (use code QZEMAIL40).