China pledges currency stability, taxing times for the super-rich and digital dilemmas

The daily briefing “FirstFT” from the Financial Times.

In a rare press conference this morning, the People’s Bank of China vowed to keep the renminbi stable following a 3 per cent slide in the currency this week. The bank’s vice governor said reports that it wanted to see the currency depreciate by 10 per cent were “groundless”.

The statement appeared to have the intended effect, with the renminbi only 0.33 per cent weaker than yesterday, versus a fall of nearly 1 per cent before the press conference. (fastFT)

In the news:

Germany unhappy with Greek deal

An increasingly isolated Berlin criticised an outline deal between Athens and its bailout monitors as insufficient, even as a memorandum of understanding obtained by the FT revealed the unprecedented control the EU will have over Greece. (FT)

Taxing times for the super-rich

The world’s uber wealthy should expect some undesired attention after the OECD called on revenue authorities to be more “vigilant” in monitoring the richest taxpayers. The move by the Paris-based organisation is a further sign of the pressure on tax departments to squeeze more out of the wealthy elite. (FT)

Deadly blasts rock Chinese port city

At least 17 people have been killed and hundreds injured after two explosions rocked Tianjin. The first blast occurred in a warehouse storing “dangerous goods” including explosives, and was followed seconds later by another blast equivalent to 21 tons of TNT. (FT)

The global oil glut

Worldwide supplies are growing at “breakneck speed”, which will persist well into next year, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. The drop in prices is pushing up demand at the fastest pace in five years. (FT)

Labour at war

As the leadership contest in the main opposition party heats up, former prime minister Tony Blair has warned the party risks “annihilation” if Jeremy Corbyn wins the vote. “The party is walking eyes shut, arms outstretched over the cliff’s edge to the jagged rocks below,” he said. (The Guardian)

It’s a big day for:

Samsung, which will debut two new large-format smartphones in New York at its second major product launch this year. The company is hoping the new products will help it gain ground lost to Apple and the iPhone 6 Plus. (Computer World)

Malaysia, which is set to report second-quarter GDP data just a day after the ringgit chalked up two ignominious milestones: the currency weakened past the key psychological level of 4 ringgit to the US dollar – a level not seen since the Asian financial crisis in 1998 – and it depreciated for a 10th consecutive session. (FT)

Food for thought:

More Scientology than science

Researchers in the US are testing a controversial “purification” theory – first concocted by the founder of the Church of Scientology – on veterans suffering from Gulf war syndrome. And the funding is coming from taxpayer dollars. (The Daily Beast)

The digerati’s existential dilemma

When Benedict Cumberbatch begged fans to stop recording his shows following a recent performance of Hamlet, he raised an issue that cuts to the heart of modern life: if we are constantly recording and sharing, are we ever experiencing? (FT)

Look up to the skies and see

The widely anticipated Perseid meteor shower reaches its zenith tonight. Stargazers across the UK can expect good conditions as the shower coincides with a new moon, creating a darkened sky. (BBC)

Toil, trouble and tension

Are British companies complicit in modern-day slavery? The government argues migrant workers are abusing the country’s generous welfare state. But new research suggests these labourers are frequently paid less than the minimum wage and may even be asked to surrender their passports. (FT)

Down and out at the UN

A 22-year-old intern at the UN in Geneva has been forced to live in a tent because he could not afford accommodation. David Hyde has been sleeping on a patch of ground overlooking Lake Geneva not far from the UN Beach Club, where well-heeled employees sunbathe, paddle in the water and sip aperitifs at the bar. (The Local)

Video of the Day:

Two signals from China

After a wild day of trading on world markets, John Authers suggests that the renminbi’s appreciation late in the day may have sent a more important signal than its earlier devaluation. (FT)


This article is published in collaboration with The Financial Times. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

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Author: FirstFT is the Financial Times’ editors curated free daily email of the top global stories from the FT and the best of the rest of the web.

Image: A Chinese national flag flutters in front of the headquarters of the People’s Bank of China, China’s central bank, in central Beijing, May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic

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