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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

What we’re tracking on 02 August 2017

There’s plenty of news this morning on the economic front, but at the risk of coming across as pro-state toadies, may we just come out and cheer Education Minister Tarek Shawki? The man has proposed a complete overhaul of the country’s education system. There are many reasons why, in a nation of >100 mn, the private sector struggles to fill both blue- and white-collar vacancies — and the majority of those reasons rest in the education system. We have coverage in Last Night’s Talk Shows and Speed Round, below.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry arrives in Khartoum today for talks with his Sudanese counterpart on Khartoum’s ban on Egyptian agricultural imports, border issues and more, All Africa reports.

Supply Ministry to deduct overdue payments to bakers from deposits: Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy reached an agreement yesterday with bakery owners that will see the ministry deduct what it owes them in overdue ins. payments from deposits they are required to pay for flour under the newly-enacted subsidy system, according to a ministry statement. The ministry also extended the payment deadline and is giving bakers until the end of the week to pay the three-day ins. fee. Unhappy with the new system that forces them to purchase flour at market prices, bakeries across the country are still threatening to strike or shut down in reaction, according to Al Shorouk.

Open any business news website this morning and you’ll be forgiven for thinking there is only one story globally that matters: Apple shares hit a new record after the company posted its best non-holiday quarter in two years on strong iPhone, iPad and Mac sales. CEO Tim Cook also said that “We really like what we see for the beginning of the back-to-school season” as Apple “issued strong revenue guidance for its fourth fiscal quarter, suggesting strong sales growth year-over-year,” Business Insider reports. “The strong guidance also hinted at the launch of a redesigned iPhone in September, which is expected to sell briskly.” Bloomberg also takes a forward-looking view, and the story is getting extensive coverage in the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, depending on where you prefer to read your news. For geeks, Apple Insider, 9to5Mac and Macrumors are going wall-to-wall.

The bond market is a bubble at the moment, former Fed Chief Alan Greenspan says in an interview with Bloomberg. Real long-term interest rates are too low and unsustainable, Greenspan says, adding that when they do bounce back, the move upwards will be a rapid and could come as quite a shock. The former chairman references a theory known as the Fed Model to explain that the fact that bonds are outpacing equities as evidence that inflationary pressure isn’t priced into bonds. While stock markets have proven robust against dips in the bond market, the moves have been limited because low inflation and slow growth have kept yields also low through rough patches. Greenspan thinks that the looming USD 4.5 tn that the US government needs to unwind and the era of stimulus ending threaten to burst the bond bubble. But hey, he’s been wrong before.

Meanwhile: The greenback has bounced back from 15-month lows globally, GoldmanSachs is on a charm offensiveto climb out of last place in trading, and we’re really, really tired of reading stories such as “Saudi Aramco IPO Pits London Against New York” — choose, already.

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