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Wednesday, 24 October 2018

What we’re tracking on 24 October 2018

It’s a busy news day at home and relatively quiet morning abroad as this interminably long week limps to a close. (Not that it’s been a bad week — just strangely…long.)

Groundwork for El Sisi’s visit to Khartoum: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will be in Khartoum today for minister-level meetings to lay the groundwork for President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit, according to Foreign Ministry statement. El Sisi will be in Khartoum tomorrow for talks with Sudanese counterpart Omar Al Bashir. Egypt and Sudan are expected to sign the final agreement for the 630 km railway line connecting the two countries, Sudan’s Transport Minister Hatem Al Ser said, according to Al Mal.

Is volatility coming back? That’s what the pundits would have you believe after “the S&P 500, Dow industrials and Nasdaq all dropped at least 1% [yesterday] before recovering in another bout of volatility,” according to the Wall Street Journal. What’s going on? The notion that quarterly earnings could weaken in the US—and crude posting its biggest one-day loss since July on “fears that Saudi Arabia could ramp up production as well as questions about whether global petroleum demand could be faltering.” October, the Journal says, “has shaken not just stocks but government bonds, currencies and commodities.”

Donald Trump has stepped up his attack on US Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell. “Every time we do something great, he raises the interest rates…[Powell] almost looks like he’s happy raising interest rates,” Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “Trump acknowledged the independence the Fed has long enjoyed in setting economic policy, while also making clear he was intentionally sending a direct message to Mr. Powell that he wanted lower interest rates.”

Paul Volcker is dying. That’s the backdrop for his wide-ranging (but not long) interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin, the founder of the New York Times’ Dealbook and co-creator of the awesome TV show Bns. Sorkin sat down with Volcker, the man who as Fed chairman broke the back of runaway inflation in US in the 1970s and early ‘80s, ahead of the release next week of his memoir Keeping at It: The Quest for Sound Money and Good Government. Volcker’s laments (“We’re in a hell of a mess in every direction”) come across as lively and obliquely prescriptive, not the grumbling of a man in his final days. Worth reading.

** #8 Pregnant? You’re helping give birth to Generation Alpha. Forget about Gen X, Millennials and Generation Z. It’s all about Generation Alpha. Or will soon be, marketing and media outfit Digiday suggests. Depending on who you listen to, they’re kids born sometime starting 2007-10 — and some 2.5 mn of them are being born around the world every week. Gen Alpha is expected to be the longest-living generation as well as the wealthiest, according to accounting and consulting outfit Grant Thornton. Where do you fall? Demographers differ on the subtle start and endpoints, but the consensus is something like this:

  • Gen X: early-1960s to early 1980s
  • Millennials: early 1980s to mid-1990s
  • Gen Z: early-to-mid 1990s to early 2000s
  • Gen Alpha: 2007-2010 and onward

And yeah, we feel Gen Z is a bit compressed, too. But the pundits say Gen Alpha is somehow distinct because it’s the first generation to be born entirely in the 2000s, whereas Gen Z stretches back into the 1990s.

The iPhone XS and XS Max should be out in Egypt starting today at Apple authorized resellers, we’re told. We’re drooling over the XS Max, where the 256GB model will set you back about EGP 30,700. Some in the tech press suggest the tradeoffs in the slightly less expensive iPhone XR are entirely worth it. Macworld has a roundup of reviews on the XR here. The XR is available for pre-order outside Egypt now for delivery starting Friday.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of leaks ahead of Apple’s iPad Pro and Mac event next week. MacRumors has the latest.

In miscellany this morning:

  • Reuters hosted a Twitter chat on life as a small business owner that’s surprisingly worth reading. You don’t have to be on tweeter to read it here.
  • It’s not just us: Americans can’t quit cash, either. (Financial TImes)
  • Why we don’t live in a real-life Man in the High Castle? Joachim Ronneberg, leader of raid that thwarted a Nazi atomic bomb, dies at 99 (NYT)
  • Morning routines: I’ve interviewed 300 high achievers about their morning routines. Here’s what I’ve learned. (NYT)
  • 2,000+ year-old Greek ship discovered virtually intact: Oldest intact shipwreck found 2 km down in Black Sea, scientists say. (CBC)

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