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Bond Bubble, PayPal Woes, Australian Rules: CEO Daily for February 1, 2018

Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve Chairman Photo by Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Good morning.

The Federal Reserve voted unanimously to keep its key interest rate unchanged at 1.25-1.5% yesterday, in Janet Yellen’s last act before handing over the reins to Jay Powell on Monday. But Powell may be in for a wild ride if his predecessor Alan Greenspan is to be believed. Greenspan, 91, told Bloomberg TV yesterday that both the stock and the bond markets are “bubbles.”

“At the end of the day, the bond market bubble will eventually be the critical issue, but for the short term it’s not too bad,” Greenspan said. “But we’re working, obviously, toward a major increase in long-term interest rates, and that has a very important impact, as you know, on the whole structure of the economy.”

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Greenspan tied the problem to rising government deficits, and said he was surprised President Donald Trump didn’t say how he was going to pay for his infrastructure spending in Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

In other news, the iconic American copier company, Xerox, is getting folded into Japan’s Fujifilm and—after 111 years—will cease to exist. And the iconic American publishing company, Time Inc., ended its 95-year run yesterday. As of this morning, I’m a proud employee of Meredith Corporation (but still up early writing this newsletter.)

More below.

Top News

PayPal Out, Adyen In

PayPal’s share price was decimated after eBay announced it was ditching its long-running partner as the default payment option in favor of the Dutch processor Adyen. The online marketplace will give its customers the option of staying on the site and using Adyen to pay for their purchases, or leaving the site and using PayPal. CNBC

Australia Curbs Foreign Investment

In a move aimed at stemming Chinese influence, Australia is set to tighten its rules on foreign investment in the power and agricultural sectors. Agricultural land will have to be offered to Australian buyers for a month before outsiders can buy it, and ownership restrictions or conditions will be attached to future foreign applications for the sale of electricity transmission and distribution assets. Financial Times

Facebook’s Falling Usage

People are using Facebook a little bit less these days—50 million hours a day, representing a 5% drop. That came out as part of the social network’s fourth-quarter results, which showed profit growth but less than analysts were hoping for. Facebook had already predicted that changes to its news feed would lessen the amount of time people spend there. User numbers are up, though. Fortune

Russia Meeting Cover Story

Special counsel Robert Mueller is particularly keen to talk to President Trump about the news release issued last year regarding that 2016 meeting between his son, campaign officials, and a Russian lawyer. The statement, drawn up on Air Force One, misleadingly suggested that the meeting was about Russian adoption policy, rather than being an attempt to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton. New York Times

Around the Water Cooler

China Export Nerves

Chinese exporters are not big fans of the yuan’s increasing strength against the U.S. dollar. Some are reportedly theorizing that the dollar’s weakness is a “currency war” strategy against China. “Actually it is the large fall in the U.S. dollar index, rather than the U.S. government’s [anti-dumping] policies on imported solar products and washing machines, that signals the start of a trade war,” said one government think tank researcher. South China Morning Post

Soccer Racism Outrage

The London soccer club West Ham has suspended its director of player recruitment, Tony Henry, after he reportedly told agents he didn’t want to sign any African players as they “cause mayhem.” Henry said African players “have a bad attitude.” “West Ham United will not tolerate any kind of discrimination,” the club said in a Thursday statement. Daily Mail

Singapore Vaping Ban

Singapore introduced a ban on vaping today, through the enactment of a legal change that was made back in November. Those trying to kick the smoking habit there will now need to rely on nicotine patches and gum. But the country’s health ministry says the ban on e-cigarettes (and shisha, and chewing tobacco) will stop youngsters from getting acquainted with nicotine in the first place. Channel NewsAsia

Zimbabwe’s Missing Millions

Zimbabwean officials are trying to recover millions of dollars’ worth of cash and assets sent out of the country as Robert Mugabe’s regime neared its end. The repatriation campaign will begin in earnest once an amnesty allowing the voluntary surrender of assets runs out at the end of next month. However, there are signs that the campaign might be a tool for new President Emmerson Mnangagwa to use against his enemies. Guardian

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer. Find previous editions here, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters here.

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