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The momentum of global economic growth slowed significantly in 2018. So how concerned should we be?

According to Martin Wolf, a mild slowdown is to be expected given how long the current cyclical upswing has lasted. And, he argues, there is a difference between such a downturn and a full-blown global recession. In normal circumstances, it would be relatively easy to ride it out.

But these are not normal circumstances. Long-term structural changes to the global economy have made it more fragile. And these have in turn had profound political effects which make handling even a limited slowdown very tricky.

Anne-Marie Slaughter writes that Senator Elizabeth Warren’s declaration as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the US presidency has kick-started a debate among Democrats about the future of American foreign policy.

Brooke Masters asks if further trouble is in store for Credit Suisse after three of its former bankers were charged with fraud and bribery in the Mozambican “tuna bonds” scandal.

Chloe Cornish finds that Iraqi stockpickers remain optimistic about their country’s future, despite continued violence and political turmoil.

Conservative MP and chair of the House of Commons Treasury select committee Nicky Morgan contends that a Norway-style Brexit would protect the interests of the UK financial services industry.

What you’ve been saying

Trump’s ‘steel curtain’ recalls European divisions, letter from Roger Ashby, Cannes, France

In his attempt to circumvent the stalemate with Congress, Donald Trump has revised his original proposal that the definition of a “wall” is a structure built with cement. Now he says a steel fortification is not so different. Maybe he is thinking of erecting an “iron curtain”, harking back to Winston Churchill’s use of the terminology when speaking in Fulton, Missouri relating to Stalin’s vision of the separation of communities.

In response to “ We must prepare now for the likelihood of a recession”, ecoview says:

Nobody ‘walks the talk’ on implementing counter cyclical policies. OECD and G20 countries did not start their much needed large infra projects several years ago due to misguided austerity policies. In the meantime, central banks have been expanding monetary bases with money to nowhere. Based on past history, economic cyclicality remains to haunt us.

A solution from history for navigating Brexit, letter from Gavin Sellers, London, UK

UK prime minister Theresa May should not be too concerned ( January 7). When Magellan and Drake set off into uncharted waters their expeditions sailed all the way round the world but ended up in Europe.

Today’s opinion

Lex: Manchester United: reds bedevilled
Football club needs goals more than visitor attractions

Why the world economy feels so fragile
Political instability will make it harder to ride out a slowdown

Markets Insight: Banca Carige shows that Italy remains master of the bank bailout
Country’s new populist government turns to an old playbook as Genoan lender struggles

Lex: Geely/China autos: higgledy-piggledy
Vehicle market is a quarter larger than Europe’s, but sales are falling fast

Lex: Deutsche Bank/bonuses: injury time
Christian Sewing’s task is to atone for the own goal of a 93 per cent cost-income ratio

Iraqi stockpickers see a silver lining as public mood darkens
Despite challenges, fund managers eye potential for returns in the thinly traded exchange

beyondbrics: Kim’s resignation from World Bank leaves multilateralism at stake
Choice of next president will test institution’s legitimacy and relevance

Lex: Amazon/smart devices: home invasion
Privacy is the only stumbling block

Tuna bond scandal may spell more trouble for Credit Suisse
Prosecutors could yet conclude that the bank put business interests before compliance

fastFT: Opening Quote: Morrisons compensates for Christmas competition

Democrats draw foreign policy battle lines
Moderates and progressives disagree on the nature and scope of American leadership

Norway-style Brexit would allow UK to shape rules on finance
Inside EFTA and EEA, we would have a voice, a vote and right to reject regulations

FT Alphaville: The tech sector is over

‘Advocating for’ is the top US linguistic import
Turning nouns into verbs is as much a British as American habit

The Commodities Note: Opec’s usual oil cut gambit unlikely to move the needle
Saudi Arabia needs to trim quality not just volume in order to balance markets

Tail Risk: Credit investors should be wary of tech disruption risk Corporate cash flows may seem solid but tech breakthroughs could change the outlook

Lex: US stock exchanges: members and privileges
Innovators and regulators are taking aim at exchange fees

Lex: Barclays: Ed the Shred
Formidable raider must show he has a better plan than chief Jes Staley

America’s students should take a less indebted path
The casino-like system means universities win the loan dollars; students pay regardless

FT View

The FT View: Ghosn case puts Japan’s justice system on trial
Former Nissan chairman’s court appearance highlights need for reforms

The FT View: London’s financial sector will take a knock in 2019
With or without a Brexit deal, the City’s pre-eminence will be shaken

The Big Read

The Big Read: Data brokers: regulators try to rein in the ‘privacy deathstars’
Companies that collect consumer information have operated in the shadows. But calls are growing for tougher rules

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