James Ferguson

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To mark the occasion of the European single currency’s 20th birthday, Martin Wolf devotes this week’s column to an assessment of how successful the eurozone has been— and how it might fare in the next two decades.

Its very survival is a success, as Martin points out, but he argues that it has endured “because the costs of break-up, or even departure by individual members, look terrifying” and because “in the depths of the crises, policymakers did enough to keep it alive.” Furthermore, the reactions to the debt crisis have inflicted “deep and enduring economic, social and political wounds on vulnerable countries.”

An astonishing three-quarters of people in eurozone countries support the single currency, however, and he concludes that it is doomed to survive. Even so, only substantial change will ensure its good health.

Sarah O’Connor exposes the superficial UK government plans for post-Brexit immigration.

Roula Khalaf analyses Donald Trump’s hopes of defining his Middle East policy as the opposite of President Obama’s.

Lukasz Pawlowski writes from Poland on the shock reaction to the mayor of Gdansk’s assassination.

Nicholas Lardy argues that Xi Jinping’s turn away from the market puts Chinese growth at risk.

What you’ve been saying

When $10bn is ‘peanuts’ the metaphor is flawed, letter from Paddy Fletcher, London, UK

As Lex unpicks the share sale of AB InBev’s Asian operations ( January 11), I’m informed that a $10bn equity raise would amount to only “peanuts” in comparison with the $100bn debt load. At 10 per cent, I agree it is perhaps not the final answer, but surely higher than peanuts. Could we agree on a few more nut-sizing metaphors to bridge the gap? Perhaps peanuts (5 per cent), walnuts (around 50 per cent) and the full Brazilian of a 90 per cent solution.

In response to “ Brexiters’ delusions on trade die hard”, energy.org says:

If the UK did a free trade deal with China, what is left of its manufacturing industry would be decimated. China can make everything cheaper (including the cost of shipping to the UK) than anyone can do so here in the UK.

The place to solve Brexit is surely parliament, letter from Mark Solon, London, UK

The thought of a second referendum is very unappealing. As Winston Churchill said: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Parliament must come up with a solution.

Today’s opinion

Marking the euro at 20: the eurozone is doomed to succeed
The single currency endures, but significant adjustments are necessary

Markets Insight: Erratic yen moves test ‘safe haven’ thesis
Fourth-quarter fall in Japan’s currency challenges traders’ long-held assumptions

Poles crave the qualities Gdansk’s mayor had in abundance
The assassination of Pawel Adamowicz has unleashed a torrent of blame, anger and sorrow

Donald Trump struggles to be the Middle East’s anti-Obama
Pompeo’s speech highlights foreign policy parallels the US president prefers to ignore

Xi Jinping’s turn away from the market puts Chinese growth at risk
Credit is flowing to state-owned companies, not more productive private ones

FT Alphaville: Why the housing ladder doesn't exist anymore

Inside Business: China shifts from buying cars to sharing them
Fewer people want to buy automobiles because ride-sharing services are widely available

Britain’s blue-collar immigration plan is a superficial fix
The government is betting its terms will please citizens who are fed up with freedom-of-movement

FT Alphaville: Should China’s central bank buy local equities?

Advice from one female portfolio manager to others
The psycho-cultural barriers women face are hard to overcome because they are not obvious

Plastics and veganism: the new ethical frontiers
Has social media made consumer campaigns more effective?

Lombard: City recruiter just cannot avoid the Brexit and Trump questions
PageGroup discovers problem with textbook answers: they do not allow for reality

FT View

The FT View: Investigating fraud in Congo’s suspect elections
Electoral commission must prove honest dealing or conduct a recount

The FT View: US banks wake up to an easy money hangover
Balance sheets are strong, but business is going to become tougher

The Big Read

The Big Read: Why Trump’s America is rethinking engagement with China
The more aggressive US approach is part of a strategic shift that goes well beyond the trade war

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