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The German chancellor may not be leaving the stage immediately, but Angel Merkel's announcement on Monday that she will not seek re-election either as head of government or of her party, the CDU, opens a huge space in EU politics.

Tony Barber writes, in a column assessing Ms Merkel's legacy and dominance of the European scene, that the curbs that have restrained her ability to act will also limit whoever succeeds her.

He notes: “The moderate, even-tempered chancellor, affectionately known in Germany as 'Mutti' (mummy), is bowing out as exponents of authoritarianism, nativism, anti-establishment populism and contempt for the west’s post-1945 values consolidate their power across the world.”

But the Merkel record will be under scrutiny too, even from those who are sympathetic to her worldview and appreciate her steady hand. Her brand of consensus politics had its downsides, Tony argues: “For many years,[she] reassured the country’s risk-averse society, but in the end it fostered a fragmented party political scene that may make German leadership on the international stage even harder to bring about.”

In the first appearance of a new regular Saturday column, Camilla Cavendish argues that UK Chancellor Philip Hammond's Budget, delivered on Monday, may have handed political victory to the opposition Labour party.

Glenn Hubbard argues that the US can win a trade war with China by putting its own house in order

Henry Mance imagines a diplomatic world peopled by business tycoons, in accordance with UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt's vision

Best of the week

Philip Hammond hands his fiscal gift right back— Martin Wolf

Why globalism is good for you— Gideon Rachman

Walking with the Hondurans chasing the American dream— Jude Webber

Tech’s unhealthy obsession with hyper-targeted ads— Rana Foroohar

The untold career advantage of a little bit of luck— Tim Harford

Khashoggi killing resets US relationships in the Middle East— David Gardner

What you've been saying

RBS and the Brexit trade!: letter from Dermot Hardy, Leopardstown Valley, Dublin, Ireland

I had to wonder at the strategic vision of Royal Bank of Scotland as I read Lex, which stated that RBS has decided to take a precautionary £100m Brexit impairment charge, recognising the possibility that a no-deal could result in a rise in bad loans. However, at the same time the bank is also considering the possibility of returning up to £5bn in what it deems to be surplus capital to shareholders through share buybacks or a special dividend. Does the bank believe that the shareholders will be able to buy back their equity at a cheaper price post-Brexit?

In response to “Consumer brands do not miss a trick on Halloween spending”, AndrewH says:

Halloween's just much more fun than other holidays. Everyone gets to dress up, have a party and invite their family or not, unlike Christmas or Thanksgiving. Who wouldn't want an excuse to do that?

The Dixiecrats have been reincarnated in Trump: letter from Gordon Trawick, Montgomery, AL, US

Many people believe that there is a direct link between President Donald Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric and the synagogue shootings and pipe bomb attacks. Whether or not there is intelligent design behind the madness that is Trump, God alone knows. But the racist core of both his diatribes and the response to it has no equivalent anywhere left of the far-right. I am 75 years old, white and have lived my life in the remains of the Confederacy. Mr Trump is a reincarnation of all that was vile in the Dixiecrats.

Today's opinion

Hammond’s Budget moves to block Labour may hand the game to Corbyn
When Conservatives try to compete on public spending they can only lose

The FT View: America gives up writing the global trade rule book
Washington’s neglect of deals about regulation serves its companies ill

The Top Line: US companies have a political donation problem
For businesses worried about backing toxic candidates, Apple provides a simple answer

beyondbrics: Chemical output signals trouble for global economy
Falling output in China and slowing growth globally suggest difficult years ahead

The US can win China trade war by getting its own house in order
Rather than just complain about Beijing, invest in American research and people

FT Alphaville: Who cares if China rips off the US?

On Wall Street: Stocks just a sideshow to the real drama of bond markets
Banking’s diminished role in lending has enormous, still under-appreciated implications

Why novels feel smaller at the movies
The recent adaptation of ‘London Fields’ was a failure because the screen can’t match the page as a portal into other humans

The weird world of extreme wellness
From ayahuasca-filled retreats to the pleasures of assisted hair-brushing, the search for enlightenment has never been stranger

The curbs on Angela Merkel will also bind her successor’s hands
Her caution gave birth to the German verb ‘merkeln’, meaning ‘to hold off on a decision’

Free Lunch: The opportunity cost of laissez faire
White House report on socialism has not kept up with economic knowledge

The FT View: A business ethics class from Australian cricket
Cheating scandal has important lessons for bankers and executives

Ingram Pinn’s illustration of the week: Rhino horn medicine
China’s reversal of its ban on scientific use dismays conservationists

Undercover Economist: The untold career value of a little bit of luck at the outset
Research shows young people suffer lasting harm if they graduate during a recession

FT View

The FT View: America gives up writing the global trade rule book
Washington’s neglect of deals about regulation serves its companies ill

The FT View: A business ethics class from Australian cricket
Cheating scandal has important lessons for bankers and executives

The Big Read

The Big Read: The global hunt to tax Big Tech
The UK’s proposal for a digital levy is the latest effort by European governments to force technology companies to pay more

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