A near dead heat in Sweden.
The prosperous Scandinavian country’s most significant election in generations left the ruling centre-left bloc holding the slenderest of leads over the opposition centre-right. But the nationalist anti-immigration Sweden Democrats made less of a breakthrough than some expected.
The ruling centre-left bloc gained 40.6 per cent of the vote and 144 seats in parliament against 143 for the centre-right, which took 40.3 per cent. The Sweden Democrats have 62.
Centre-right leaders called on Stefan Lofven to resign as prime minister and hinted that they may try to come to power, perhaps with the implicit support of the nationalists.
The FT’s Tony Barber writes that the chief lesson to draw from the result is that, “as in other western European countries, the electoral base of the leading mainstream parties, especially on the centre left, continues to erode”. (FT)
In the news
Trade war latest
White House officials are grappling with the question of how aggressive new levies should be, as they finalise plans to impose tariffs of up to 25 per cent on $200bn of Chinese imports. Meanwhile, Beijing is hoping Wall Street bankers can break the trade impasse, which has moved Apple into the crosshairs. In Europe, China’s Geely is to delay its initial public offering of Swedish carmaker Volvo because of concerns over its valuation in light of the trade war. Gideon Rachman comments that both the US and China are preparing for a trial of strength. (FT)
Les Moonves resigns
The CBS chief quit hours after fresh allegations were made against him by several women in the New Yorker magazine, which had originally reported alleged sexual misconduct. CBS said $20m would be deducted from any severance owed to Mr Moonves and donated “to one or more organisations that support the #MeToo movement”. (New Yorker, FT)
Brexit breakthroughs and bickering
The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier is preparing to give Theresa May a lifeline to close a Brexit deal. It would be welcome news after more fighting within the UK prime minister’s party at the weekend. Boris Johnson, former UK foreign secretary, came in for strong criticism for his language when he lambasted Mrs May’s Brexit strategy as wrapping “a suicide vest around the British constitution”. (FT)
Jack to hit the road
Daniel Zhang is to replace Jack Ma as chairman of Alibaba in one year, adding the role to his existing job as chief executive. The transition at the top of China’s most valuable company is the first generational change in the nation’s youthful private tech sector — and it was a decade in the making. (FT, Nikkei Asian Review)
Belt and Road rethink
Pakistan is seeking to review deals at the heart of China’s global infrastructure drive, joining a growing list of countries questioning the terms of their involvement in China’s new Silk Road, including Malaysia, which has cancelled three China-backed pipeline projects. (FT)
The fallout continued following Serena Williams’ loss to Naomi Osaka, a 20-year-old from Japan. While there are real gender issues in tennis, the New York Times said “the match tarnished tennis and was a stinging blow to sportsmanship”. Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic capped a resurgent 2018 by defeating Juan Martin Del Potro in straight sets to win his third US Open and 14th overall Grand Slam title. (NYT, FT)
The day ahead
Lift-off for SpaceX
Elon Musk’s SpaceX aims for orbit today in its first flight since August 5, the high-tempo company’s longest break between launches this year. Even if the company doesn’t meet its goal of flying every other week, it’s still on pace to carry out more launches than any other space company in 2018. (Quartz)
What we’re reading
In case you missed it, the weekend’s Big Read clearly explains Argentina’s crisis and the contagion haunting emerging markets. It also asks this vital question: if the country’s technocratic government, which heads the G20 and has followed economic orthodoxy while also enjoying full international support, cannot ride out fickle markets, who can? (FT)
Inside the fall of Abraaj Group
Staying with emerging markets, Dubai-based private equity group Abraaj was once a trailblazer for EM investment. Now it has collapsed, following a deal gone wrong, and the scandal underscores weakness in the broader investment industry. (FT)
The hard sell that spread opioids in the US
Our pharmaceuticals industry correspondent David Crow takes a deep dive into the opioid crisis, highlighting how sales techniques at Purdue Pharma to boost its OxyContin drug targeted inexperienced doctors, while underplaying the risks of abuse. (FT)
Scope for progress
The FT’s second annual gender diversity review polled 70 of the world’s biggest banks, insurers, asset managers and professional services companies about their efforts to promote gender diversity. The result? Marginal progress. Senior men still outnumber women almost 3:1. (FT)
Can chief execs get away with smoking pot?
Elon Musk may have been one of the few chief executives ever seen with marijuana in an online video interview. But as the legalisation movement lights up, he joins other business leaders who have been open about using cannabis. (FT, WSJ)
Most of us think every day about the weather on earth. But severe space storms could be even more destructive than extreme weather. The greatest solar storm on record for example, the so-called Carrington event of 1859, wrecked the world’s newly installed telegraph networks. (FT)
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Video of the day
Charts that count: how central banks used QE to stop another financial crisis
The FT’s John Authers on the differing strategies of the Fed, Bank of Japan and ECB.
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