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Before the vote to leave the EU, many Brexit supporters predicted that leaving would be very straightforward. Some said it would be striking the easiest trade deal in history because Britain would hold all the cards. Yet, more than two years since the vote to leave, there is still scarce clarity about where the process is heading or what the longer term relations between the UK and the EU will look like.

Philip Stephens argues in his latest column that the only certain thing about Brexit is the lack of certainty. Even if a withdrawal agreement is struck and the UK smoothly departs from the bloc next March, the crucial decisions will not have been taken. Or if the UK crashes out of the bloc without a formal arrangement, economic and administrative confusion lies ahead. Or if Article 50 is extended, as Philip reports some in Whitehall are privately discussing, it will only prolong the point at which decisions are taken.

Gillian Tett warns that the Khashoggi case puts US businesses in a bind. Corporate America, not the government, is becoming the arbiter of the nation's ideals.

Martin Wolf analyses the “known unknowns” about Britain's public finances ahead of the UK Budget, including the possible impact of a withdrawal deal with the EU.

Edward Luce argues that China and Russia have created a faultline in American politics. Much political bickering has ensued over who is most to blame.

Peter Atwater, president of Financial Insyghts, thinks that the recent earnings of US banks shows that the wealthy are gorging on credit.

What you've been saying

Mobility of financial assets has added to inequalities: letter from Gustavo Rinaldi, University of Turin, Italy
Wolfgang Munchau offers a compelling critique of our liberal multilateral economic order. I would add a further failure, in that this order provides asymmetrical guarantees, particularly towards capital versus labour. Financial assets have been allowed a freedom of movement which won’t ever in the foreseeable future be offered to workers. When a negotiation takes place, it is in the power of the more mobile party to determine terms and conditions; whence we find unequal division of rewards and the persistent growth in inequality.

In response to “Obamacare’s recovery defies the Republican death wish”, PastelSunrise says
Bernie was really on to something when he expounded a new form of friendlier American capitalism: an entrepreneurial state with a social safety net that works for all, not just for the very best off and corporate interests. It is very much an idea whose time will come.

Free Voter party could yet be the CSU’s salvation: letter from John Starrels, Chevy Chase, MD, US
The Bavarian vote results are indeed unsettling, as you point out in your editorial. But I would caution against going overboard. While the traditional ruling party, the Christian Social Union, took a beating, it still emerged as the single strongest party in Bavaria, garnering 37 per cent of the popular vote. As things now stand, I would at least provisionally add the 11 per cent Free Voter party to the conservative column: getting us 48 per cent of the vote total. No need to panic.

Today's opinion

‘Known unknowns’ to help the UK Budget for Brexit
The chancellor faces some difficult choices as the deadline looms

Khashoggi case puts US business in a bind
Corporate America has been left to carry the torch for western values

US bank earnings show the wealthy are gorging on credit
Loan portfolios are growing on the back of a strong economy and soaring financial markets

Inside Business: Planned IPO will test the value of Uber’s network
With its army of human drivers, the group should be best placed to bring in new tech

Japan’s superbly simple signs face death by committee
The pictographer who produced the first symbols frets the magic formula is being lost

Global Insight: The faultline in US politics caused by Russia and China
Political bickering over which country is most to blame undermines foreign policy

FT Wealth: Engaging with the world’s ills beats hiding in a bunker
Who are the true survivalists as New Zealand draws billionaires?

Brexit’s one certain outcome is uncertainty
Clarity on Britain’s future relationship with the EU is a long way off

FT View

The FT View: A longer Brexit transition can ease Britain’s trading troubles
UK-EU talks are struggling to make headway so more time can help

The FT View: The EU tries to jump-start its electric battery sector
Europe needs plants and technology to provide power cells for new generation of vehicles

The Big Read

The Big Read: Disillusioned Palestinians wary of new uprising in West Bank
Blighted by corruption and ignored by regional allies and the US under Trump, some warn of ‘total chaos’ to come

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