Experimental feature

Listen to this article

00:00
00:00
Experimental feature

Sign up to receive FirstFT by email here

Ford has scrapped its plan to build a $1.6bn plant in Mexico, aiming instead to invest $700m in a Michigan factory where it will build a new suite of electric and hybrid vehicles. The move came hours after Donald Trump tweeted that General Motors should build its cars domestically or pay a stiff import tax. On the same day the president-elect announced that Robert Lighthizer, a vocal advocate of protectionism, was his choice to be US trade representative.

Ford’s decision also came on the same day that House Republicans dropped a plan to scale back ethics oversight in Congress after a rebuke from Mr Trump on Twitter, who wanted the plan delayed. The intervention gave a hint of the influence the president-elect is already wielding over Republican lawmakers before he takes power. (FT)

In the news

Turkish state of emergency Parliament in Ankara is set to extend a state of emergency for another 90 days, with a manhunt still under way for the gunman who opened fired in Istanbul’s Reina nightclub on New Year’s Eve, killing 39 people. The state of emergency has been in place since a failed coup attempt in July, and critics say President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is using it to stifle opponents. The lira fell to a record low amid concerns about inflation and fallout from the terror attack. (FT)

Indonesia takes on JPMorgan Jakarta said it had severed all ties between the finance ministry and JPMorgan after the investment bank downgraded Indonesia’s sovereign debt in mid-November. The bank’s report downgraded the debt by two categories to “underweight”. JPMorgan shrugged off the announcement, saying the impact on its clients is minimal. (FT)

Korean scandal widens South Korean prosecutors are trying to extradite the daughter of Choi Soon-sil, the “shaman adviser” to the country’s suspended president’s. Ms Choi is accused of using her position as the leader’s confidante to influence government decisions in favour of foundations under her control. Prosecutors are seeking to extradite her daughter from Denmark for questioning. (FT)

Brexit complexity Britain’s ambassador to the EU unexpectedly and abruptly resigned weeks before the UK plans to begin formal talks to leave the EU. Colleagues said Sir Ivan Rogers was “frustrated” that his warnings about Brexit’s complexity were being ignored. (FT)

Chinese FDI surges in US Despite Donald Trump’s Beijing bashing on the campaign trail, Chinese companies invested a record $45.6bn in the US in 2016. That’s three times the 2015 levels of Chinese investment in the US. But Mr Trump’s appointment of China hawks to his cabinet could mean that Chinese FDI in the US will slow. (FT)

Kelly moves to NBC Megyn Kelly, one of Fox News’s top presenters, will leave the US cable network to work at NBC. The US election powered Fox News to record ratings, and it ended the year as the leading US cable network for the first time in its 20-year history. Ms Kelly made headlines for her clashes with Donald Trump and for her allegations that Roger Ailes, the former Fox News chief, had sexually harassed her. (FT, NYT)

It’s a big day for

The Fed The US Federal Reserve will release minutes from its final meeting of 2016, during which it raised interest rates for the second time in a decade.

Food for thought

Investing in 2017 The overwhelming probability is that the world economy will grow in 2017, writes the FT’s Martin Wolf. But while political risk did not have a huge effect on economic outcomes in 2016, that could change in 2017. The full repercussions of Donald Trump’s win, Brexit, the oil market, and China’s debt will all affect markets. FT reporters have compiled the most pressing market issues facing investors in 2017. (FT)

Russia goes it alone The Bazhenov formation is the single largest deposit of shale oil in the world, but sanctions bar US and EU companies from providing technology or services to Russian shale oil projects. That means Gazprom Neft, the oil division of Gazprom, the state-controlled gas giant, is flying solo when it comes to trying to deliver a Russian shale energy revolution. (FT)

Airbnb counts compliance cost Airbnb will miss out on more than $400m worth of bookings in London this year as it enforces its new 90-night limit for hosts in the city, according to research by the FT. London is the company’s second-largest market and the findings highlight the growing cost of regulatory compliance for the high-profile Silicon Valley start-up, which has benefited from tax advantages that favour its business model. (FT)

Five African elections to watch The coming year will see five African elections, despite polls showing that many citizens do not consider ballots in their countries to be free and fair. Democracy campaigners hope that this year’s votes will follow the Ghanaian model, where Nana Akufo-Addo was elected in 2016, rather than that of Gambia, where President Yahya Jammeh conceded defeat, only to reject the result a few days later. (Quartz)

Russia’s state-backed private bank Russia’s use of little-known private banks to help circumvent western sanctions over the Ukraine conflict, allowed one, Otkritie, to make billions in a multibillion dollar trade, raising fears that it is creating risks for the Russian state. (FT)

Putting out fires with half the water Fires in Indonesia during 2015 were the worst since 1997, forcing the state-run airline Garuda Indonesia to cancel more than 400 flights. One Japanese soapmaker is taking on the annual forest fires on by developing a foam agent that is easier on the environment by using less water. (NAR)

History’s comfort If you think 2016 was bad, take comfort in history. The eruption of Mount Toba 75,000 years ago caused a “volcanic winter” that nearly killed off humanity while, in the 1340s, the Black Death also killed off millions. More recently in 1918, during the closing stages of the first world war, an outbreak of “Spanish Flu” killed up to 50m people. (The Conversation)

Alt-right buoyed by cyber space Social media proved to be a political game-changer in 2016, spurring the rise in the US of a vocal, rightwing extremism with white supremacist and fascist leanings. But it is a tool both sides can deploy: if the medium can be used to disseminate fake news and sanitise hate, it can also be used to spread accurate facts and benefit progressive voices. (Vox)

Video of the day

Inside Brexit How Britain lost the European plot. The FT talks to politicians and strategists to find the real story behind the EU referendum. (FT)

Get alerts on World when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.