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The UK’s Brexit secretary, David Davis, has acknowledged that his government has not made a “satisfactory” assessment of the economic impact of leaving the EU without a deal with Brussels. Speaking before MPs on the House of Commons Brexit committee on Wednesday morning, Mr Davis acknowledged that British businesses will face tariffs and non-tariff barriers if no deal can be agreed, but in comments that will not reassure his critics, said: “It’s not as frightening as some people think.”

Prime minister Theresa May has repeatedly said that “no deal is better than a bad deal”, but critics say the lack of an agreement could lead to Britain’s economy falling off a cliff. The prime minister scored a big victory this week with the passing of her Brexit bill, which will leave her free to trigger Article 50 and begin the process of leaving the EU. But uncertainty over the UK’s economic outlook saw the value of the British pound tumble. (FT)

In the news

South Korea poll South Korea will hold a presidential election on May 9 to replace impeached leader Park Geun-hye, who was dismissed last Friday over a corruption scandal. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who has also been acting president since December, has said he will not run in the election. Meanwhile, prosecutors have summoned the former president for questioning on March 21. (Jazeera, Reuters)

Trump emissions review Donald Trump will order the reopening of future fuel economy and emissions standards for US cars, in a move that could slow down development of electric vehicles and new efficiency technologies. The move had been sought by the large car manufacturers and coincides with a visit by the president to Michigan to meet industry executives and workers. (FT)

Saudi Arabia reassures the marketOil prices have rallied after the world’s biggest oil exporter tried to allay fears that the kingdom was backing away from its pledge to curb production. The rare statement from the kingdom’s energy ministry came just as global benchmark Brent crude slipped towards $50 a barrel for the first time this year. Here are five things to watch as oil prices fall. (FT)

Another bumpy ride for Toshiba Shares plunged as much as 13 per cent after the company was put under supervision by Tokyo’s stock exchange. The Japanese conglomerate must clear a number of hurdles to avoid being delisted, including the disposal of its nuclear division responsible for its distress. (NAR, FT)

Turkey reassures Turkey’s minister for the EU, Omer Celik, has attempted to reassure Dutch investors that their investments are safe despite the escalating diplomatic row between the two countries. His comments come a day after Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that Turkey could impose economic sanctions on the Netherlands. The EU has accused Turkey of being “completely detached from reality” after president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a number of European countries — including the Netherlands — were behaving like Nazis. (Reuters, Politico)

It's a big day for

The Netherlands Dutch voters today head to the polls in a closely watched election that will reveal a lot about whether the populism that propelled Donald Trump into office and the UK into the Brexit vote has taken hold in Europe. All eyes will be on how the anti-Muslim, anti-immigration Party for Freedom, led by Geert Wilders, fares. (FT)

US rates The Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise rates, amid a backdrop of sky-high business confidence that the Trump administration will slash taxes and regulation. (FT)

Food for thought

Reviving Africa’s biggest telecoms group Nigeria is key to the fortunes of South African telecoms company MTN. But the country’s economic crisis, along with delicate political relations, are hitting the company hard. A new chief executive, Rob Shuter, is tasked with turning around the $17bn business. (FT)

The folly of Trump’s trade bilateralism Martin Wolf on how Mr Trump’s team of economic nationalists prefer the exercise of US power to actual co-operation. “We must be grateful that the catastrophes of the 1930s had then discredited the holders of similarly narrow nationalist and protectionist visions. It is horrifying to imagine what would have happened if these people had held sway. They would have been desperately wrong then. They are wrong now. They must lose. Our fate depends on it.” (FT) 

Why is Silicon Valley so awful to women? Tech companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to improve conditions for female employees. Here’s why not much has changed — and what might actually work. (Atlantic)

Generation jail Egyptian democracy activists toppled a dictator in 2011 but are battling unprecedented repression under Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s presidency. Some 60,000 political prisoners are estimated to be in jail in a crackdown that far exceeds that of his ousted predecessor. And most Egyptians support him — for now. (NYT)

Gangster’s paradise In the marketplace of jail beds for rent in Southern California, Seal Beach has gained a reputation as the go-to jail for many deep-pocketed offenders. Says one former chief executive paying $100 a night for the privilege of serving his 90-day sentence with flatscreen TVs and yoga sessions: “This is like paradise.” But does it go against the basic system of punishment for committing crimes? (LAT)

Video of the day

Article 50: defusing the Brexit time bomb? The EU and UK are squaring up for a tough battle as Brexit negotiations get under way. FT Brussels bureau chief Alex Barker looks at a separation process that’s shaping up to be mission impossible. (FT)

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