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US regulators have begun easing the Volcker rule ban on risk-taking by banks, a centrepiece of post-financial crisis reforms. Fed chair Jay Powell said regulators wanted to “replace overly complex and inefficient requirements” with more streamlined ones.

The FT’s financial editor Patrick Jenkins says that while the bulk of Volcker reforms seem sensible, there is danger in the broader deregulatory mood in the US. “Much of the populism evident in Italy now, and across the world in recent years, was triggered in part at least by a resentment with policymakers who allowed the 2008 crisis to happen. Repeating those mistakes so soon is not only financially irresponsible, it is politically incendiary.” (FT)

In the news

Draghi’s dilemma
The turmoil in Italy means tough choices for the European Central Bank as it tries to contain market volatility while sticking to its plans to end monetary support. Mario Draghi, head of the Bank of Italy before his ECB appointment, knows first-hand how important the country is to his mandate to ensure eurozone stability. (FT)

Hope for Trump-Kim summit
“Very positive.” That was what the White House had to say after Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, met a top North Korean official in New York, as both sides tried to pave the way for a historic summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in June. In a visit to Pyongyang, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov called for an end to sanctions against North Korea to encourage denuclearisation. (FT)

And that other Trump-Kim summit
Mr Trump and fellow reality TV star Kim Kardashian met at the White House on Wednesday to discuss prison reform and sentencing. Ms Kardashian has been campaigning for the release of Alice Marie Johnson, who received a life sentence in 1996 for her role in a cocaine ring. (HuffPost)

Wilbur Ross rebuffs EU
Writing in the FT, Wilbur Ross, US commerce secretary, lashed out at the EU’s new data privacy rules. He also rebuffed Europe’s demands for a permanent exemption from new metals tariffs. He called on the EU to follow China’s example in negotiating with the US. (FT)

‘Murdered’ Russian journalist is alive and well
Russian journalist and prominent critic of the Kremlin Arkady Babchenko apologised for his “bizarre” fake assassination. He said it was part of an elaborate plan to foil a planned real hit by Russia’s secret services. The Ukraine has been sharply criticised for its part in the fake murder. (FT, BBC)

UK cracks down on drones near airports
The UK government said “drone incidents with aircraft” had risen from six in 2014 to 93 last year, as it announced rules to ban drones from flying within 1km of airports. (FT)

The day ahead

Israel, Russia talk on Syria
The Israeli and Russian defence ministers meet in Moscow to discuss the Syrian civil war. It comes against the backdrop of Israeli calls for an end to any Iranian military presence in Syria and concerns over Moscow’s support for Bashar al-Assad’s government. (Foreign Brief)

Personal consumption data
As the Fed charts its course on monetary policy this year, attention turns to personal consumption expenditures, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure which is part of the personal income report. This data, along with Friday’s jobs report, should help give policymakers a better picture for their dual mandate of maintaining stable prices as well as maximum employment. (FT)

What we’re reading

An unusual family approach to investing
JAB Holdings, the family investment group that this week acquired the UK sandwich chain Pret A Manger for £1.5bn, has an unconventional way of investing. The FT’s John Gapper thinks that is a good thing. “JAB is an innovative combination of ownership and investment in a world that needs challengers to stock market ownership and private equity.” (FT)

Adland caught by surprise
When Martin Sorrell left the advertising group WPP last month after 33 years in charge, he signed off his departure note to employees with the words “Back to the Future”. He was not kidding. The FT’s media editor Matthew Garrahan parses whether Sir Martin can rebuild a new communications group in the mould of WPP. (FT)

The plan to save Russian football
Russian football is in a sorry state on the eve of hosting a World Cup tournament that will be watched by a global audience. Enter Sergei Galitsky, Krasnodar FC’s billionaire owner, who believes his seemingly impossible goal can change all of that. (FT)

Chinese public companies connect with the world
A careful selection of mainland-listed companies have been chosen for inclusion in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index from Friday, obliging asset managers all over the world to consider investing in them. Some see it as a huge opportunity, others are filled with dread. (FT)

School shootings have a deadly allure
Interviews with law enforcement officials, researchers, students and a gunman’s mother show that the school-shooting copycat syndrome in the US has steadily escalated in recent years. Much of it can be traced to the two killers at Columbine in 1999. (NYT)

‘The Tower
This essay on the Grenfell Tower fire by award-winning writer Andrew O’Hagan is an extremely detailed and human account of the blaze and the angry aftermath, starting with the night it happened. The tragedy still casts a shadow over Britain and perhaps that is why the essay takes up the entire latest issue of the London Review of Books. (LRB)

Video of the day

The Brexit Files: the hit to the UK economy
In the first part of The Brexit Files series, the FT’s economics editor Chris Giles unpicks the numbers to set out the impact of Brexit on the UK economy under the various likely scenarios.


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