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Each day FT Leader writers on the Editorial Board meet to discuss the topics to be considered for Leader columns. Here are the issues that dominated this week:

Boris Johnson’s far-from-convincing win in a Tory party no-confidence vote is bad on all fronts, our leader writers concluded. “A bad result for him, and for his party. It is bad, above all, for the country [when] Britain faces momentous challenges at home and abroad.

We returned to the Ukraine crisis and opined on the idea that the assets of Russian oligarchs should be seized to pay for reconstruction. “The moral case for ensuring the ‘aggressor pays’ is powerful,” we wrote. “To retain the moral high ground, however, the democracies backing Ukraine must follow due process and the rule of law.”

Earlier we had urged trade unions, emboldened by resurgent popularity in the UK and US, to proceed carefully even as they make understandable pitches on behalf of their inflation-hit members. The FT view: “Unrest is rising, but prolonged strikes could squander public sympathy.”
UK growth is set to be the worst in the G20 apart from sanctions-hit Russia, according to OECD data - and that is down to the country’s unique predicament of high inflation, rising taxes and rising interest rates.

Inflation is still squeezing corporate and household incomes, underscoring the difficulties that Boris Johnson, a weakened prime minister, is likely to face in the months ahead as he tries to shore up support within his Conservative party after surviving a no-confidence vote this week. The FT’s in-depth analysis here. There is little prospect of relief: as FT commentator Paul Lewis explains, history tells us that UK interest rates will likely go up and up.

In the US, Bridgewater, the world’s biggest hedge fund, is taking a gloomy view on the trajectory of the global economy by betting against US and European corporate bonds, fearing sharp interest rate rises could “crack the economy”.

Greg Jensen, one of Bridgewater’s chief investment officers, told the FT he believed inflation would be far stickier than economists are predicting - which he thinks will put pressure on the Fed to raise rates more aggressively than Wall Street is expecting.

Europe, too, faces a miserable few months, says FT economics editor Chris Giles. The costs would be high if the European Central Bank does nothing to curb inflation, but the action it takes must be carefully calibrated. The ECB is expected to lay out plans today to end eight years of negative rates. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, is betting that the faltering economy will temper the central bank’s ability to raise rates. Credit Suisse has issued its third profit warning this year.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has warned of a debt crisis in low and middle-income countries, pushing millions into extreme poverty.

This week, the FT’s Unhedged newsletter asked readers for their economic predictions. Rates expert Ed Al-Hussainy of Columbia Threadneedle proposed a simple but sharp matrix of four economic scenarios for the next 12 months, capturing a wide range of likely outcomes: the Unhedged team plotted readers’ responses here. Most everyone seemed to agree that recession is coming.

All this will hit consumers - and consumer businesses. Buy Now, Pay Later is a model highly sensitive to pressure on household budgets and in urgent need of regulation in the face of rising interest rates, as I argue in my column this week.

Klarna, the Swedish fintech and the world’s biggest operator, set out to challenge a cosy credit card market long dominated by Visa and Mastercard. But the BNPL sector is unregulated. No one knows how big it is - though estimates for the UK market are as high as £16bn.

Klarna is facing a multitude of pressures, not least from Apple. The tech giant on Monday announced it was entering the arena with Apple Pay Later, which will allow iPhone and Mac users in the US to pay for purchases in four instalments over six weeks without interest or fees. The tech giant is foregoing bank financing to offer loans via a new subsidiary.

Profitability for Klarna even in good times has been thin or non-existent; its latest results show credit losses eating up a third of quarterly revenue and pushing the Swedish company to net losses of $265mn. Last month it laid off 10 per cent of its workforce - and that was before economic pressure really kicked in.

Elsewhere, companies are feeling the heat - and the indications are that the worst is yet to come.

Commodities trader Trafigura has warned oil prices could reach a ' parabolic state', with prices reaching record highs, as sanctions against Russia squeeze supplies. Chief executive Jeremy Weir told the FT oil prices could rise to $150 a barrel or more.

And investors are increasingly unhappy with executive pay. In the US, top managers look set to earn record amounts this year, prompting rebellions from a growing number of US investors, with some targeting individual board members to try to force direct action.

Different tensions at Toshiba, where “24 hours of boardroom mayhem” erupted after a fragile truce between shareholders and the company imploded. Ten potential buyers have submitted proposals, including private equity group Blackstone.

New chief executive Taro Shimada told the FT he would not hesitate to preside over a sale of the 146-year old Japanese conglomerate after a string of crises, including accounting fraud and a protracted war with activist investors.

In turbulent times, it is easy to forget the pressure on workers. How are they coping? They are working harder, to tighter deadlines and under greater levels of tension across all types of employment, says the FT’s Sarah O’Connor. Evidence suggests work has intensified, but it is not making them richer - in fact, it appears to be making them sicker.

Not everyone supports workers’ welfare and rights - and sometimes cultures clash. Joshua Ma, a senior executive at China’s ByteDance, which owns Tik Tok, has been replaced in his role this week after he outraged the company’s London-based staff. Ma told them that as a “capitalist” he “didn’t believe” companies should offer maternity leave.

The episode is emblematic of a broader clash within TikTok’s e-commerce division - about half the London team have left the company since its UK launch in October.

As the FT’s Cat Rutter Pooley points out, in a tight labour market, employers would be wise to make the costly, precarious childcare market their business.
Boards warned against rushing to settle with activists

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