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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:

UK politics - and its fallout - have dominated the agenda of the FT's Editorial Board in recent days.

We began the week with a swipe at the prime minister and chancellor ahead of the Tory party conference, urging Liz Truss to "heed economic orthodoxy, not ignore it" in an effort to undo the damage wreaked by the "mini" Budget's programme of unfunded tax cuts.

There was a rethink of sorts on day one of the conference, but only relating to the controversial axing of the 45p tax rate. The ditching of that plan was a welcome, if humiliating, U-turn, we said, but as long as vast borrowing was slated to support tax cuts, confidence would not be restored. “ Financial markets will not see this as significantly easing the economic uncertainties that Truss and [chancellor Kwasi] Kwarteng helped create.

At the heart of the gilt market turbulence of last week were the UK's defined benefit pension schemes, and the derivatives structures that were supposed to make them safer, not riskier.

Our editorial board took aim at the lax regulation that allowed these so-called LDI strategies to run wild.

But it concluded that the "original sin" lay with the government's irresponsible "mini" Budget and concluded: “With a government prioritising growth at all costs and a slashing of red tape, the near-term chances of even sensible guardrails seem slim.”

Oil production cuts defy US 

Washington accused Opec+ of aligning with Russia this week, after Saudi Arabia led the group of oil producing countries in agreeing deep oil-production cuts to 2mn barrels per day at a meeting in Vienna. 

That prompted a backlash against the cartel from countries already battling surging energy inflation triggered by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. 

US president Joe Biden has been lobbying to drive down oil prices before the mid-term elections in November, and deprive Russia of revenues.

But Riyadh and Moscow are pushing for production cuts to halt the slide in oil prices, which have fallen from about $120 a barrel in early June to about $94, a drop that has hit Russian state revenues. 

The decision puts Saudi Arabia on a collision course with the US - and drives the kingdom closer to Moscow. Our analysis explains the story behind the tensions. 

Writing in the FT, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, called for “a genuine energy union” in the bloc in the face of rising prices. 

“The energy crisis has exposed the cracks in a union composed of 27 energy private preserves”, he wrote. Belgium’s prime minister, Alexander De Croo, argued an EU energy pact is vital to avert industrial decline and social unrest.  

The UK already faces a “security premium” for long-term gas supplies, locking the government into expensive deals with foreign states including Norway and Qatar in return for boosting energy security. Cat Rutter Pooley explains why Truss’s energy policy has made it more expensive than it needed to be.

Musk’s Twitter premium deal

After nearly six months of wrangling, Elon Musk’s U-turn on his $44bn Twitter acquisition deal this week was an embarrassing climbdown for the impulsive millionnaire. 

Twitter has agreed to delay a deposition by Elon Musk scheduled for Thursday as the sides hash out a way to close the Tesla chief’s $44bn buyout of the social network. 

Musk said on Tuesday the deal was back on, less than a fortnight before he was due in court to defend a legal attempt by Twitter to force him to close the deal. Analysts say it points to a weakness in his case. 

He at least appeared to shrug it off, tweeting his intention to transform the social media platform into an “X - the everything app”. But the battle has been taxing for both sides, and the deal has yet to be done. 

In a brutal year for technology investors, Musk’s Twitter deal has been a bright spot, despite the fact that neither side seems to want it. 

Lex explains why the Tesla chief is paying a theoretical 300 per cent premium, and why a bid at the agreed price would boost trust in fair trading.   

Truss struggles to control unruly Tories


Liz Truss’s authority is looking increasingly undermined, after a disastrous week of policy climb downs, party infighting and dire approval ratings for the UK prime minister. She has been in the job for less than a month. 

She attempted to assert control with a speech at the Tory party conference in Birmingham, stressing her commitment to fiscal discipline, while also arguing her party faced an “anti-growth coalition” opposed to her fiscal policy.

Last month’s “mini” Budget, which included £45bn of unfunded tax cuts, prompted wild gyrations in sterling and gilt markets. At the height of the turmoil, the £39bn Pension Protection Fund, the UK’s pensions lifeboat, was itself forced to provide £1.6bn in cash as additional security for derivative-linked investment strategies - just one of many pension schemes undermined by so-called LDI strategies.

But Truss remained unapologetic about the fallout from the tax policies. “The Conservative party will always be the party of low taxes,” she told delegates. 

Robert Shrimsley argues Truss and Boris Johnson before her have pushed the Tories towards political putrefaction by being caught in a “doom loop where ideology drives out realism, faith routs nuance and political purists banish pragmatists”. 

Those of us who have watched previous governments disintegrate suspect death-throes may not be far away.

More business news 

Goldman is capitalising on the fallout from the UK pensions fire sale. Helen Thomas sets out why the UK pensions crisis has added to angst in the City of London, while I explain why the crisis was caused by failure to learn the lessons from 2008

Brooke Masters argues asset managers are effectively the new banks - but may come to regret it.

And in China, Xi Jingping has a final chance to revive the economy with growth in consumer spending - but it involves relinquishing control.
Cost of living crisis adds complexity to salary budgets

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