Stay informed with free updates
Simply sign up to the World myFT Digest — delivered directly to your inbox.
Good morning and welcome back!
Unfortunately we have a gloomy start, with the news that global banks cut more than 60,000 jobs this year. According to Financial Times calculations (which did not include smaller banks or minor staff cuts), this was one of the heaviest years for job losses since the financial crisis.
As Owen Walker reports, investment banks suffered a second consecutive year of plummeting fees as dealmaking and public listings dried up, leaving Wall Street trying to protect profit margins by reducing headcount.
“There is no stability, no investment, no growth in most banks — and there are likely to be more job cuts,” said Lee Thacker, owner of financial services headhunting firm Silvermine Partners, adding: “There are some very nice gifts being sent to bosses at the moment.”
Five more top stories
1. A huge rally has left some big-name fund managers nervous that markets now look highly vulnerable to disappointing economic news. Stocks and bonds have ripped higher over the past two months, with the ascent leaving US equities close to their highest levels on record. Our markets editor Katie Martin delves into what could happen next.
2. Alexei Navalny said he was “fine” and had been relocated to a new penal colony in the Russian Arctic, after supporters lost track of him for three weeks. “I now live above the Arctic Circle,” the jailed Russian opposition leader said in a message on social media. Read the full story.
3. Benjamin Netanyahu told Israeli soldiers that the war against Hamas would not stop as he visited northern Gaza yesterday. “Whoever talks about stopping, there is no such thing,” the prime minister said, in an exchange published by the government. “The war will continue until the end.”
4. Brazil’s environment minister has demanded a “ceiling” on oil production. Marina Silva’s comments cast her in opposition to her own government, which plans to turn the nation into one of the biggest crude producers by 2029.
5. European plans of creating a battery supply chain for electric cars independent of China face big delays as companies focus on the US market because of clean energy subsidies, a top manufacturer has warned. The head of Canadian battery materials producer Novonix told the FT that the US Inflation Reduction Act was luring producers away from Europe. More from our interview with Chris Burns.
We’re also reading . . .
The world’s largest charitable foundation: The controlling shareholder of valuable Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk is little-known outside Nordic countries, but bigger than the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. How did this happen?
Superforecasting: How did FT readers fare against experts’ predictions for 2023? The results may offer insights into how to improve your forecasts for the next year.
Magnificent Seven: Katie Martin explains why the term, which refers to a group of large tech stocks that has dominated global markets, encapsulates the year for her.
The wildest stories from 132 years of FT History: Sit back and enjoy some of our best-ever reads, from the woman with the highest IQ to Moscow’s stray dogs . . .
The most-read story of 2023
As the year comes to an end, we’re going to share some of our most-read stories of 2023 with you, starting with the most popular of all.
Perhaps surprisingly, it’s an interview, not a news story, and was written in February. Henry Mance talked to economist Mariana Mazzucato who argued that big consultancies were hobbling the governments they advised. The fascinating piece covered areas from the moon landings to reforming the civil service. Don’t miss it.
Additional contributions from Tee Zhuo