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Bloomberg Weekend Reading

The US hasn’t hit peak interest rates and it may be awhile until it does. The Federal Reserve raised rates this week by 75 basis points for the fourth time in a row, as had been expected. But the central bank also provided a sobering forecast, indicating rates would eventually end up higher than originally projected. It would be “very premature” to think about a pause in hikes, Chair Jerome Powell said, though he added the size of future rises would likely shrink. Friday’s jobs report, showing a still-strong US employment picture, didn’t lend much clarity to the length of the tightening cycle or the risk of a downturn. In the UK, which is headed for a deep slump, the Bank of England delivered its biggest rate hike in 33 years but pushed back against market expectations for the scale of future increases. John Authers, writing in Bloomberg Opinion, cautioned that “investors need to stop imagining pivots that will only lose them money.”

What you’ll want to read this weekend

A mysterious screenshot that blew up on social media sparked a huge market rally in China. The message it contained indicated the country’s “Covid-zero” lockdowns could finally come to an end, and investors looking for reasons to buy beleaguered Chinese stocks pounced. Another, more solid reason for optimism: Beijing’s potential plan to scrap a system that penalizes airlines for bringing coronavirus cases into the country.

Billionaire donors have ramped up contributions to Republicans ahead of the US midterm elections. Citadel’s Ken Griffin, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman and Oracle founder Larry Ellison are among those giving GOP candidates a boost in their bid to take control of Congress. Polls seem to show the Democratic Party’s prospects of retaining control of both chambers are getting slimmer thanks to inflation. Nevertheless, in the wake of a Republican-appointed majority of the Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wadeabortion rights ballot measures may still draw more Democratic voters to the polls.

Former US President Barack Obama speaks during an early-vote rally in Las Vegas. Obama warned that the high number of GOP candidates embracing falsehoods about the 2020 election means US democracy is at stake in the midterms. Photographer: Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg

Xi Jinping told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that he opposed the use of nuclear weapons in Europe, the Chinese leader’s most direct remarks yet on Vladimir Putin’s threat of atomic escalation in Russia’s war on Ukraine. And the world’s crop markets got some relief when the Kremlin agreed to resume a deal allowing safe passage of Ukrainian grain exports days after announcing it would suspend the agreement.

Elon Musk wasted no time upending his newly-acquired social media platform. Twitter’s entire board was removed, terminations that were followed by Musk firing half of the company. Less gravely, users with blue check accounts will soon have to pay for them. Musk did take time out to tweet (and later delete) inflammatory falsehoods about Nancy Pelosi’s husband, who was attacked by a man allegedly targeting the House Speaker. “So far, so Musk,” writes Parmy Olson in Bloomberg Opinion.

It’s been a banner year for collectors, whether they dabble in watches, handbags, cars or art. Sales of $1 million-plus artworks doubled in 2022 compared to last year, an Art Basel and UBS report found. But that’s chump-change compared to paintings from Paul Allen’s estate coming up for auction, including a Cezanne priced at $120 million and a Klimt for $90 million. If scooping up rare vinyl records is more your scene, there’s a new analog turntable hitting the market with an eye-popping price of $52,000. 

Birch Forest (1903) by Gustav Klimt has a $90 million estimate. Source: Bloomberg

What you’ll need to know next week

What you’ll want to read in Bloomberg Green

A Brutal Climate Future Is Now Egypt’s Reality

Egypt is heating up almost twice as fast as the rest of the planet, making it a bellwether for the painful effects of the climate crisis. It and other developing countries are responsible for a fraction of historical greenhouse gas emissions, but are paying brutal environmental, economic and human costs. This year’s COP27 climate summit takes place in Egypt, where Bloomberg has examined what collective failure at those talks would mean for the host country.

Abdel Salam in his cotton fields on the Nile Delta. Salam and millions of other Egyptians have found ways to survive in today’s hotter climate. But without help, it’s not clear how long they can hold out. Photographer: Sima Diab for Bloomberg Green

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