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Beijing has warned the US to “hit the brakes” over its attempts to contain China, highlighting the Chinese Communist party’s concerns over escalating tension between the rival superpowers.
Meanwhile, the US stock market ended the day with a sell-off following Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell’s testimony before the Senate. The S&P 500 closed 1.5 per cent lower in New York while the Nasdaq fell 1.25 per cent.
Today I’m keeping tabs on:
World Trade Organization: Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, is due to speak at a World Trade Organization event today.
Earnings: The insurance sector will feature heavily today, with figures from Admiral, Royal London and Legal & General. We also expect results from Cathay Pacific and Vivendi.
International Women’s Day: Join the FT for a free webinar on four things women need to know about money, led by the Financial Literacy & Inclusion Campaign charity.
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Today’s top news
1. China’s foreign minister Qin Gang sent a stark warning to the US over its containment of China from the annual session of his country’s rubber-stamp legislature, highlighting the Chinese Communist party’s concerns over escalating tension between the rival superpowers. Catch up on yesterday’s session of the National People’s Congress.
Related read: China will overhaul supervision of its financial system and bolster science and technology to try to catch up with the west — one of the biggest reforms of the state apparatus in years.
2. US Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell warns on interest rates. The central bank said it is prepared to return to bigger interest rate rises to fight inflation at a congressional appearance on Tuesday. Powell’s remarks prompted a stock market sell-off.
3. China has agreed to support Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring in a crucial step towards securing a $2.9bn IMF rescue package and pulling the country out of an economic crisis. The fund’s Asia-Pacific director Krishna Srinivasan said it “paves the way” for the IMF board to consider finalising the assistance programme at a meeting on March 20. Here’s why.
4. Ukraine has denied involvement in last year’s explosions that damaged the Nordstream gas pipelines connecting Russia and western Europe, after media reports in the US and Germany suggested pro-Ukrainian operatives may have been behind the attacks. Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, dismissed the reports as “conspiracy theories”.
5. Private credit groups are set to write the largest direct loan on record, with Apollo, Ares and Blackstone confident that they can land a deal to help Carlyle acquire 50 per cent of healthcare analytics company Cotiviti, sources said. Read the full story.
The Big Read
Electronic cigarettes have cemented their status as a less harmful way of consuming nicotine — but at a big cost to the environment. Tonnes of electronic waste are being produced, with critical metals inside the disposable “vapes” more likely to be dumped than recycled.
We’re also reading . . .
Chart of the day
China’s political leadership announced an unambitious 5 per cent growth target this weekend, despite optimism following three years of Covid closures. Why has Beijing set its lowest goal in decades? Read our analysis to find out.
Take a break from the news
Towering, timeless and welcoming, David Attenborough stands atop the white cliffs of Dover. Having spent eight decades journeying to the most remote and exotic places on the planet, the 96-year-old makes a homecoming in new BBC documentary Wild Isles. Read Dan Einav’s review.
Additional contributions by Darren Dodd and Tee Zhuo
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