FirstFT: West pushes UAE to halt critical exports to Russia

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Good morning.

Western officials have been visiting the United Arab Emirates in recent weeks to urge the Gulf state to stop critical exports to Russia, the Financial Times has found.

And in today’s Big Read, Africa editor David Pilling speaks to André de Ruyter on the former Eskom chief’s close shave with death and the criminality plaguing the company and, more broadly, South Africa.

Here’s what to watch in the day ahead:

  • UK: Bank of England chief economist Huw Pill will give a speech on the economic outlook for the year, and former prime minister Boris Johnson speaks at a London conference with Ukraine’s first lady and foreign minister.

  • Economic data: The EU has January unemployment data and flash inflation estimates for February, while the European Central Bank publishes minutes from its monetary policy meeting. The US reports fourth-quarter labour numbers.

  • Results: Anheuser-Busch InBev, Flutter Entertainment, ITV, London Stock Exchange, Metro Bank, Salvatore Ferragamo, Schroders and Taylor Wimpey report.

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Today’s top news

1. EXCLUSIVE: Western allies are pushing the United Arab Emirates to halt exports of critical goods to Russia as they seek to block the shipment of components fuelling Moscow’s war effort. Officials from the US, EU and UK recently visited the Gulf state, sources say. Read more on the west’s worries about “re-exporting”.

2. EXCLUSIVE: China is holding up Arm’s plan to offload its troubled joint venture, months after the UK chip designer agreed to transfer its Chinese unit to owner SoftBank ahead of Arm’s blockbuster stock market listing. Find out why China is blocking the move.

3. Andrew Bailey signalled the UK had no pressing need for more interest rate rises as the Bank of England governor tried to convince investors that Britain’s economic outlook differed from that of the US and eurozone. Markets expect rates to go beyond the current 4 per cent.

4. Carlyle Group’s gambit to raise cash for its latest buyout fund has fallen flat, after it spent months pushing a complex deal that would allow investors in an older fund to cash out if they put half of what they received into the new fund. Read more about the group’s fundraising difficulties.

5. Joe Biden is expected to issue his first presidential veto to defend a new ESG rule that allows fund managers to consider environmental, social and governance factors in investment decisions, after two Democratic senators sided with Republicans to oppose it. Here’s why they broke ranks.

The Big Read

André de Ruyter, former Eskom chief
Former Eskom chief André de Ruyter © FT montage/AP

Had it not been for his doctor, André de Ruyter would probably have died, the former Eskom chief told the FT. Sacked barely two months after an attempted poisoning through cyanide-laced coffee, de Ruyter speaks to the FT about how criminality has seeped into South Africa’s state.

We’re also reading. . . 

Chart of the day

The world’s largest crypto exchange is under pressure. Investors have pulled more than $6bn out of a Binance-branded digital token known as BUSD in the past month, in a sign that a recent US regulatory crackdown on digital assets is making waves.

Line chart of BUSD market share (%) showing BUSD’s share of the stablecoin market has fallen off a cliff in recent weeks

Take a break from the news

You’ve responded to an advert seeking crew for a dangerous naval expedition. A flyer for the polar voyage promised months of darkness, low wages and a slim chance of safe return. From the very start of the game The Pale Beyond, it’s clear that you’ll be lucky even to survive.

A screen grab from ‘The Pale Beyond’
Trapped in the ice: ‘The Pale Beyond’

Additional contributions by Emily Goldberg and Gordon Smith

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