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FirstFT: London mourns the Queen

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World leaders and heads of state are descending on London to pay their final respects to Queen Elizabeth II ahead of her funeral at Westminster Abbey today.

The ceremony will be attended by dozens of leaders and dignitaries including US president Joe Biden and French president Emmanuel Macron. Almost 200 members of the public who were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours have also been invited.

The service will begin at 11am today and be conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, with a sermon given by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. A committal service will take place at 4pm at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

Over the weekend, King Charles III conducted official meetings with prime ministers of the realms, such as New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, and with military leaders including Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, head of the UK’s Armed Forces.

Thousands of visitors have queued to visit the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall, where the late monarch has been lying-in-state since Wednesday. The London Metal Exchange infuriated some members with its decision to remain open during the Queen’s funeral.

Do you plan on travelling to the capital to mourn the Queen today? Why? Let me know at [email protected] Thank you for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa — Jennifer

1. Longest US tech IPO drought in 20 years The stock market downturn this year has caused the longest drought in technology listings this century, exceeding the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and the dotcom crash. US markets have been rocked by the Federal Reserve’s battle to bring down inflation by aggressively raising interest rates, which could exceed 4 per cent, according to economists polled by the Financial Times.

“There’s a tremendous amount of uncertainty in the market right now, and uncertainty is the enemy of the IPO market” — Matt Walsh, head of tech equity capital markets at SVB Securities

2. Italy under pressure to boost Milan bourse Analysts say the country must do more to attract companies after the stock exchange lost some of its biggest names this year, including Exor, the holding group for the billionaire Agnelli family, and luxury shoemaker Tod’s, as complex listing rules and falling share prices put Borsa Italiana at a disadvantage to larger rivals.

3. Central banks set to hit peak rates at faster pace Investors are pricing in a sharper surge in interest rates over the coming months after big central banks strengthened their resolve to tackle soaring prices. Market expectations for year-end rates are rising, as policymakers fear that without substantial rate increases, high inflation will prove hard to ease.

4. EU to withhold €7.5bn from Hungary over rule of law violations The European Commission yesterday recommended member states vote to suspend about a third of Hungary’s cohesion funding over shortcomings in efforts to tackle corruption, a lack of transparency in awarding public contracts and weaknesses in prosecuting misuse of European funds.

5. Nigerian dollar market turbulence International airlines are struggling to repatriate revenue from ticket sales because the supply of dollars is so tight in Nigeria. Emirates had threatened to suspend flights to Lagos until the central bank released $265mn of the estimated $464mn that airlines alleged it was sitting on.

The day ahead

UK dock workers’ strike More than 560 port operatives and maintenance engineers at the Port of Liverpool, one of the country’s largest container docks, begin a two-week walkout this evening over pay. (Reuters)

Corporate earnings GSK spin-off Haleon releases its first earnings since listing on the London Stock Exchange in July. What is now the world’s biggest standalone consumer health business has raised expectations with reports of a “strong” cold and flu season.

Economic indicators Sweden’s Riksbank holds its monthly monetary policy meeting. In the US, the National Association of Home Builders releases its September housing market index; supply chain issues have driven eight consecutive monthly declines. The Bank for International Settlements publishes a quarterly report on global financial markets. (FT, WSJ)

Tom Barrack in court One of Donald Trump’s earliest supporters in the 2016 presidential campaign goes on trial in New York on allegations of illegally acting as an agent of the United Arab Emirates.

What else we’re reading

The lawless world of crypto scams Fraudsters are taking advantage of a boom in cryptocurrencies to prey on individuals, with about $6.2bn stolen worldwide in 2021. The rise has exposed a gaping hole in financial regulations and consumer protections, but tracing the international networks behind crypto fraud presents huge challenges for investigators.

Column chart of Losses to reported crypto-related scams (£mn) showing Crypto fraud in the UK

UK’s energy package risks economic credibility Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, the new prime minister and chancellor of the exchequer, are gamblers on a huge scale. Their two-year energy package, which might cost £150bn in total, is poorly targeted, too generous and overly dependent on public borrowing, writes Martin Wolf.

What is Russia’s next move? Backed by western weapons, Ukraine’s lightning counter-offensive across the Kharkiv region has shifted the momentum of the war and heaped criticism on Vladimir Putin from the right over his conduct. Now, some analysts believe the Russian president has little choice but to order a significant escalation.

In diplomacy: Public admonishments by China and India have signalled a shift in global perceptions of the war, western officials say.

The race to reinvent the space station Companies including Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Lockheed Martin have been spurred by a Nasa-funded competition to design privately owned replacements for the International Space Station, which is set to be decommissioned before the end of the decade.

The strange death of the company phone number A growing number of organisations have quietly dispensed with customer support phone numbers, to the point that some governments are looking to mandate availability by phone. Those companies that still do offer support by phone are seizing on a competitive advantage, writes Pilita Clark.

Sport

Roger Federer, one of the most successful tennis players in the sport’s history, announced his retirement last week. He amassed a haul of 20 Grand Slam titles in almost two decades and was one of the top earners in sport.

From the archives: In 2019, Federer sat down with Simon Kuper to talk about his craft, being a father and what he has in common with Lionel Messi.

Roger Federer
Roger Federer posted a message on social media on Thursday explaining his ‘bittersweet’ decision © Neil Hall/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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