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Good morning. Today we start with the news that Russia’s prime minister Mikhail Mishustin is to head a high-profile delegation to a business forum in China next week. It’s the latest sign that Moscow’s economic dependency on Beijing is still growing, more than a year into its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Mishustin and Russia’s top energy official Alexander Novak, who are under western sanctions over the invasion, will be the most prominent Russian figures at the Russia-China Business Forum in Shanghai on May 23, according to people familiar with the matter. A spokesperson for Mishustin did not respond to a request for comment.
Top state company officials including Sberbank’s Herman Gref and Rostelecom’s Mikhail Oseevsky, who are also sanctioned, plan to attend, they added, as does a group of businessmen from Russian industrial companies.
The event is expected to underscore China’s growing support for president Vladimir Putin after western nations passed sweeping sanctions in response to the invasion that cut Russia off from global markets and crucial supply chains.
Here’s what else I’m keeping tabs on today:
China economic data: April retail sales and industrial output data is due.
UK unemployment data: The main data point for the UK this week will be unemployment figures.
US-China testimony: US secretary of state Antony Blinken, defence secretary Lloyd Austin and commerce secretary Gina Raimondo will testify at Senate appropriations committee hearing on the US-China relationship.
Five more top stories
1. Turkey’s veteran leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appeared on course to extend his rule into a third decade, as he entered a presidential run-off having comfortably beaten his main opponent in the first round. With Erdoğan securing 49.5 per cent to his main rival Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s 44.9 per cent, there will be a second round of voting on May 28. See the breakdown of results here.
2. Thailand’s pro-democracy opposition leader Pita Limjaroenrat is seeking coalition talks after a poll victory at the weekend. The win was seen as a rebuke to Thailand’s military, but after a decade of coups, crackdowns and political turmoil, it remains unclear if either opposition party will be able to lead the next government.
3. Investors are ploughing money into shares of China’s state-run enterprises as they seek a haven from weakness in the Chinese economy and better returns than those offered by the country’s government bond market. Since the start of April, state lenders Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China are up more than 20 and 10 per cent respectively.
4. EU regulators have cleared Microsoft’s $75bn acquisition of Activision Blizzard, breaking from the UK and US which are holding up the gaming industry’s biggest deal. Read the full story.
5. The board of Australia’s Newcrest Mining has unanimously backed a A$29bn (US$19bn) takeover offer by its US rival Newmont, paving the way for the world’s largest gold miner to strengthen its grip on the sector.
The success of TikTok and Shein has inspired more Chinese tech start-ups to look abroad for growth. With the Chinese economy in the doldrums, founders say foreign customers are still willing to pay up.
We’re also reading . . .
Short selling: A new ban on short selling would be a huge mistake, writes Jim Overdahl, former chief economist at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
G7 priorities: World leaders are expected to make their strongest pledges to tackle dementia for 10 years at the G7 summit in Hiroshima.
Xi’s Taiwan ambitions: Xi has accused the US of the “containment and suppression” of China. But he is wrong in these three crucial respects, writes Gideon Rachman.
PS Don’t miss this episode of the FT Talent podcast, to hear chief economist Martin Wolf discuss how he built his career.
Chart of the day
The platinum market is expected to chalk up its largest deficit since records began in the 1970s as supply falters in South Africa and China’s industrial expansion powers ahead. The deficit marks a stark reversal from bumper oversupply for the previous two years when car production was hit by semiconductor shortages.
Take a break from the news
To play golf regularly in Hong Kong requires deep pockets, impeccable social connections and luck. There are, after all, only eight clubs in the Chinese territory and not all accept visitors. The FT’s Fergus Ryan was lucky enough to bag a few rounds at three handsome courses. Don’t miss his review and the stunning photos.
Additional contributions by Gordon Smith and Gary Jones
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