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UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng insisted there was “no way the lights would go out” this winter as ministers struggled to contain a growing crisis triggered by soaring gas prices.

He told the House of Commons he was “alarmist” to suggest people would struggle to heat their homes in winter and said Britain had “sufficient capacity” to meet household demand .

Ministers are in talks to put in place an emergency scheme offering UK energy companies state-guaranteed loans to take care of unprofitable customers of failed small rivals. Five energy suppliers have collapsed in recent weeks, and more are expected within days.

Soaring gas and electricity costs are forcing European governments to discuss billions of euros in aid to affected households and suppliers.

In the last Road to recovery, we explore how the crisis is about to drive up inflation across Europe and put the brakes on economic progress. register here to receive the revamped newsletter on how the pandemic is reshaping the global economy.

Five other articles in the news

1. Evergrande triggers massive sell-off in the global market Wall Street added yesterday to the liquidation of global equities as a liquidity crisis at the Chinese real estate developer rocked Asian, European and American markets. The S&P 500 fell 1.7%, marking its worst trading day since May, while the Nasdaq Composite slipped 2.2%. Losses continued in Asia today, with Japan’s benchmark Topix leading the region lower with a fall of 1.4%. Read our latest coverage of the crisis at

  • There is more: Six senior executives face “severe penalties” for securing early redemptions on investment products which Evergrande subsequently told retail investors it could not repay on time, the company said.

  • Opinion: Beijing’s real estate pain threshold is holding the indebted group hostage, writes James Kynge.

Line chart showing Evergrande shares close at their lowest level since 2010

2. Sky plans to launch its own smart TVs The UK-based broadcaster, which has 23 million customers in six European countries, is preparing to launch its own smart TVs in one of the company’s most daring moves yet to win viewers in an escalating battle with streaming services.

3. Coinbase abandons the loan product Coinbase has scrapped plans to launch a new digital asset lending product, giving in to pressure from U.S. securities regulators who warned it was an unregistered security that prompted them to take action in justice.

4. The party controlled by the Kremlin retains its grip on the Russian parliament United Russia, the main vehicle for President Vladimir Putin’s policies, retained its qualified majority in the 450-seat chamber after an election campaign marred by accusations of fraud and repression of the opposition.

5. Trudeau set to win early elections in Canada Justin Trudeau is forecast be re-elected Prime Minister, according to Canadian media predictions. But it was not clear whether his Liberal party had secured enough votes to form a majority government.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches election results with his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, and children Xavier, Ella-Grace and Hadrien

Trudeau called an election last month in hopes of capitalizing on the government’s handling of the pandemic © Sean Kilpatrick / AFP via Getty Images

Coronavirus digest

What do you think of the US decision to ease travel restrictions? Are you planning a trip? Let me know at [email protected]. Thanks for reading FirstFT Europe / Africa.

The day to come

Universal music group starts trading on Euronext Vivendi sold 60% of Universal and listed it today on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange. The prospectus gives Universal an indicative valuation of 33 billion euros, but analysts believe it is worth much more – JPMorgan puts it at 54 billion euros.

United Nations General Assembly open Much of this year’s summit is expected to focus on vaccines against climate change and Covid-19. US President Joe Biden to address the UN as he seeks to strengthen that “America is back”, as he also faces questions about America’s global leadership. Later, Biden will welcome British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to the White House. (Reuters, NPR, FT)

Federal Open Market Committee meets The two-day meeting is expected to shed light on the fate of the massive bond buying program he put in place last year to stabilize financial markets and support the economy.

Summary of earnings With the coronavirus still disrupting business, Adobe is expected to continue to show strong revenue growth in third quarter results. FedEx, the beneficiary of the e-commerce boom triggered by the pandemic, is expected to post healthy growth with first quarter figures.

What else do we read

The DNA bet of the scientists of the garage The increasing accessibility of gene editing tools has led to an explosion of uncontrolled experimentation with biological self-improvement in recent years. Once an eccentric subculture, the rogue mentalities of the scientists in the garage are starting to generate consternation among specialists and international organizations.

The hidden cost of powerful buyers and cheap prices Supply chain resilience has come at a cost. A relentless system, where suppliers and workers are stretched to the limit by powerful buyers, can be effective most of the time. But, as we just found out, when there is a shock, such a system can quickly collapse, writes Sarah O’Connor.

Phones, cars and the future The car has proven to be stubbornly slow to change in over a century. Likewise, conventional thinking around smartphones is that innovation has stalled. Yet the more Tim Bradshaw thinks about their evolution, the more he sees parallels that point to The path to follow.

The German debt debate As voters brace for Sunday’s general election, economists are trying to determine whether to expect a return to strict fiscal discipline, as well as what the implications will be for a debate in Brussels on resetting own EU fiscal rules. Here are three big questions Berlin faces.

Line graph of general government budget balance (% of GDP) showing Germany's plans to return to fiscal discipline

China’s application for membership of the CPTPP Joining the trade group would be a real coup for Beijing in its global competition with the United States. But it may also be impossible due to a series of vindictive actions the Chinese Communist Party has directed against CPTPP members in recent years, Tom Mitchell explains in Trade Secrets. Sign up to receive the newsletter here.


At the Jeff Koons exhibition, Sparkle, at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, art is not in any of the objects. It’s in the viewer, writes Koons in How to spend it:

“It’s that sense of the essence of their own potential as a human being. It’s what’s valuable and the only thing that’s relevant. And so, automatically, art becomes this dialogue with the community, ”said Koons.

A montage featuring the face of Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons: “It’s this aspect of the movement that excites me: celebrating being alive and being human” © Celina Pereira


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