Written by 9:11 pm Europe Economy

FirstFT: UK power generators call for help amidst growing energy crisis

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Good morning. More governments will need to intervene to relieve the strains on Europe’s power market, officials and industry figures have warned, after Sweden and Finland launched emergency backstops for their energy producers and UK electricity generators called on the British government to help.

The Nordic states this weekend both announced emergency financial liquidity measures for their energy generators, which are facing rapidly mounting calls for collateral as a result of extreme volatility in energy prices.

Russia’s announcement on Friday evening that it would no longer supply gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline is expected to trigger a sharp rise in energy prices when markets open today, adding urgency to the pleas for government support.

Electricity producers in Britain were “really concerned about the situation this winter in relation to [financial] liquidity”, warned Adam Berman, deputy director at Energy UK, a trade body that speaks for about 100 energy companies.

“Fundamentally the energy market is not designed to deal with the scale of market volatility that we have seen over recent months,” Berman said as he urged the UK government to urgently investigate and “understand the scale of the challenge that generators” are facing as wholesale prices remain at historically high levels.

Thank you for reading FirstFT Asia. We hope you have a great week. — Sophia

1. US ‘blockade’ set to turbocharge Chinese chip development Washington imposed new restrictions last week on exports of US chip technology to Chinese companies. Beijing is expected to unleash a new wave of funding to boost domestic production of semiconductors as an alternative.

2. Credit Suisse chief Ulrich Körner faces test in $800mn trial Georgia’s former prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is pursuing the Swiss lender for up to $800mn in damages in a Singapore trial as newly appointed chief executive Ulrich Körner grapples with a major overhaul of the lender’s investment bank.

3. Mikhail Khodorkovsky asks west to supply more weapons to Ukraine Once Russia’s richest man, Khodorkovsky points to the huge economic damage being deal to the European economy every day by spiralling gas prices as reason for Ukraine’s allies to step up arms supplies.

4. US unveils $1bn weapons package for Taiwan The US plans to sell Taiwan $1.1bn in weapons, including 60 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, in the largest missile and radar sale yet as China increases military pressure on Taiwan.

5. Bed Bath & Beyond CFO dies after fall from skyscraper Gustavo Arnal, the home goods retailer’s chief financial officer, fell to his death from a high-rise apartment on Friday. The company has been struggling with poor sales and rising debts, recently announcing 150 store closures and job cuts.

The day ahead

UK prime minister Liz Truss is expected to be elected as the country’s new prime minister today. Follow the FT’s full analysis of these events.

American Labor Day The US observes a national holiday today commemorating the works and contributions of labourers to the development and achievements of the US; financial markets are closed.

Lebanese presidential election The country’s parliament vote today to decide the next president for a term of six years.

Russian economy The country’s annual Eastern Economic Forum begins in Vladivostok.

Energy industry The Gastech conference begins today in Milan.

What else we’re reading and listening to

Ukraine’s hackers: an ex-spook, a Starlink and ‘owning’ Russia Within hours of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, an army of ex-hackers and IT professionals mobilised to unleash an unprecedented cyber war to help resist Moscow. Six months into the conflict, some of the hackers tell their stories.

Inside the revival brewing at Starbucks The grassroots effort to organise workers at the coffee chain has spread to more than 200 stores. The momentum of the worker movement among Starbucks employees is emblematic of the more widespread resurgence of support for trade unions in the US.

Support for trade unions in the US is resurgent – % of respondents

Summer is over. Will everyone now go back to the office? From Tesla to Apple and Peloton, some of the biggest companies are making a concerted push to get people to return to in-person work. Some executives are getting impatient and taking a harder line — only to be met with rejection and resentment from their employees.

Why the US is re-engaging with Africa China has built much of Africa’s infrastructure, while Russia has sent mercenaries to prop up dictatorships and shady companies. Now, having been relatively low key with its strategy towards Africa in recent years, the US is stepping up its engagement with the continent.

Prudential pivots to Asia as regional storm clouds gather In the past three years, the £24bn life insurer has shed its European business, spun off its US operations and slashed its UK headquarters, relocating all senior management to Hong Kong. But an economic downturn, geopolitical instability and pandemic restrictions are weighing on the prospects of its core markets.

Line chart of share-price % change showing Prudential has lagged behind rival AIA this year

Travel

Many of us try hard to avoid tourist traps when travelling abroad but after an extraordinary meal at a Mediterranean honeypot, restaurant critic Tim Hayward has resolved to stop listening to food snobs.

Disrupted Times — Documenting the changes in business and the economy between Covid and conflict. Sign up here

Asset ManagementSign up here for the inside story of the movers and shakers behind a multitrillion-dollar industry

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