FirstFT: Queen’s funeral attracts global audience

Presidents, prime ministers and royal families from around the world have filed into London’s Westminster Abbey for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II today.

Those attending the ceremony included US president Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden, France’s president Emmanuel Macron and India’s president Droupadi Murmu. Almost 200 members of the public who were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours have also been invited.

The service began at 11am today, 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 queued to view the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall, where the late monarch had been lying in state since Wednesday. The London Metal Exchange infuriated some members with its decision to remain open during the Queen’s funeral.

What have been your experiences of the mourning of Queen Elizabeth? Let me know at firstft@ft.com. Thank you for reading FirstFT Americas — Jonathan

1. Joe Biden says US would defend Taiwan from Chinese attack President Joe Biden said the US would defend Taiwan from a Chinese attack, in a strong warning following Beijing’s military exercises after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei. Asked in an interview on Sunday with CBS News’s 60 Minutes whether he would deploy US forces to defend Taiwan from Chinese military action, Biden replied: “Yes, if in fact there was an unprecedented attack.”

2. 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

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.

Line chart of Interest rates expectations at the December meeting, % showing Markets expectations for year-end interest policy rates have risen

4. Volkswagen targets €70bn-€75bn valuation for partial Porsche IPO Volkswagen announced that it would price shares in Porsche at €76.50 and €82.50 in a partial IPO, valuing the luxury sports car brand at €70bn-€75bn, the middle of the range of analysts’ expectations.

5. Ben & Jerry’s alleges Unilever ‘usurped’ company board in Israel dispute Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s, have accused parent company Unilever of usurping its independent board as the ice-cream brand fights a court case in the US over sales in occupied Palestinian territories.

The day ahead

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.

Retail investors see explosion of alternative strategies A saturated market for institutional clients is pushing asset managers to pursue another business: selling so-called alternative investments to rich individual investors.

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)

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

Turbulence in Nigeria dollar market hits airlines and investors Currency traders and investors say Nigeria’s chronic dollar shortage, a constant complaint of businesses operating in the country, has recently tipped into crisis. The naira, which trades officially at N421 to the dollar, has fallen to N700 on the parallel market, with talk that it could weaken further.

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 to 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