FirstFT: US-China meeting stokes hopes for Biden-Xi summit

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White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan met Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in Malta over the weekend in the latest effort to stabilise US-China relations ahead of a possible meeting between presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping in November.

The previously unannounced talks come four months after the pair held a secret meeting in Vienna that was aimed at resurrecting high-level diplomacy.

The US and China are discussing a possible meeting between Biden and Xi if the Chinese leader attends the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco in November.

But the weekend meeting took place against a backdrop of turmoil inside China’s government. Wang is serving as China’s top foreign policy official, as well as foreign minister after Qin Gang was removed from the post without explanation in July. China’s defence minister, Li Shangfu, has also disappeared from public sight.

Here’s what else I’m keeping tabs on today:

  • Auto strike: A strike by members of the United Auto Workers against Detroit’s big three carmakers enters its third day after talks over the weekend between the union’s leadership and auto executives failed to reach agreement. Here’s more on the background to the dispute.

  • IPOs: Online delivery group Instacart and marketing automation company Klaviyo are both set to announce the final pricing of their initial public offerings in New York.

  • US-Iran prisoner swap: The exchange is expected to take place after months of negotiations and could lead to a reduction in tensions between the arch-foes.

  • Russia-China talks: Chinese top foreign policy official Wang Yi visits Moscow for four days of talks with Russian counterparts.

Five more top stories

1. Exclusive: Western companies have been blocked by Russia from accessing $18bn in profits generated in the country last year as the Kremlin looks to pressure “unfriendly” nations including the US, UK and EU members. Foreign companies trying to sell their Russian businesses need Moscow’s approval and face steep price discounts. Read the full story.

2. The Federal Reserve is set to defy investors’ expectations and raise interest rates by at least another quarter-point, according to a majority of economists polled by the Financial Times. This is in sharp contrast to the mood in financial markets, where traders in federal funds futures believe the US central bank’s policy settings are restrictive enough to get inflation under control. Read the full survey results.

3. The leader of the UK’s Labour party has vowed to seek a major rewrite of Britain’s Brexit deal in 2025 if his party wins the next general election as current polling suggests. Sir Keir Starmer told the Financial Times that the deal negotiated by then prime minister Boris Johnson was “far too thin.” Here’s more of the interview.

4. UBS is sounding out investors over issuing additional tier 1 bonds, a class of debt wiped out as part of its rescue of Credit Suisse six months ago. Some investors remain wary after bondholders lost billions of dollars during the takeover, damaging confidence in the market and triggering lawsuits. Here’s how the bank is trying to make future AT1 securities more palatable.

5. California has sued several of the world’s biggest oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Shell and BP, claiming they deceived the public for decades about how the burning of fossil fuels is destroying the planet. The lawsuit, which was filed in the superior court in San Francisco by California’s attorney-general on Friday, seeks damages from the oil industry to help pay for the costs of climate change. Read more on the latest case by US states and municipalities against the oil and gas industry.

The Big Read

A montage of a man with pills of different shapes and sizes in the background
© FT montage/Veasey Conway

US drug pricing reforms unveiled last month are poised to ease the financial burden for millions of Americans who struggle to pay for the drugs they need to stay alive. But the Biden administration’s reforms, which allow the government to negotiate lower prices for commonly used drugs, are bitterly opposed by the pharmaceutical industry, which says the changes are politically motivated and will cripple innovation.

We’re also reading . . . 

Chart of the day

Ageing has become a major political issue in the US. The country is an outlier even in a world where the majority of lawmakers are much older than the broader populace. Nancy Pelosi’s declaration that she intends to seek re-election to the House of Representatives is the latest flashpoint. Eva Xiao reports on an increasingly bitter debate ahead of next year’s election.

Take a break from the news

Monet gave us Impressionism and transformed the art world forever. But what about his personal life? Biographer Jackie Wullschläger reflects on the revolutionary painter’s inner life in this fascinating Weekend Essay.

© Corbis/Getty Images

Additional contributions from Tee Zhuo and Benjamin Wilhelm.

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