We’ve summarised the top stories of the last week into an easily digestible briefing, so that you can stay up to date on what’s happening around the world. You can subscribe to receive the briefing in your inbox each week.
This week: China and Russia
On 20 Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping began his visit to Russia. America urged Xi to press Putin to withdraw Russian troops from Ukraine. However, Xi’s ‘Peace Plan’, endorsed by Putin, does not acknowledge Russia’s aggression or Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and has been rejected by Zelensky and other Western leaders.
- Mr Xi’s visit comes days after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin for war crimes. The two leaders declared themselves ‘dear friends’ and claimed their partnership had ‘no limits’.
- Mr Xi will meet Brazil’s president Lula da Silva next week in Beijing. Lula seeks to reset diplomatic relations with China after years of anti-China attacks from his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro, and will ask for China’s help to negotiate peace in Ukraine.
UK Economics and Business
- Inflation surged to 10.4% in February, breaking a three-month downwards streak. This was higher than the forecasted return to single digit inflation. Driven by vegetable shortages, the price of food rose by 18%, the fastest rate of increase in 45 years.
- The Bank of England raised interest rates by 0.25% to 4.25% on Thursday. The Bank said that the UK’s economic outlook is slightly improved and no longer predicts a recession.
- Rishi Sunak’s Northern Ireland deal with the EU, the ‘Windsor Framework’, was formally adopted after getting the green light from MPs. However, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) rejects it, fearing it does not fully protect Northern Ireland’s place in the UK’s internal market.
World Economics and Business
- The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.25% to 4.75%, despite higher rates causing banking collapses, stating that America’s banking system was sound and resilient.
- Deutsche Bank’s share price fell by 9% as the global financial system continues to face repercussions from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and the rescue of Credit Suisse. Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany assured investors there was no need to panic.
- Turmoil in the Bond Market continues as the market responds to the unconventional wipeout of $17 billion of AT1 Credit Suisse bonds, amid revelations that other Asia-Pacific banks have a similar wipeout clause in contracts for their long-term debt.
- The IMF loaned $15.6bn to Ukraine, lasting four years, for recovery and reconstruction. This was its first loan to a country at war.
- The IMF also issued a $3bn bailout for Sri Lanka, which faces supply chain problems and high inflation. The loan is conditional on the adoption of stringent reforms, including a restructuring of its $95bn in public debt.
- Evergrande, a debt-ridden Chinese property developer, made an offer to creditors to swap debt into new notes with maturities up to 12 years, a move expected to take effect from October.
- On 22 March, Boris Johnson appeared at a hearing investigating his part in the Partygate scandal. Should the Privileges Committee decide that he misled the House of Commons about Downing Street gatherings during lockdown, he will be suspended from parliament.
- Baroness Casey released her report on the Metropolitan Police on 21 March, commissioned after the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by Wayne Cousins, a police officer at the time. She says the police are guilty of “institutional racism, misogyny, and homophobia,” and recommends reforms to misconduct processes.
- Rishi Sunak met Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s president, at Downing Street for talks over security and the threat from Iran. This was met by protests from British Jews, who called Netanyahu a ‘traitor’ for his judicial reforms.
- Humza Yousef was on Monday elected as the new leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party, beating rivals in a narrow contest with 52% vote share to Kate Forbes’ 48% after the counting of Second Preference votes.
- The French government survived two no-confidence votes, and Macron’s pension reforms will become law by the end of the year. However, street protests have not ceased, and have turned violent. On Thursday night alone, 903 acts of arson were committed.
- Amid heightened tensions with China, Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, appeared in front of America’s House of Representatives on Thursday in an attempt to convince congressmen that TikTok is not spying on or presenting propaganda to American users.
- Despite facing potential criminal charges of falsifying records, Donald Trump began his 2024 presidential campaign in Waco, Texas, a key location for the extreme right in America because of its history. In 1993 an armed standoff took place there between law enforcement and an extremist cult.
- Kishida Fumio, Japan’s prime minister, visited India on 20 March to strengthen ties and offer a democratic counterweight to China. Mr Kishida invited Prime Minister Modi to attend the G7 summit in Hiroshima in May.
- Kishida also visited Zelensky in Ukraine on 21 March, a trip that was kept secret until the last minute for security reasons.
Written by Zihan Tian and Angus McIntyre