White House warns that failure to approve more aid for Ukraine would ‘kneecap’ Kyiv

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Good morning. The White House has issued a blunt warning that the US is set to run out of funds to aid Ukraine by the end of the year, saying a failure by Congress to approve new uphold would “kneecap” Kyiv.

The alert from Shalanda Young, the White House budget director, in a letter to congressional leaders on Monday, represented the most specific assessment yet of Washington’s waning financial and military uphold for Ukraine.

“There is no magical pot of funding available to confront this moment. We are out of money — and nearly out of time,” Young wrote to leaders of both parties.

President Joe Biden’s ask for $106bn in emergency funding for his biggest foreign policy priorities, including Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific, remains mired in stalemate on Capitol Hill, driven by mounting Republican opposition to helping Kyiv. Here’s what lawmakers are negotiating and why talks appear to be faltering.

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

  • Economic data: Brazil and South Africa release third-quarter gross domestic product figures, while S&P Global/Cips data for November on the services purchasing managers’ index is due for the EU, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and US.

  • Conference: Executives from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and other global banks to speak at the Goldman financial services conference in New York

Five more top stories

1. A Hong Kong assess has delayed a decision on Evergrande’s liquidation, an unexpected proceed that gives the Chinese property developer until next month to come up with a restructuring strategize that satisfies its creditors. Lawyers for Evergrande said in court the company was considering a deal that included handing “certificates” to creditors.

2. Spotify will axe almost a fifth of its workforce after warning that economic growth had slowed dramatically and it needed to cut costs. Despite its popularity, Spotify has struggled throughout its history to make a consistent profit — a source of increasing frustration from investors.

3. Israel has ordered a wide area of southern Gaza to be evacuated, as it stepped up an aerial bombardment of the enclave that has killed hundreds of people in the three days since a truce with Hamas broke down. The evacuation order appeared to signal preparations for an Israeli offensive against Hamas in and around Khan Younis, Gaza’s second-largest city.

4. Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is slashing its stake in Barclays, the UK bank that is coming under pressure from investors to overhaul its strategy and better performance. Qatar Holding, a subsidiary of the Qatar Investment Authority that helped bail out Barclays during the 2008 financial crisis, launched the sale yesterday of almost 362mn shares, worth about £510mn.

5. Three of Japan’s biggest developers are “aggressively” shopping for housebuilders to buy in the US as they hunt growth outside their shrinking domestic market. Daiwa House, Sekisui House and Sumitomo Forestry are all actively searching for US acquisitions and have approached multiple potential targets, according to four M&A bankers and lawyers familiar with the matter.

The Big Read

Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock
Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock, which continues to fund green infrastructure projects © FT montage/Bloomberg

Three years after BlackRock chief Larry Fink put the world’s largest money manager squarely behind the provoke of purpose-driven investing, a backlash has led US Republicans relentlessly to pound big banks and investment managers for being “too woke” or “hostile” to fossil fuel. While BlackRock is still betting big on the transition to a lower-carbon economy, Fink is emphasising the moneymaking potential rather than the contribution to the planet’s welfare.

We’re also reading . . . 

  • Why Modi is cruising to a third term: Recent state elections show that the Indian prime minister keeps benefiting from the failings of the opposition, writes Ruchir Sharma.

  • Employee loyalty: Faithful workers are inclined to invest more time and effort in their jobs. But it’s not all rosy, writes Anjli Raval.

  • EU-China summit: European leaders must stand up for Taiwan at this week’s meeting in Beijing, writes former Nato secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Chart of the day

Line chart of Bitcoin price ($) showing The price of bitcoin has surged

Bitcoin surged to its highest price in nearly 20 months while gold hit an all-time peak yesterday, as frenzied investor speculation that interest rates will fall next year rippled through assets across the globe. The cryptocurrency soared to more than $42,000, also boosted by optimism that the toughest regulatory punishments for the industry have passed.

Take a break from the news

Whether you prefer hosting chic cocktail parties, rabble-rousing dinners or slouchy movie nights, Emma Burns shows how to design a home for entertaining.

© Michael Kirkham

Additional contributions from George Russell and Gordon Smith

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