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FirstFT: Sri Lankan president offers his resignation

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Gotabaya Rajapaksa has offered to resign as Sri Lanka president after fleeing to Singapore, having been forced from office by mass protests over his country’s economic collapse.

Sri Lanka’s parliamentary speaker said on Thursday evening that Rajapaksa had tendered his resignation from Singapore but that an official announcement would only come on Friday “after the verification process and legal formalities”.

Singapore’s foreign ministry had earlier issued a short statement confirming that Rajapaksa had been permitted to enter the city-state on a “private visit”, adding that he had not asked for asylum.

Rajapaksa’s delay in tendering his resignation was probably intended, analysts said, with the aim of holding on to diplomatic immunity while he looked for refuge in a country that would take him in.

The mass protests in Colombo are among the worst bouts of political unrest seen this year in emerging markets that are feeling the brunt of higher food and fuel prices and tighter credit caused by the war in Ukraine.

Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. Now on with the rest of the day’s news — Emily

1. Mario Draghi offers to resign as Italy’s prime minister Italy was plunged into political turmoil on Thursday when prime minister Mario Draghi offered to resign after a split in his national unity government. His resignation was quickly rejected by Italy president Sergio Mattarella.

2. Celsius Network reveals $1.2bn shortfall in bankruptcy filing The crypto lender has revealed a $1.2bn hole in its balance sheet caused by what chief executive Alex Mashinsky called “poor” investments and other “unanticipated” losses. Celsius made the disclosure as it sought US bankruptcy protection this week, after freezing customer funds in June. Premium subscribers can sign up to our new cryptocurrency email to help guide you through the crash.

3. Oil prices drop below $95 for first time since invasion of Ukraine Prices fell on fears of an impending global recession that have gripped commodity markets and battered forecasts for demand. Both main benchmarks for crude shed more than $5 a barrel on Thursday, or more than 5 per cent, adding to a broad rout over the past six weeks.

4. TSMC raises revenue outlook but warns on inflation Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has raised its revenue outlook despite warning of a cyclical downturn in the chip industry and pressures from soaring inflation. The world’s largest contract chipmaker yesterday forecast $19.8 to $20.6bn revenues in the third quarter, a 35.7 per cent increase compared with last year.

5. Panasonic to build $4bn battery plant in Kansas The new facility is expected to create 4,000 jobs and is a gamble on the growing popularity of Tesla cars. The Japanese group, the world’s third-largest producer of electric vehicle batteries behind CATL and LG Energy Solution, already jointly operates a $5bn gigafactory in Nevada with Tesla.

The day ahead

China economic data Second-quarter GDP figures along with June retail sales and industrial production data are set to be published. Here are five things to look for in the release of China’s estimate of its Q2 economic growth.

Biden heads to Saudi Arabia Joe Biden will arrive in Saudi Arabia with a two-pronged plan to bring down oil prices while still punishing Vladimir Putin. First, convince Riyadh to pump more oil, especially to Europe. Second, cap the price at which Russia can sell its crude.

Televised debates on the Tory leadership The five candidates left in the contest will participate in their first televised debate later today, before a second on Sunday. Another voting round among MPs will take place on Monday, when another candidate will be eliminated.

US bank earnings Results are expected from Bank of New York Mellon. Citigroup and Wells Fargo. Elsewhere in financial services, BlackRock also reports earnings today. Yesterday JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley reported a bigger-than-expected decline in second-quarter profits that signalled the end of the industry’s pandemic-era earnings boom.

Join FT journalists on Friday July 15 at 1pm BST for a virtual briefing for FT subscribers on what awaits Britain and business after Boris Johnson, as rival Conservative candidates battle to succeed him as prime minister. Register for free.

What else we’re reading and watching

‘Exponentially’ risky China leaves venture capital funds starved of cash Private equity and venture capital managers in China say small and middle-sized groups are facing the greatest fundraising challenges to lock in capital for a decade as global investors are deterred by the tech crackdown, zero-Covid policy and the threat of western sanctions.

Can Russia win the war? Days after his troops seized the last city in Luhansk, Vladimir Putin said his war in Ukraine had not started “in earnest yet”. Analysts have predicted that Kyiv has six months to drive out the invading forces before fatigue and a prolonged military gridlock sets in.

Where to get char siu in Hong Kong Char siu, or Chinese barbecue pork, is a traditional dish from the Canton region that has made its way on to the menus of most restaurants in Hong Kong. The beloved comfort food can be found almost everywhere in the city, from fast-food eateries to Michelin-starred restaurants. Here are four of the best.

Web3: a new serving of old crypto nonsense Web3 is the inexorable destiny of the internet — the magical fabric from which blockchain-based decentralised dreams are made and dystopian Big Tech nightmares destroyed. But look beneath the surface and gaping holes appear in this vision, writes Jemima Kelly.

Video: what’s next for scandal-hit Credit Suisse? The Swiss lender’s story is one of high-profile scandals, from corporate espionage to cocaine smugglers, and about how finance went wrong at one of the most important banks in Europe. Credit Suisse’s new chair, Financial Times reporters and banking industry experts look at what could come next.

Readers respond

Earlier this week I asked if you thought Elon Musk should be compelled to honour his deal with Twitter. Here’s what readers had to say:

“Absolutely Twitter should sue and Delaware should uphold the law . . . [Elon Musk] and Trump are the most insane abusers of Twitter and while their business model must change, this is not the way to achieve that.” — Margit Pearson, New York

“I’m a bit torn, on one hand I don’t want Musk to own Twitter, but on the other he thinks himself to be above the law so he should be put in his place . . . ” — Reader JmJa

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