UK energy secretary accuses China of wanting to create a new ‘world order’

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What to watch in Asia today

South Korea: Economists expect the Bank of Korea to hold rates at 3.5 per cent for the fourth straight meeting.

Meetings: The EU-Japan summit begins in Brussels, attended by European Council president Charles Michel, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida.

Supporters of Pita Limjaroenrat’s Move Forward party raise a three-finger salute, a symbol of resistance, during a protest in Bangkok on Wednesday © AP

Thailand: Parliament will vote for a new prime minister. Pita Limjaroenrat, whose progressive Move Forward party won big in May’s general election, still faces obstacles to supplanting the military-backed government, including questions about a possible breach of election rules.

Markets: Futures in Hong Kong pointed higher on Thursday morning. US stocks and Treasuries rallied on Wednesday while the dollar tumbled after inflation fell more than expected in June, easing pressure on the Federal Reserve to keep raising interest rates. The S&P 500 stock index closed 0.7 per cent higher, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.2 per cent.

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Disney extends CEO Bob Iger’s contract until end of 2026

Disney has extended the contract of its chief executive Bob Iger until the end of 2026, prolonging what was meant to be a short-term stay for the executive who returned to the entertainment giant last November.

Iger, who led Disney for 15 years in his first stint as chief executive, replaced his handpicked successor Bob Chapek, who lasted only 33 months in a rocky tenure.

He had been tasked with finding a new successor before leaving at the end of 2024, but Disney said on Wednesday its board voted unanimously to extend Iger’s term by two years.

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US considering sending long-range missiles to Ukraine

President Joe Biden delivers a speech at Vilnius University during the Nato summit © Filip Singer/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that the US was considering sending long-range missiles to Ukraine after France and the UK sent similar systems, a potentially significant shift as Washington alters its risk calculus in Ukraine as the war drags on.

Kyiv has long sought the weapons to better penetrate Russian defences, but Washington has held off out of fears of Russian escalation. France announced this week it would send such weapons and the UK has already sent its Storm Shadow missiles.

“They already have the equivalent of ATACMS now. What we need most of all is artillery shells,” Biden said, using the name for the American long-range missiles as he boarded a plane from Vilnius, where he was attending a Nato summit, for Helsinki.

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Biden says US ‘will not waver’ in support for Ukraine

President Joe Biden repeated assurances that the US was committed to supporting Ukraine for the long term at the end of a sweeping speech that capped his visit to Lithuania for a Nato summit. 

“We will not waver, we will not waver,” he said. “I mean that. Our commitment to Ukraine will not weaken. We will stand for liberty and freedom today, tomorrow and for as long as it takes.” 

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BASF cuts full-year outlook on slowdown in demand

German chemical producer BASF on Wednesday cut its full-year outlook and forecast a slowdown in global consumer demand that is expected to weaken sales and earnings more than previously expected. 

The world’s largest chemical producer now expects sales of between €73bn and €76bn, down from previously estimated range of €84bn-€87bn. Adjusted earnings are forecast at €4bn-€4.4bn compared to previous estimates of €4.8bn-€5.4bn. 

BASF said its preliminary second-quarter sales were a quarter lower than the previous year. Adjusted earnings declined 57 per cent from a year ago.

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