Ukrainian refugees and the cost of living will be in focus this week

Economy News


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Hello and welcome to the working week,

It has been a gloriously balmy few days in London. You have to hold on to such things in these troubled times. Sadly, like the global news agenda, the UK forecast is for more clouds on the way. I’m afraid to say that in the coming seven days, the bleak still has the upper hand over the bright.

Brussels will again be the venue for debate on the Ukraine invasion, firstly with a meeting of EU interior ministers on Monday to discuss the resulting refugee crisis and then on Thursday when NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg presents the military alliance’s annual report.

It is one of those quirks of British life – explained so well in this piece from the FT archive – that the UK’s personal tax year will start on April 6, so more on that next weekend. This Friday, however, marks the date for corporate and government financial statements. This will have extra significance this year because it will lay bare the roots of current inflationary pressures. It will also be the day when the significantly higher energy price cap comes into force.

Are you personally affected by the War in Ukraine? We want to hear from you

Refugees fleeing Ukraine

Are you from Ukraine? Do you have friends and family in or from Ukraine whose lives have been upended? Or perhaps you’re doing something to help those individuals, such as fundraising or housing people in your own homes. We want to hear from you. Tell us via a short survey.

Perhaps it is better to reflect on significant figures of our recent past, who have passed away. It is a busy week for that with a remembrance service for Prince Philip in London – a day before the 20th anniversary of the Queen Mother’s death – and a memorial to legendary cricketer Shane Warne in Melbourne.

Reasons to be cheerful? European bison will be returning to British soil, where they were previously hunted to extinction, with a project to rewild parts of Kent, where it is hoped the animals will help local woodlands to flourish. And before you ask, no, this will not be an April Fool’s Day joke.

Something else that has been returning after a period of extinction in the UK is railway nationalization. The latest example is ScotRail, which will be returned to public ownership on Friday after the Holyrood government canceled the franchise with Abellio amid criticism of its performance. It also revives the debate about whether direct control is a better solution than Westminster’s decision to create a mixed economy system under Great British Railways, a state-owned body akin to Transport for London that will contract out national train service routes.

Do please get in touch – you can email me at jonathan.moules@ft.com.

Economic data

Not satisfied with the quantity of inflation news so far? Well, you are in luck because we have a week of consumer price index and producer price index reports from European nations. We’ll also get GDP estimates from the US, the UK and Canada, plus international comparisons of business confidence with the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index data on Friday.

Companies

Earnings season is nearly at an end – ready for the start of the next quarter – but this week will bring an earnings announcement from Covid-19 vaccine poster child BioNTech. The resurgence of cases in the UK and other countries has led to calls for fourth doses among some more vulnerable groups, showing that vaccine demand is unlikely to dip any time soon. BioNTech is among a group of companies expected to publish late-stage trial results on Omicron-targeted shots imminently.

New Burberry chief executive Jonathan Akeroyd, poached from Milan-based Versace, is due to take the reins of the British fashion house on Friday at a big moment for the company. Former chief executive Marco Gobbetti had introduced a strategy to move the brand upmarket, and had achieved some success but sales were undermined by pandemic restrictions on travel, which prevented Burberry’s key Chinese customers coming to Europe to buy new outfits.

Key economic and company reports

Here is a more complete list of what to expect in terms of company reports and economic data this week.

Monday

  • UK, household disposable income and inequality data plus the Treasury committee is to question Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Office for Budget Responsibility on last week’s Spring Statement. Also, Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey in conversation with Guntram Wolff, director of Bruegel, on ‘macroeconomic and financial stability in changing times’

Tuesday

  • France, Germany, US: consumer confidence data

  • Japan, February unemployment figures

  • UK, February money and consumer credit data

  • US, February house price index report

  • Results: Bank of China FY, Bellway H1, Boku FY, Ten Entertainment FY

Wednesday

  • EU, March economic sentiment and business climate indicator data

  • Germany, March consumer price index (CPI) figures

  • Italy, February producer price index (PPI) figures

  • Japan, February retail sales figures

  • Spain, inflation data

  • UK, Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent’s speech on the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, hosted by the NIESR think-tank, plus the Office for National Statistics report on impact of increased cost of living on adults across Great Britain

  • US, ADP employment report plus Q4 GDP estimate

  • Results: BioNTech Q4

Thursday

  • Canada, January GDP figures

  • EU, February unemployment rate

  • France, February PPI figures and provisional March CPI data

  • Germany, Italy: March labor market figures

  • Germany, February retail trade figures

  • Italy, preliminary CPI data

  • Japan, February industrial production figures

  • UK, revised Q4 GDP figure, Q4 consumer trends report plus British Retail Consortium’s monthly economic briefing

  • Results: H&M Group Q1, Walgreens Boots Alliance Q2

Friday

  • China, EU, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK: final manufacturing purchasing managers’ index data

  • EU, flash March inflation figure

  • Japan, Q1 Tankan business sentiment survey

  • UK, Nationwide house price survey

  • US, March unemployment statistics

World events

Finally, here is a rundown of other events and milestones this week.

Monday

  • EU, an extraordinary meeting of EU interior ministers to discuss the handling of Ukrainian and Moldovan refugees into member states

  • UK, Most of Wales’ last few remaining Covid-19 restrictions due to be scrapped

  • US, President Joe Biden hosts a special summit with ASEAN leaders

  • Monthly meeting of the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement body

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • Australia, state memorial service to honor cricketer Shane Warne, who died of a suspected heart attack in early March, at Melbourne Cricket Ground

  • UK, 20 years since the death of the Queen Mother

  • Land Day in the Palestinian territories, commemorating the shooting of six protesters by Israeli security forces in 1976 and symbolizing resistance to unresolved claims to property restitution in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

Thursday

  • Belgium, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg presents the military alliance’s annual report in Brussels

  • Qatar, 2022 Fifa Congress will be held in Doha, where the final draw will be made for the World Cup in the country this year

  • UK, latest deadline for the Transport for London and the Westminster government to agree conditions of a long-term funding deal

  • UK, deadline for abortion services to become available in Northern Ireland

  • UK, a wild herd of European bison, the continent’s largest land mammal, will begin to be introduced to UK woodland to restore an ancient habitat

Friday

  • April Fools’ Day

  • EU-China summit takes place virtually between Brussels and Beijing

  • Iran, Republic Day celebrates the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution

  • UK, various changes affecting the cost of living and earnings. Energy bill price rises come into effect with the energy price cap rising to about £ 1,660, but homeowners in England and Wales will be offered subsidies of £ 5,000 towards replacing old gas boilers with low-carbon heat pumps. The temporary reduction in VAT from 20 to 5 per cent for the tourism hospitality industry ends, plus free lateral flow and PCR tests will end in England. The National Minimum Wage will increase from £ 8.91 to £ 9.50 per hour, while MPs in Westminster get a 2.7 per cent pay rise, taking their annual salary to £ 84,144. The annual BBC license fee will be frozen at £ 159 for 2022 and 2023

  • UK, plastic packaging tax comes into force. Manufacturers and importers whose products contain less than 30 per cent recyclable material will be charged £ 200 per tonne

  • UK, Scotland’s train operator ScotRail, currently run by Dutch company Abellio, will be nationalized and run by a public sector body

Saturday

  • Hindu new year

  • Argentina, Malvinas Day, marking the country’s occupation of the Falkland Islands in 1982

  • Muslim month of Ramadan begins

Sunday

  • Australia, Daylight Saving Time ends

  • Costa Rica, second round of general election

  • France, Paris marathon

  • Hungary, parliamentary elections

  • Serbia, general election

  • UK, Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race takes place on the river Thames

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