What started with misery at the pumps due to rising fuel prices, then flight disruptions due to staff shortages, will this week spread to problems on the trains – in the country that gave you this mode of transport. A series of national rail strikes, and in London another gangout on the underground system, are likely to bring the network to a standstill.
The dispute focuses on wage demands and the impact on jobs of efficiency savings, which have become more pressing due to revenue declines during the shutdowns of the pandemic. Government ministers, who, as this paragraph notes, now effectively control all railway funding following changes introduced during the pandemic, have refused to speak directly to the RMT, the main union calling the action.
Whether this will have a major impact on the two British midterm elections on Thursday – this week’s main election news – is an undecided point given that opinion polls already indicate a double whammy for the Conservatives – a “red wall” and a “blue wall” constituency – in the midst of anger against their leader and the country’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
The aviation industry will also be in the spotlight this week as the annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (Iata) is held in Doha. News here will hardly be particularly positive. Last October, Iata predicted that 2.3 billion people would fly in 2021 and 3.4 billion in 2022, down from 4.5 billion people traveling in 2019.
Another international gathering this week will be the delayed meeting of Commonwealth heads of state in Rwanda. The place will provoke some unpleasant questions for Prince Charles, who will attend on behalf of the Queen given Britain’s deal with the country to take British asylum seekers, a policy that the heir to the throne had described as “appalling”, according to a report in the Times.
The week ends with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcoming his colleagues from the other G7 nations to a summit at Bavaria’s remote Schloss Elmau castle, the same place his predecessor Angela Merkel chose in 2015. However, the most notable point here is the special guest. , India’s Narendra Modi, and whether this will help the Western powers – Australia will do something similar during a state visit to India earlier this week – in the fight for allies to counter the growing proximity between Russia and China.
Surveys are the theme for this week with a number of purchasing managers’ index reports, regional Fed announcements in the US and Germany’s Ifo corporate confidence figures.
The highlight of the central banks’ speeches – and there are a few this week – will be Jay Powell’s semi-annual appearance before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee to deliver his monetary policy report. And if you have not had enough data on the cost of living, we will also get more inflation updates from Germany, Canada, the UK and Japan.
Cost of living and trends in shopping will be a point of discussion among the global retail groups gathering in Dublin this week for the Consumer Goods Forum. The CEOs of Unilever, Coca-Cola, Carrefour, Tesco and Walmart is among those on the speaker list.
Not many diary earnings announcements this week. FedEx will report fourth-quarter figures on Thursday, but this was anticipated last week as the U.S. delivery company drew on concerns about the economy as it announced an increased dividend and two new board members.
Read the entire weekly calendar here