Are you enjoying the start of the Lunar Calendar New Year? The Year of the Rabbit is said to represent hope, peace and prosperity. And we all need more of those things in 2023. For now, though, this week should focus on the tougher issues of the present, including China’s ability to vaccinate its citizens over the holiday season.
Industrial disputes will continue to rumble with paramedics in England and Wales due to another strike on Monday. In Portugal, cabin crew at national carrier TAP will go on strike on Wednesday over a dispute over the airline’s pay offer and working conditions.
In Westminster Politics on Tuesday, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary David Lammy will strike a more positive tone as he outlines his party’s policy priorities. It will likely weigh on the UK’s relationship with the EU.
Coincidentally, Monday is the 10th anniversary of former Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech on Europe in which he pledged to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU and propose a referendum on membership . Maybe Lammy will refer to it.
Also in the UK, but unrelated to the UK government, Nigeria is due to hold a high-stakes trial in London’s High Court on Monday. The case involves a long-running attempt to overturn an $11 billion arbitration award that left the Nigerian government owing more than a quarter of its foreign exchange reserves to an obscure oil and gas company.
The main election news for the next seven days will be the second round of the Czech presidential election, which ends on Saturday. Former NATO commander Petr Pavel is the favourite. Also, Donald Trump is back. The former US president is set to make his first public appearance in the 2024 election campaign on Saturday, when he names his leadership team in South Carolina.
The fourth week of the month should be renamed survey week. Over the next seven days we’ll have the G7 country comparison with updates to the Purchasing Managers Index and the Confederation of British Industry’s Industrial Trends Survey on Tuesday, followed by the report German Ifo on Wednesday business climate, as well as other measures of consumer confidence.
On Thursday, the United States published its first estimate of the evolution of gross domestic product in the fourth quarter of last year. Spain will follow on Friday. Inflation updates are due from the UK, Australia, Spain, Sweden and Singapore on Wednesday. Japan will also release its consumer price index on the cost of living measure.
In central banker news, Fabio Panetta, member of the board of directors of the European Central Bank, is due to appear before the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Monday. Across the Atlantic, the Fed is entering its purdah period before the next meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, which begins on January 31, and the Bank of Canada’s monetary policy committee is expected to raise its rate another 25 basis points to 4.50% with the possibility that it signals a pause in further increases.
Technology benefits are a key theme this week; Investors remain concerned about the sector’s outlook after a series of major job cut announcements by most of the biggest companies. The approach taken by Microsoft, which reports second-quarter numbers on Tuesday, could be a model for other Big Tech players to follow, according to our West Coast Editor, Richard Waters. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella managed to show cautious optimism while announcing 10,000 layoffs last week to drive down its cost base.
It will be another week for Elon Musk watchers (like every other week) with You’re here publish fourth quarter figures on Wednesday. The company has cut prices for its electric vehicles to support demand in the United States and Europe. We assume Musk will follow the FT’s coverage of the latest figures given by the billionaire’s lawyer last week in court.
The war in Ukraine has boosted the fortunes of the world’s largest defense contractors, with governments promising to increase spending on arms and other military equipment. Investors will await comments from Lockheed Martin (report on Tuesday) and Northrop Grumman (released Thursday) to see if these promises will generate future revenue.