Welcome to Independence Week. The big one – the celebration of 1776 and all that – kicks off Monday in the United States. But from Algeria to Venezuela, from Argentina to South Sudan, the disconnection of former colonial powers is a strong theme – and a source of public holidays around the world – for the next seven days.
For those of us trying to get down to work (or keep doing it), however, this won’t be a week of celebrations.
French railway workers will go on strike on Wednesday, days before the start of the country’s school holidays.
Then there’s the unfolding drama of the summer of British discontent. Lawyers in England and Wales will resume their ‘crime doesn’t pay defenders’ strike tomorrow. On Tuesday they will be joined by banking regulators from the Financial Conduct Authority – represented by Unite – who are stepping down (again) in defiance of their latest wage offer. Moreover, the range of workers taking action is widening. Also on Tuesday, washing machine makers Whirlpool will be voted to take strike action against what union bosses have called an “insulting” wage offer.
Seems a good point to mention that the Financial Times is conducting a survey on cost of living compression – how do you cope with higher prices? To participate, click here.
After last week’s NATO summit in Madrid, Western efforts to help Ukraine this week will turn to Lugano in Switzerland. The Ukraine Recovery Conference is the latest in a series of high-level political gatherings first held in London in 2017, originally to discuss reforms that could open up foreign investment at a time of relative peace for the nation. The invasion of Russia gave new urgency to such support.
Is there anything to lighten the mood? Well, the summer season has begun – and by that I mean the FT Live summer season of thought-provoking talks and gatherings. This Thursday’s event, Capitalizing on Disruption to Create Business Opportunities, is free and you can do so by clicking here.
The key question at the moment is whether, or in some cases, when major Western economies will tip into recession. A series of business surveys this week will highlight areas of concern for business owners. Also closely watched will be Wednesday’s minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest rate-setting meeting and Friday’s US labor market report.
We’re in for another week of retail-dominated UK business news. J Sainsbury’s trade update on Tuesday will effectively be a replay of Tesco a few weeks ago, as it also made the strategic decision to agree to lower prices which will reduce profits in order to retain customers.
Currys could be quite interesting given that the British electricals retailer is the undisputed market leader, but its market capitalization has shrunk, margins are tight and it feels like the pandemic was the high point of the company.
Read the full schedule for the coming week here