Wed. May 18th, 2022


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Hello and welcome to the working week.

There is likely to be much uncertainty over the next seven days as European foreign ministers line up for meetings with Moscow to try to find a solution to the Russia-Ukraine stand-off.

A look back is useful to understand today’s issues. And this week is rich with commemorations.

It begins with the anniversary of the Maastricht treaty, signed 30 years ago on Monday by the 12 member states of what had been the European Community. It established the EU and laid the foundations for monetary union as well as fuelling concerns among those opposed to further political union, arguably sowing the seeds of Brexit. Expect some (further) soul-searching this week.

A different type of political change occurred in Iran this week in 1979, when the Islamic revolution ended the monarchy of the shah and ushered in rule by the clerics. The country’s leaders will no doubt look back on its significance, but the more pressing challenge for Tehran is economic recovery in the face of US sanctions, although progress is being made.

Two other anniversaries provide some perspective on how far technology has developed.

This week in 1964, The Beatles made their US television debut on The Ed Sullivan Showsetting a then-record for viewing figures still talked about today in the US media. It’s also the anniversary of IBM supercomputer Deep Blue defeating Garry Kasparov at chess in 1996.

Computing technology and TV have both evolved and converged in the intervening quarter of a century in ways that neither the fab four nor chess grandmasters could have imagined. Will we be looking back with equal amazement at today’s developments, such as DeepMind’s AI tool, AlphaCode – and perhaps wonder what Big Tech companies such as Meta were thinking?

Your answers – and other comments about The Week Ahead – to the usual address, jonathan.moules@ft.com.

Before moving on to the economic and corporate news, here is a quick plug for an FT competition to encourage young minds with potential answers to the climate change crisis. The FT is seeking examples of how pupils, teachers and schools around the world are tackling climate changeto be featured in a Climate Change for Schools special report in March 2022. Submit your entry here by February 14.

Economic data

There has been much debate on the UK government’s claims about the strength of the pandemic recovery. FT economics editor Chris Giles penned a clear explanationand much attention will be paid to the country’s quarterly and monthly GDP estimates, published on Friday.

Elsewhere, there will be key data on US inflation and Germany’s production and trade figures. Plus rate rises are expected in Mexico and Russia, and the EU will update its economic forecasts.

Companies

We are deep into earnings season. This week it is the turn of consumer goods companies, drugmakers and motor manufacturers.

Unilever‘s full-year results on Thursday will face close scrutiny after the unpopular attempt to buy GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer health division and news that activist fund Trian Partners – co-founded by Nelson Peltz – has acquired a stake. As the Hellmann’s mayonnaise maker plans a reorganization that will scoop ice cream from the rest of its food arm, investors will want to know if it will sell either or both food divisions and how it plans to boost performance in the rest of the portfolio – as well as whether the company’s chief executive, chief financial officer and chair can all survive the current GSK debacle.

Results from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo will reveal whether a resurgence in Covid-19 cases around the world knocked soda demand in the December quarter. New lockdown measures in China plagued restaurant chains McDonald’s and Starbucks, their earnings showedwhile supply chain costs, including delays from Canada, continued to mount. Still, analysts expect Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to report stronger revenues compared to the same quarter in 2020.

Japanese carmakers Nissan and Honda will be revealing their P & Ls this week. But investors will be watching to see whether Toyotathe world’s top car seller in 2021, can shrug off the impact of chip shortages in the coming months after its announcement in January that a supply glitch would force it to cut output for February – this Lex note provides an explanation of the consequences. In output terms, it means Toyota is unlikely to reach its production target of 9mn vehicles for the fiscal year to March.

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

  • Asia region IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data

  • China, Caixin composite and services PMI data

  • EU, European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde speaks in a hearing to the European parliament’s committee on economic and monetary affairs

  • Germany, monthly industrial production figures

  • Indonesia, Q4 GDP

  • Japan, December trade balance figures

  • UK, Halifax house price index

  • US, monthly consumer credit figures

  • Results: Aurubis Q1, BB Security Participacoes Q4, Hasbro Q4, Principal Financial Q4

Tuesday

  • Bellway trading update

  • France, December trade balance figures

  • Italy, retail sales data

  • Poland, National Bank of Poland’s monetary policy committee meeting

  • UK, BRC-Barclaycard monthly retail sales monitor report

  • US, monthly trade balance figures

  • Results: BNP Paribas FY, BP FY, CNH Industrial FY, Harley-Davidson Q4, Iveco FY, Lift Q4, Nissan Motor Q3, Ocado FY, Pfizer Q4, Securitas FY, SoftBank Q3, Thomson Reuters Q4, Tui Travel Q1

Wednesday

  • Germany, December trade balance figures

  • Italy, industrial output figures

  • Japan, producer price index (PPI) figures

  • Russia, consumer price index (CPI) figures

  • Sweden, Riksbank holds its monetary policy meeting in Stockholm

  • UK, BoE chief economist Huw Pill speech at the Society of Professional Economists annual conference: “UK Monetary Policy outlook”.

  • Results: ABN Amro Q4, Adyen H2, Aegon Q4, Akzo Nobel Q4, Barratt Developments H1, Dunelm H1, Equinor Q4, GlaxoSmithKline Q4, Commercial banks FY, Honda Q3, L’Oréal FY, Maersk Group Q4, Mediobanca H1, Smurfit Kappa FY, Toyota Q3, Uber Technologies Q4, Walt Disney Company Q1, Yum Brands Q4

Thursday

  • Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries monthly oil market report

  • EU, European Commission publishes eurozone economic forecasts

  • UK, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors monthly residential market survey plus Recruitment & Employment Confederation-KPMG monthly jobs report. Also, BoE Governor Andrew Bailey gives a speech at TheCityUK Annual Dinner.

  • US, January CPI data

  • Results: ArcelorMittal Q4, Ashmore Group H1, AstraZeneca FY, Beazley FY, Bombardier FY, Coca-Cola Company Q4, Agricultural credit FY, Credit Suisse FY, Deutsche Börse Q4, Kellogg Company Q4, Linde Q4, Mazda Motor Q4, PepsiCo Q4, Pernod Ricard H1, Philip Morris FY, Relx FY, Siemens Q1, Société Générale FY, Thyssenkrupp Q1, Total Q4, Twitter Q4, Unilever FY, VeriSign Q4, Western Union Q4, Zurich Insurance FY

Friday

  • British American Tobacco FY preliminary statement

  • Germany, final CPI data

  • India, monthly industrial production figures

  • Russia, key interest rate decision

  • UK, Q4 and December GDP estimates plus trade balance and December industrial production data

World events

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

Monday

  • EU, 30th anniversary of the signing of the Maastricht treaty, the foundation of the EU

  • US, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is scheduled to meet US President Joe Biden at the White House

Tuesday

  • UK, Church of England General Synod gathers in London. Debates likely to include the church’s attitude to same-sex relationships and challenging slavery.

  • US, nominations for the 94th Academy Awards, the Oscars

Wednesday

Thursday

  • IBM supercomputer Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov at chess for the first time on this date in 1996

  • Germany, 72nd Berlin International Film Festival begins

Friday

  • Iran, Revolution Day held on the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic uprising

  • UK, Covid tests scrapped for double-vaccinated travelers arriving in England

  • US, New York Fashion Week begins

Saturday

  • Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban gives annual state of the nation speech

  • Myanmar, Union Day to mark the country gaining full independence in 1947

  • US, former president Abraham Lincoln was born on this date in 1809

Sunday

  • Germany, a special Federal Convention (Bundesversammlung), whose membership is equally split between Bundestag members selected by the 16 federal state parliaments, votes to decide the country’s next president

  • US, 56th Super Bowl, the climax of the American football season, will be played at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California

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