What started with misery at the pumps due to rising fuel prices, then air travel disruption due to understaffing will this week spread to problems on trains – in the country that gave you this mode transport. A series of nationwide rail strikes and, in London, another underground strike, threaten to cripple the network.
The dispute centers on wage demands and the impact on jobs of efficiency savings made more urgent by falling incomes during pandemic shutdowns. Government ministers, who as this article notes now effectively control all rail funding following changes made during the pandemic, declined to speak directly with the RMT, the main union calling for action.
Whether this will have a big impact on Thursday’s two UK by-elections – this week’s top election news – is a moot point given that the poll already points to a double whammy for the Tories – a “red wall” and a “ blue wall” constituency – amid anger at 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. The news here is unlikely to be very positive. Last October, Iata predicted that 2.3 billion people would fly in 2021 and 3.4 billion in 2022, compared to 4.5 billion people who traveled in 2019.
Another international gathering this week will be the delayed meeting of Commonwealth Heads of State in Rwanda. The venue will provoke uncomfortable questions for Prince Charles, who will attend on behalf of the Queen, given the UK’s deal with the country to take in British asylum seekers, a policy the heir to the throne had described as “appalling” according to a report in the Times newspaper.
The week will end with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz hosting his counterparts from other G7 nations for a summit at Bavaria’s secluded Schloss Elmau castle, the same venue his predecessor Angela Merkel chose in 2015. The most notable point here, however , is special guest , India’s Narendra Modi, and whether it will help the Western powers – Australia will do something similar during a state visit to India earlier in the week – in the battle for allies to counter the growing closeness between Russia and China.
Polls are the theme this week with a series of Purchasing Managers’ Index reports, regional announcements from the Fed in the US and Ifo Business Confidence figures in Germany.
The culmination of speeches by central bankers — and there are a few this week — will be Jay Powell’s semiannual appearance before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee to present his report on monetary policy. And in case you don’t have enough cost of living data, we’ll also get more inflation updates from Germany, Canada, the UK and Japan.
Cost of living and shopping trends will be at the heart of discussions among global retail groups meeting in Dublin this week for the Consumer Goods Forum. The business leaders of Unilever, Coca-Cola, Carrefour, Tesco and walmart are on the list of speakers.
Not many results announcements this week. FedEx will release fourth-quarter numbers on Thursday, but that was anticipated last week as the U.S. delivery company shrugged off concerns about the economy when it announced a dividend increase and two new board members.
Read the full schedule for the coming week here