Welcome to independence week. The big one — the celebration of 1776 and all that — kicks off across the US on Monday. But from Algeria to Venezuela, Argentina to South Sudan, disconnecting from former colonial powers is a strong theme — and a source for public holidays around the world — for the next seven days.
For those of us trying to get into (or on with) work, however, this is not going to be a week for celebrations.
French rail workers will begin strike action on Wednesday, days before the country’s school holidays begin.
Then there is the unfolding drama of the British summer of discontent. Barristers in England and Wales will tomorrow resume their “crime doesn’t pay for advocates” strike. On Tuesday they will be joined by the banking regulators at the Financial Conduct Authority — represented by Unite — who are again walking out in defiance of their latest pay offer. Moreover, the range of workers taking action is growing. Also on Tuesday, Whirlpool’s washing machine makers will be balloted for strike action over what the union bosses have called an “insulting” pay offer.
This seems a good point to mention that the Financial Times is running a survey on the cost of living squeeze — how are you coping with higher prices? To take part, click here.
After last week’s Nato summit in Madrid, the focus for western efforts trying to help Ukraine this week will switch 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 in a time of relative peace for the nation. Russia’s invasion has given 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 stimulating talks and gatherings. This Thursday’s event, Capitalising On Disruption To Create Business Opportunities, is free to attend and you can do so by clicking here.
The key question for the moment is if, or in some cases when, major western economies will tip into recession. A clutch of business surveys this week will highlight the areas of concern for business owners. Also closely watched will be Wednesday’s minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last rate-setting meeting and the US labour market report on Friday.
We are in for another week of UK corporate news dominated by retailers. The trading update from J Sainsbury on Tuesday will in effect be a rerun of Tesco a couple of weeks ago given that it too has taken a strategic decision to accept lower prices that will reduce profits in order to keep customers.
Currys could be quite interesting given that the British electrical goods retailer is the clear market leader but its market cap has shrivelled, margins are tight and there is a sense that the pandemic was the company’s high water mark.
Read the full week ahead calendar here