What started with misery at the pumps due to rising fuel prices, then flight disruptions due to understaffing, will this week spread to problems on the trains – in the country that gave you this mode of transport. A series of nationwide railway strikes and, in London, another underground strike, threaten to paralyze the network.
The dispute is centered on wage demands and the impact on jobs of efficiency savings, which are becoming more urgent by declining incomes during pandemic shutdowns. Government ministers, who, as stated in this article, now effectively control all railway funding after changes made during the pandemic, refused to speak directly to the RMT, the main trade union calling for action.
Whether this will have a major impact on Thursday’s two midterm elections in the UK – this week’s top election news – is an unresolved question, as the poll already points to a double breath for the Tories – a “red wall” and a “blue wall” constituency – amid anger against 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 hardly particularly 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 traveling in 2019.
Another international gathering this week will be the delayed meeting of Commonwealth heads of state in Rwanda. The venue will provoke unpleasant questions for Prince Charles, who will attend on behalf of the Queen given Britain’s deal with the country to receive British asylum seekers, a policy the heir to the throne had described as “shocking”, according to a Times newspaper report.
The week ends with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz hosting his colleagues from other G7 nations for a summit at Bavaria’s remote Schloss Elmau castle, the same place his predecessor Angela Merkel chose in 2015. The most notable point here, however, is a special guest, India. Narendra Modi, and whether it will help the Western powers – Australia will do something similar during a state visit to India earlier this week – in the fight for allies to counter the growing proximity 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 Confid figures in Germany.
The culmination of speeches by central bankers – and there are a few this week – will be Jay Powell’s semi-annual appearance in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee to present his report on monetary policy. And if you do not have enough data on cost of living, we will 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 is on the speaker list.
Not many results announcements this week. FedEx will release fourth-quarter figures Thursday, but that was anticipated last week as the U.S. delivery company drew on concerns about the economy as it announced a dividend increase and two new board members.
Read the full program for the coming week here