A positive week beckons for western unity and democracy

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Hello and welcome to the working week.

For the first time, in what feels like a long time, this could be a very positive week for western democracy.

Firstly, Nato. One of the ironies of the Ukrainian conflict is that Russia’s invasion has not only failed to achieve the Kremlin goal of limiting Nato power, it has fuelled the expansion of the military alliance — much to the delight of small European states bordering Russia.

Finland could apply for Nato membership in a matter of days, following a debate in the country’s parliament on Monday, and is likely to be followed by Sweden, which will host Finnish president Sauli Niinistö for talks on how to achieve this on Tuesday.

The process of joining Nato will take longer, but the change will be significant, doubling Nato’s land border with Russia. The gathering of leaders of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation in the Kremlin tomorrow is no doubt an attempt to show that president Vladimir Putin can organise his own military alliances, although this may also serve to illustrate the differences in scale between it and the western grouping. As if to emphasise the point, Nato commanders will meet in Brussels on Thursday.

The other cause for hope in western democracy is the year of elections. Voting in Australia’s federal elections closes on Saturday with opposition Labor leader Anthony Albanese maintaining a lead in the polls over the incumbent Scott Morrison — although these indications have been wrong in the past.

Friday is the deadline for candidates in the French parliamentary vote to declare their candidacy. Meanwhile, in South Korea, newly elected president Yoon Seok-youl will host his US counterpart Joe Biden during his first few days in office.

Boris Johnson will visit Northern Ireland on Monday after Sinn Féin won the largest number of seats in the Stormont power-sharing executive.

The UK prime minister must address the impasse in which Democratic Unionist party politicians are refusing to join the assembly while the post-Brexit UK-EU trading protocol remains in place. Johnson’s solution is expected to be legislation to override parts of the protocol, which he agreed to in 2019.

Do tell me what you think about the week ahead. What are you most interested in this week? Email me at [email protected]

Economic data

The week will start with a flurry of data from the US and China — retail sales, industrial production and housing data. Other key moments will be the inflation updates from the UK, Canada, Japan and the EU.

We will get an insight into the European Central Bank’s view on monetary policy with the publication of the minutes from its April meeting and South Africa’s central bankers meet to decide their next interest rate move — expected to be a rise of 50 basis points, the first time they have done such a thing since 2016.

Companies

The cost of living is increasing at the same time that international travel is becoming a possibility again, so this must be a good time for budget airlines, right? EasyJet and Ryanair both have investor updates this week, which will give an insight into the strength of demand for flying going into the peak summer period.

However, other factors are weighing on the companies. EasyJet in particular has struggled with Covid-related staffing shortages, and investors will be watching to see if this disrupts previously announced plans to fly 90 per cent of its 2019 flight schedules in this quarter.

Is a flatlining productivity and the energy crisis sending the British back to the economy of the 1970s? If so, then UK consumer goods group Premier Foods — home of Mr Kipling cakes, Oxo stock cubes and Smash instant potato mix — has the brands to remind Brits of that age of beige and austerity. Whatever the reason, Premier Foods is riding a wave. Having already upgraded its full-year forecast, investors have high hopes of sales success when the company reports its results on Wednesday.

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

  • Canada, manufacturing and wholesale trade figures

  • China, April retail sales and industrial production data

  • EU, March trade figures

  • Greggs Q1 trading update

  • Japan, April producer price index (PPI) data

  • UK, Rightmove monthly house price figures

  • Results: BuzzFeed Q1, Ryanair FY, Take-Two Interactive Software Q4, Tencent Music Entertainment Q1

Tuesday

  • EU, Q1 eurozone GDP figures

  • France, Q1 unemployment rate

  • Italy, consumer price index (CPI) data

  • UK, unemployment figures, April insolvency statistics plus Q1 productivity flash estimate

  • US, April retail sales and industrial production figures plus May housing market index data

  • Results: Home Depot Q1, Imperial Brands H1, JD.com Q1, Land Securities FY, Vodafone FY, Walmart Q1

Wednesday

  • Aviva Q1 trading update

  • Canada, April CPI data

  • EU, Q1 trade figures plus April harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP) data

  • Governing council of the European Central Bank holds a non-monetary policy meeting in Frankfurt

  • Japan, March industrial production data and Q1 preliminary GDP figures

  • Russia, Q1 flash GDP figures

  • UK, April CPI and retail price index (RPI) data

  • US, April residential construction figures

  • Results: ABN Amro Q1, British Land FY, Burberry FY, Cisco Systems Q3, Experian FY, Marston’s H1, Mitchells & Butlers H1, Premier Foods FY, Singapore Airlines FY, TJX Companies Q1

Thursday

  • EU, minutes of the last European Central Bank governing council meeting

  • Japan, April CPI figures

  • Philippines, monetary policy committee meeting

  • South Africa, monetary policy committee meeting

  • UK, trade figures plus CBI monthly industrial trends survey

  • Results: easyJet H1, Generali Q1, Investec FY, National Grid FY, Qinetiq FY, Royal Mail FY

Friday

  • China, monetary policy rate decision

  • EU, flash consumer confidence data

  • Japan, April CPI figures

  • Results: Deere & Company Q2, Nationwide FY, Richemont FY

World events

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

Monday

  • EU foreign affairs council meets in Brussels

  • Finland’s parliament to debate Nato membership after the country’s president Sauli Niinistö and prime minister Sanna Marin said Finland ‘must apply’ to join the Nato military alliance within days

  • Russia, leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, including president Vladimir Putin and Belarus’s Alexander Lukashenko, meet in the Kremlin

  • UK, prime minister Boris Johnson visits Northern Ireland to try to persuade Democratic Unionist politicians to rejoin the power-sharing executive in Stormont

  • Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey answers questions at the Treasury committee hearing, including an explanation of how the central bank plans to get inflation back to its 2 per cent target

  • US, president Joe Biden hosts Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the White House

Tuesday

  • EU, Andrea Enria, chair of the European Central Bank’s supervisory board, gives a keynote speech at the Institut Montaigne in Paris

  • France, the 75th annual Cannes Film Festival begins

  • Sweden, Finnish president Sauli Niinistö makes a state visit to Stockholm as the two countries prepare to join Nato

  • UK, House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee holds a session on propriety of governance in light of the Greensill Capital scandal

Wednesday

  • Germany, G7 development ministers meet in Berlin

  • Spain, Uefa Europa League final will take place at Seville’s Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium

  • US, start of a trial of four men allegedly affiliated with the ‘Proud Boys’ movement on charges stemming from their participation in the January 2021 Capitol riot

Thursday

  • Belgium, Nato military commanders gather for a defence chiefs’ meeting in Brussels

  • UK, 67th Ivor Novello Awards takes place at the Grosvenor House in London

  • ECB vice-president Luis de Guindos speaks at the 20th annual symposium on ‘Building the Financial System of the 21st Century: An Agenda for Europe and the United States’

Friday

  • Cambodia, Day of remembrance to commemorate the genocide of the Khmer Rouge regime that ruled the country from 1975 to 1979

  • EU, Foreign ministers from the 46 Council of Europe member states meet in Turin to discuss their response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine plus EU foreign affairs council (development) meets in Brussels

  • France, deadline for candidates to declare they are running for the French parliamentary elections

  • US president Joe Biden begins visit of South Korea, where he will meet the new South Korean president Yoon Seok-youl

  • UK, the Bank of England’s chief economist Huw Pill speaks at an event hosted by ACCA Cymru Wales in Cardiff, plus it is National Work From Home Day

Saturday

  • Australia, polls close in federal elections

  • Thailand, trade ministers from Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation nations meet in Bangkok

Sunday

  • Switzerland, 2022 World Economic Forum event begins in Davos. Topics on the agenda will include the pandemic recovery, tackling climate change and building a better future for work

  • France, the Roland Garros French Open tennis tournament begins in Paris

  • UK, Neil Campbell aims to set a new speed world record on a bike

  • US president Joe Biden begins visit of Japan, including a meeting with leaders of the other Quad grouping countries, Australia, India and Japan for discussions following spate of weapons tests by North Korea

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