New week, ‘new stage’


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Hello and welcome to the working week.

After a period of unrest, change and mourning in China, vice-premier and Covid-19 tsar Sun Chunlan said the fight against the virus had entered a “new stage”. The potential unlocking, albeit gradual, of Beijing’s zero-Covid policy is likely to be in the headlines, as will the ensuing inflationary pressures. State institutions and businesses will continue to face the delicate task of paying respects to the late president Jiang Zemin without offending the incumbent, Xi Jinping.

Now that electricity has been restored to some parts of Ukraine the struggle to increase ammunition production in the west is in focus. Industrial capacity and the interrupted global supply chain will be high on the agenda for ministers of defence at the annual European Intervention Initiative (EI2) in Oslo and the annual European Defence Agency conference in Brussels. This week may also see Russia’s president Vladimir Putin respond to US counterpart Joe Biden, who said he was open to talk about ending the conflict.

Nationwide’s plummeting house price index continues to damp Christmas spirits in the UK. Will Wednesday’s Halifax house price index figures tell the same story? News of record food inflation certainly has us braced for the upcoming BRC November retail sales figures and is likely to play a big role in the AGM discussions of Associated British Foods.

It will be a week of sports across the world. NBA season is now well under way in the US and the men’s football World Cup in Qatar will reach the quarter-final stage. The Pakistan-England Test series takes place, and the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final starts in Italy on Thursday.

Elsewhere, the Nobel Prizes will be awarded at a ceremony in Oslo on Saturday.

Economic data

Highlights this week include the November Halifax House Price Index and Purchasing Managers’ Index reports for the UK, Russia and EU. Also look out for EU retail sales, Germany’s factory orders and industrial production, EU third-quarter gross domestic product and British Retail Consortium sales, plus trade balance figures from the US.


It’s slim pickings for results this week, but Costco Wholesale is expected to rise owing to resilient demand for fresh food, groceries and fuel, despite decades-high inflation. Lululemon Athletica reports on Thursday and Carl Zeiss Meditec on Friday.

In UK news, we are likely to hear more on Mulberry’s claim that luxury shoppers are shunning London for Europe since the decision to end VAT-free shopping in the UK. Chief executive Thierry Andretta said: “We are losing 45-50 per cent of our potential business [at the Bond Street store] due to the end of the tax free [shopping].”

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.


  • US, November ISM non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data

  • China, Caixin general services PMI data

  • Russia, November S&P Global Services PMI

  • UK, November S&P Global/Cips Composite PMI

  • EU, October retail sales figures

  • EU, November S&P Global Composite PMI

  • Mexico, November consumer confidence data

  • Bank for International Settlements publishes quarterly report on global markets


  • US, October trade balance figures

  • UK, BRC November retail sales

  • UK, November S&P Global/Cips Construction PMI

  • Germany, October factory orders

  • Germany, November S&P Global Construction PMI

  • Australia, RBA interest rate decision

  • FT Advancing Sustainability in the Service Sector online. Speakers include Infosys vice-president Mitrankur Majumdar, Swissport International chief strategist Nadia Kaddouri and more. Register for free online.

  • Results: Ashtead Q2


  • China, November trade balance figures

  • Japan, Bank of Japan Nakamura speech

  • Russia, November foreign exchange reserves

  • UK, November Halifax House Price Index

  • UK, Bank of England Phil Evans speech at UK Finance on Basel 3.1 consultation

  • EU, GDP growth rate, third estimate Q3

  • EU, employment change Q3

  • Germany, October industrial production

  • France, trade balance figures

  • Italy, October retail sales figures

  • Australia, Q3 GDP figures

  • FT The Global Boardroom summit begins online, discussing strategies for a new geopolitical and economic reality


  • UK, ONS economic activity and social change in the UK, real-time indicators

  • UK, KPMG and REC jobs report

  • Australia, business lending figures and RBA bulletin

  • Brazil, trade and agricultural figures

  • Mexico, November inflation Producer Price Index rate

  • Balfour Beatty and British American Tobacco trading updates

  • Results: Costco Wholesale Q1, Lululemon Athletica Q3, DS Smith HY


  • Russia, November inflation rate

  • China, November inflation rate consumer price index (CPI)

  • China, November monthly PPI figures

  • US, November PPI figures

  • US, preliminary December Michigan Consumer Sentiment index

  • Associated British Foods annual meeting

  • Results: Carl Zeiss Meditec Q4

World events

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


  • Netherlands, St Nicholas Eve/Sinterklaas

  • Pakistan, last day of the first England vs Pakistan Test match in Rawalpindi

  • Switzerland, WHO meeting in Geneva to review the new pandemic accord

  • Belgium’s biggest criminal trial, on the Brussels attacks that killed 32 people and left hundreds injured, is due to start


  • Saint Nicholas Day

  • Ukraine, annual Army Day to celebrate the efforts of the armed forces

  • Albania, first EU-western Balkans summit to take place in the western Balkan region

  • US, first auction of offshore wind development rights off the California coast

  • Qatar, final group-stage World Cup match


  • Fiftieth anniversary of Apollo 17 launch, the final moon landing mission

  • Norway, defence ministers meet at the annual European Intervention Initiative (EI2) in Oslo, to discuss regional security after the Russian invasion of Ukraine

  • Canada, COP15. Biodiversity summit starts in Montreal, hosted by China

  • Italy, Milan’s Teatro alla Scala opera season opens with Boris Godunov

  • Guatemala, Christmas season kicks off with the annual “Burning of the Devil”


  • Belgium, European Defence Agency annual conference begins in hybrid format

  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception

  • France, Lyon’s four-day Fête des Lumières begins


  • Qatar, World Cup quarter-finals kick off

  • Pakistan, the second of three Pakistan vs England test series matches starts in Multan

  • UN Genocide Prevention Day and the 74th anniversary of the 1948 Genocide Convention

  • Tanzania, Independence day


  • International Human Rights Day

  • Norway, Nobel Prize award ceremony takes place in Oslo


  • Italy, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final ends in Turin

  • Burkina Faso, Proclamation of Independence Day

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