Prepare to be reminded of past scandals and wars that still reverberate today. Tuesday marks the fifth anniversary of the fire that engulfed the Grenfell tower block in west London, revealing flaws in the building’s cladding and sparking a crisis for homeowners across the UK that continues to have repercussions.
It also marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War, whose wounds are still fresh in Buenos Aires.
Half a century has passed since the burglary at the Watergate hotel-apartment-office complex in Washington on Friday. Thankfully, that case was resolved more quickly, though it left the irritating legacy of the suffix being attached to seemingly every subsequent political scandal.
The latest of these, “Partygate,” has a way to go, although the main protagonist, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, will (ironically) be the center of a legitimate social gathering this week as he turns 58 on Saturday.
Partygate spin-off series Are You Being (Poorly) Served is likely to see another episode in which the government promises to publish controversial and long-delayed legislation to overturn the Northern Ireland protocol on Monday. As my colleague Peter Foster pointed out in his excellent Brexit briefing newsletter last week, this is unlikely to end well.
Johnson is also expected to announce a new “plan growth‘ this week alongside his Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Following the OECD’s verdict on Britain’s growth next year – only sanctions-hit Russia is forecast to fare worse among the G20 countries – the country clearly needs a new plan, if not a new prime minister, to implement it.
France goes to the polls again on Sunday for the second round of the parliamentary elections. This time, the concern for the newly elected President Emmanuel Macron is not with the extreme right, but with an alliance of the extreme left.
There will be at least one resolution this week. Colombians will enter the second round of their country’s presidential election on Sunday, which will decide whether populist Rodolfo Hernández can unseat former left-wing guerrilla fighter Gustavo Petro. Whatever the outcome, it’s going to be an interesting competition.
It’s going to be (another) week for rates news. The main attraction will be the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting, but there will also be decisions by the Bank of England and its equivalents in Japan, Switzerland and Brazil.
The question is not whether monetary tightening will accelerate, but by how much – the answer to that question depends in part on your confidence in the ability of the given economy to achieve a soft landing, or whether it is doomed to fail in one recession is doomed.
The surge in US inflation on Friday has fueled talk of rapid tightening. Policymakers have already signaled that the Fed will make at least a series of half-point rate hikes. Traders have priced in the federal funds rate to rise to about 2.9 percent by the end of the year from its current target range of 0.75 percent to 1 percent. The OECD placed its marker last week ahead of US inflation figures, calling for faster action by the Fed.
Retail has a strong presence on the earnings calendar this week. The headline is Tesco, Britain’s largest supermarket chain, and observers are keen to learn more about how inflation is affecting household spending. However, just two months after full-year results, few expect the company to deviate from its cautious script that gains this year will be hampered by the need to keep prices in check for buyers.
I asked Jonathan Eley, the FT’s retail correspondent, for a view. “The company has been gaining market share in recent months but sales growth numbers for the first quarter are clouded by the closure of pubs and restaurants over the same period a year ago,” he said. “It boosted supermarket sales but hurt Booker, Tesco’s wholesale business.”
Amid analyst comments, Barclays had forecast a 1.8 percent headline decline in the UK, with lower volumes partially offset by higher prices.
Read the full calendar for next week here