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Loosening of Covid travel rules and optimistic retail data should ease New Year’s blues

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Hello and welcome to the working week.

Hang on. The next seven days will be tough as temperatures cool to bones, the post-festive period continues, and people grapple with New Year’s resolutions that will test them.

Across the northern hemisphere, countries have been weighed down by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and the Christmas holidays seem an almost distant memory. This week’s newspaper articles include updates on inflation and details on how climate change has (negatively) affected the weather in the United States.

Is there anything to be happy about – other than, of course, the cover of The Week Ahead newsletter? Well yes.

Covid-19 rules are relaxed for British travelers and Belgians needing to self-isolate. Additionally, pandemic data is added daily, increasing our knowledge of how to combat Omicron and showing that its spread may have peaked in some places.

For English cricket fans, the final test match of the Ashes series kicks off this week in Hobart, meaning the daily stream of miserable scoring news will soon be over. Not only can Australians enjoy the spectacle, but they can expect the Australian Open tennis tournament to start in Melbourne in seven days. And, subject to a court hearing on Monday to decide whether to proceed with the expulsion of Novak Djokovic, they have the promise of a new men’s singles champion.

There will likely be some positive news from corporate newspaper articles this week. Upbeat reports are expected from several large retailers and Wall Street banks – see Businesses section below. And the Dutch can expect a government to finally be installed, 10 months after the election.

Things may not seem to be getting better overall, but there’s always reason to be hopeful if you look closely enough – email me with your perspective at [email protected]

Economic data

Reports on this week’s economic data will begin with EU unemployment figures on Monday. Inflation will also be a hot topic (again) with monthly updates from China, US, India, Japan and France.

Companies

How was your Christmas? This week we’ll find out how good it was for a handful of retailers, mostly in the UK.

The process started with bullish updates last Thursday from Following – a UK retailer that has improved its outlook over the past 12 months – and a popular bakery chain, Gregg. This week’s updates could be more mixed.

When Asos last market update, its CEO is gone and its shares have fallen by nearly a fifth. Investors will likely be relieved just to learn that things haven’t gotten worse in “P1” – the company’s tenure for the most important four months until the end of December. There will also be quarterly retailer results this week, including Fast retail, owner of Uniqlo, Thursday.

Elsewhere, it’s the start of banking reporting season – and hopes are high after a recent rally in the industry in anticipation of rising interest rates and signs of a pickup in loan demand. JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells fargo will start work on Friday. Investors are watching for updates to their outlook for 2022.

Main economic and corporate reports

Here’s a more comprehensive list of what to expect in terms of corporate reports and economic data this week.

Monday

  • EU, euro area unemployment rate

  • Results: Brunello Cucinelli EF

Tuesday

  • EU, industrial production figures

  • UK and British Retail Consortium-KPMG Monthly Retail Sales Tracking Report

  • World Economic Forum releases report on global risks

Wednesday

  • China, India, Russia, United States: Monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) data

  • EU, India: monthly industrial production figures

  • Italy, retail sales figures

  • Just eat take out Fourth Quarter Business Update

  • United Kingdom, provisional national population projections based on 2020

  • Publication of the beige book of the United States and the Federal Reserve

  • Pentecost Bread Q3 Business Update

Thusday

  • Asos trade declaration

  • China, monthly trade data

  • Italy, industrial production figures

  • Japan, United States: monthly producer price index data

  • Marks and Spencer Q3 Business Update

  • Khaki commercial update

  • Tesco 3rd quarter trade declaration

  • UK, Recruitment & Employment Confederation and KPMG monthly employment report

  • Results: Sudzucker Q3, Fast retail T1

Friday

  • EU, monthly figures for international merchandise trade

  • France, IPC data

  • Germany, full-year GDP figures

  • United Kingdom, monthly GDP estimate, industrial production data, trade figures and productivity data

  • United States, industrial production and retail sales figures

  • Results: Citigroup T4, JPMorgan Chase T4, Wells fargo T4

Global events

Finally, here’s a look at other events and milestones this week.

Monday

  • The relaxation of the Covid-19 rules comes into force in Belgium. Fully vaccinated people will no longer have to self-isolate if they come in close contact with someone infected with the coronavirus, and the isolation time is reduced from 10 to seven days. This follows a relaxation of the rules for fully vaccinated travelers arriving in the UK, who can now take a cheaper lateral flow test instead of a PCR test.

  • Belgium, NATO-Ukraine Commission to meet in Brussels

  • Netherlands, almost 10 months after the elections, the new Dutch government is expected to be installed

  • United States, Golden Globes Awards for Film and Television Announced

Tuesday

  • Cuba, 20 years since the arrival of the first detainees at Guantánamo Bay

  • United Kingdom, start of Hilary’s tenure for High Court and Court of Appeal

Wednesday

  • The Military Committee, NATO’s highest military authority, meets for a Chiefs of Staff session at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Separately, the NATO-Russia Council will meet to discuss the accumulation of Russian soldiers along the Ukrainian border

Thusday

  • Italy, tenth anniversary of Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster that left 32 dead

  • U.S., NASA Space Agency, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Announce 2021 Rankings for Global Temperatures

  • UN to publish report on the state and outlook for the world economy for 2022

Friday

  • Australia, start of the fifth Test cricket match of the Ashes series in Hobart

  • New Year’s celebrations for Orthodox Christians

  • Tunisia, anniversary of the overthrow of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali

Saturday

Sunday

  • Ireland, State 100th anniversary ceremony at Dublin Castle to mark the start of the official handover to the Irish Free State

  • Netherlands, protesters protesting government response to coronavirus march in Amsterdam

  • Serbia holds constitutional referendum on its judicial system

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