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Inflationary pressures and loosening of Covid restrictions


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Hello and welcome to the working week.

The uncertainty surrounding the Russia-Ukraine crisis and diplomatic efforts to avert a conflict are likely to continue to be at the top of the agenda this week. After the conclusion of the Munich Security Conference, the situation is expected to be discussed at meetings of EU ministers during the week.

British representatives are starting the working week with a return to the House of Commons and House of Lords after recess. UK prime minister Boris Johnson will announce the government’s “living with Covid” strategy, which could include the end of self-isolation. NHS leaders have warned against premature relaxation. First minister Nicola Sturgeon is to publish Scotland’s longer-term Covid-19 strategy on Tuesday. She previously indicated she was reluctant to match plans that would in effect scrap remaining restrictions this month.

Two nations that have followed strict border policies over the past two years are also partially reopening this week. Australia is preparing for a tourism wave when it welcomes double-vaccinated overseas visitors on Monday and its neighbour New Zealand will from Sunday allow fully vaccinated citizens in Australia to return without having to quarantine at state-managed hotels.

On to financial matters. US markets will be closed on Monday while the country celebrates Presidents Day. On Wednesday, the recently under-fire Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey will appear before the Treasury Committee to discuss the UK central bank’s quarterly Monetary Policy Report. Inflation is set to be a key topic.

Before moving on to economic data and corporate news, please check out Climate Capital Live, a platform for politicians, business leaders and financiers to evaluate the risks and opportunities they face in light of the climate crisis. Join in person and online on March 8-10 by registering here

Economic data

Inflation has hit recent record highs in economies around the world, with central banks expected to begin tightening monetary policy. Debate continues on whether it is transitory but the increase in the cost of living is already having a significant impact for many.

This week, look out for rate releases in France, Italy and the EU. During the pandemic, house prices have soared in many regions and in the coming days house price index data will be released in the UK, US and China. The Financial Times is tracking price rises and you can search by country here.

Companies

Earnings season continues. A big theme this week is results from the travel and leisure industry. Businesses across the sector have been hit by restrictions since the start of the pandemic, with the Omicron variant also denting bookings. Heathrow, the biggest UK airport, is due to report. So is the owner of British Airways, International Airlines Group, as well as Qantas Airways, Norwegian Cruise Line and InterContinental Hotels.

Bank earnings will be released by HSBC Holdings, Barclays, Lloyds Banking and Metro Bank. Other notable results to watch for this week include Centrica, owner of British Gas, which will provide an insight into the impact of the energy crisis. Also look out for Beyond Meat, which became one of the most shorted companies on the US stock market earlier this year as scepticism grows over the plant-based meat boom. On the flip side, observers will be following UK-listed Hays to see if the recruiter continues to benefit from the talent war. Cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase and Jack Ma’s ecommerce platform Alibaba will also publish earnings.

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

  • Eurozone, France, Germany, UK: IHS Markit flash composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data releases

  • Japan, flash composite PMI

  • Germany, producer price index (PPI) figures

  • UK, China: house price indices

  • China, People’s Bank of China interest rate decision

Tuesday

  • US, IHS Markit flash composite PMI data, house price index and consumer confidence data

  • UK, public finances and CBI industrial trends survey

  • Italy, inflation rate

  • Germany, Ifo Institute monthly business confidence index

  • Results: HSBC Holdings FY, InterContinental Hotels Group preliminary FY

Wednesday

  • Germany, GfK consumer confidence survey

  • EU, inflation rate

  • Results: Barclays FY, Petrobras SA FY, Danone SA FY, Heathrow Airport Holdings FY, Metro Bank FY, Rio Tinto FY, Aston Martin Lagonda FY, eBay Q4 

Thursday

  • US, revised Q4 gross domestic product (GDP) and initial jobless claims

  • UK, ONS early estimates of Q4 regional gross value added

  • Results: Lloyds Banking Group FY, Dell Technologies Q4, Rolls-Royce FY, Beyond Meat FY, Hays H1, BAE Systems FY, Serco Group FY, AB InBev Q4, Deutsche Telekom FY, Coinbase FY, WPP preliminary FY, Centrica preliminary FY, Alibaba Group Q4, Moderna Q4, Bain Capital Q4, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings FY, Qantas Airways HY

Friday

  • UK, GfK consumer confidence survey

  • Germany, Q4 GDP data and import prices

  • France, Q4 GDP data, PPI figures and inflation rate

  • Spain, PPI data

  • Italy, business and consumer confidence data

  • EU, economic sentiment indicator and business climate indicator

  • Results: Pearson FY, International Airlines Group FY

Saturday

World events

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

Monday

  • UK, MPs and peers return to Westminster from recess, and Boris Johnson announces the government’s “living with Covid” strategy

  • US, Presidents Day, financial markets closed

  • EU, UK, Joint committee meeting in Brussels

  • EU, foreign ministers meeting

  • Australia, reopens its international borders to fully vaccinated visa-holders

Tuesday

  • Nicola Sturgeon announces Scotland’s long-term pandemic strategy

  • ILO Global Forum for a Human-centred recovery begins, with speakers including IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva

  • Last day of London Fashion Week and the start of Milan Fashion Week

Wednesday

  • UK, Andrew Bailey to appear at a Treasury Committee session on the BoE’s quarterly Monetary Policy Report

  • Portugal, prime minister António Costa takes office after winning snap general election

  • Russia, Defender of the Fatherland Day marked

Thursday

  • Hong Kong, national security case of media tycoon Jimmy Lai and other former Apple Daily associates expected to resume in court

  • US, the Conservative Political Action Conference begins and runs to Sunday. Former president Donald Trump is expected to be among the speakers

Friday

  • Eurozone, eurogroup meeting of finance ministers ahead of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting

  • Brazil, opening ceremony of the 2022 Rio Carnival

Sunday

  • Belarus, referendum on a new constitution

  • New Zealand, begins its border reopening plan with fully vaccinated citizens, residents and other eligible travellers in Australia able to return without mandatory state-managed hotel quarantine

  • US, Screen Actors Guild awards for film and television performances

  • UK, Carabao Cup final, Chelsea vs Liverpool

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