Welcome to the working week.
Liberty is going to be a theme of several news events over the next few days.
England’s citizens are preparing for confirmation of a return to freedom by prime minister Boris Johnson, who will outline the ending of (almost all) coronavirus social restrictions from July 19 in a statement to the House of Commons. Optimism is high. The success of the British vaccine development and rollout is something that the country can be rightly proud of. But risks remain, both of “chaos” in the jobs market as lockdown is unwound (not my words, those of business leaders) and of an escalation in Covid cases after “freedom day”. The road ahead will be bumpy — the surge in cases due to the Delta variant damped UK consumer spending last month. Setbacks could still force the Westminster government to reimpose restrictions again, as the FT’s editorial board has warned.
If you are a French citizen, you can add to your liberté a side order of égalité and fraternité as Bastille Day is celebrated on Wednesday. In Paris, President Emmanuel Macron will watch a military parade, thanking French health workers for their work in the fight against Covid-19. Then on Sunday, the French capital will host the final stage of the Tour de France.
In the land of liberty, and the free, US president Joe Biden will this week welcome Angela Merkel for the latest stage in the German chancellor’s global goodbye tour. Their conversation is expected to include the subject of climate change — a shared interest and pressing need, as the recent heatwave across the Pacific Northwest and Canada showed. As my colleague Pilita Clarke noted last week, the impact of hotter temperatures is already forcing companies to adapt workplaces to keep staff cool.
This newsletter is designed to help you look forward, but I am also interested in hearing about how your week has just gone. Please email me, at I’ll share the more colourful examples next Sunday. Also, tell me what you think about the new look Week Ahead: would you like more of something, less of something, or is it about right. Either way, I would value your comments.
Banks will be dominating the earnings announcements this week with the biggest names on Wall Street reporting. Investors and analysts are eager for updates on the industry’s struggles to lend the $1tn-plus that has built up on bank balance sheets during the past 12 months. JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs kick off earnings season on Tuesday, followed by Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo reporting on Wednesday, and Morgan Stanley on Thursday.
Ericsson will be another company to watch, not least because its news often launches a share price rollercoaster ride. Investors will be nervously looking to see whether the telecoms equipment supplier can maintain its momentum in 5G networks and whether China’s threat to retaliate against Sweden’s ban of rival Huawei has hurt the company in one of its biggest markets. Chief executive Borje Ekholm has tested relations with fellow Europeans — but probably made a smart business move — by warning that the EU is falling behind the US and China in its development of 5G.
Inflation is worrying the world’s leading economists as stimulus measures kick in and developed countries emerge from coronavirus lockdowns. So expect the markets to watch with interest the consumer price data from the US, India and the EU.
Concern is also growing among senior central bankers about the Delta variant of coronavirus stymying global growth — despite the proven effectiveness of vaccines against the disease — so expect output figures to be keenly observed too.
Here is a more complete list of what to expect in terms of company reports and economic data this week.
Finally, here is a rundown of events and milestones likely to make the news this week.