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Hello and welcome to the working week.
You might have wondered why this newsletter has had so little to say about by far the biggest news story of this summer — Afghanistan. It is not because of lack of interest, but the point of The Week Ahead is to keep you abreast of the news diary — things that have been written into someone’s schedule.
This week, something Afghan-related has been written into the US president’s diary, in thick marker pen: the deadline for withdrawal of American troops (and by proxy every other allied soldier) will arrive on Tuesday. The situation for the president is probably best summarised by my colleague Ed Luce’s analysis of whether this is Biden’s Jimmy Carter moment.
Most schools in the UK and Israel begin their autumn term on Wednesday — schools in Scotland went back earlier this month — so expect more analysis of the impact this has on Covid-19 cases.
Tuesday will be the 24th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. This would not be noteworthy except that the damning report into the BBC’s 1995 Panorama interview with the late mother of the UK’s second in line to the throne is still relatively fresh and that Spencer, a much trailed film about her marriage to Prince Charles, will be screened this week at the Venice Film Festival.
Thank you to all those who have offered support and advice for this column — please keep them coming to firstname.lastname@example.org. One request was for a piece I have particularly enjoyed in the past seven days, and this week there was no contest: it has to be my colleague Robert Armstrong’s take on the death of the office suit. This is a subject close to my heart/wardrobe, and a move to casual attire I have not found easy — as Rob and other colleagues will attest — but as I write this, in jeans and an Oxford shirt, I accept we have entered a new era of work casual.
In a quieter week for company results, pandemic “winner” Zoom Video Communications stands out, not for its size but its role as a potential indicator of the future of work.
The San Francisco-based start-up was the darling stock of lockdown. The question is what will happen to the service once employers no longer have to conduct meetings from their children’s bedroom desk.
Zoom has reacted to changing events by installing videoconferencing suites, “Zoom Rooms”, in offices. Last month it acquired Five9 to gain a foothold in the $24bn market for cloud-based call centre services — you can read the view of the FT’s Lex on this deal here.
Turnround specialist Melrose reports half-year results, which might provide some insight into the global semiconductor shortage in the car sector. Its biggest division is automotive.
The other issue for Melrose is its aviation businesses, which rely heavily on commercial air travel.
There is a flood of economic data from the eurozone this week: inflation data on Tuesday, unemployment figures on Wednesday and finishing with retail sales on Friday.
The British interest in the value of their property will be fed by data on how house prices have moved after the withdrawal of the stamp duty holiday.
It is also worth highlighting monthly spending data published by the Bank of England this week, which should show if consumers have continued to accumulate savings or decided to splash cash squirrelled away during the pandemic lockdowns.
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.
Eurozone, Consumer confidence data
Germany, Federal Statistical Office preliminary consumer price index
Japan, Monthly retail sales numbers
RESULTS: Bank of China H1, Zoom Video Communications Q2
Canada, Monthly GDP figures
EU, Eurostat flash eurozone inflation figures
France, Italy: Q2 GDP growth-rate figures
Germany, Federal Institute for Employment monthly labour market figures
India, Monthly GDP figures
Japan, Monthly employment rate; industrial production figures
UK, Bank of England monthly mortgage lending and consumer credit figures
UK, British Retail Consortium monthly economic briefing
UK, Debt Management Office details plans for selling government bonds, including first green gilts sales
US, Conference Board consumer confidence figures
US, Federal Housing Finance Agency house price indices
RESULTS: Bunzl H1, Norwegian Air Q2, Old Mutual H1
Brazil, Monthly GDP figures
Canada, China, Italy, Eurozone, France, Germany, Japan, UK, US: IHS Markit/Cips manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index announcements
EU, Eurostat unemployment figures
Germany, Federal Statistical Office retail trade figures
Italy, Istat unemployment figures
UK, Nationwide house price data
US, Construction spending figures
US, Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index
RESULTS: Melrose Industries H1, Pernod Ricard FY
EU, Eurostat industrial production figures
UK, Nationwide monthly housing index
US, Census Bureau motor vehicle sales figures
RESULTS: Barratt Developments FY, Melrose Industries H1, Truworths International FY
EU, Eurostat retail trade figures
China, Eurozone, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, UK, US: IHS/Markit services sector PMI
Turkey, CPI data
UK, Bank of England official holdings of international reserves
UK, Quarterly review of the FTSE UK Index series
US, Average weekly earnings
US, Monthly unemployment figures
US, Non-farm payrolls, monthly change
Finally, here is a rundown of other events and milestones this week.
Germany, European Central Bank holds annual research conference online
UK, August Bank Holiday, public holiday throughout the UK, except Scotland.
UK, Latest changes to UK Covid travel restrictions come into place. Canada and Denmark are among seven countries moving to the green list. Thailand and Montenegro join the red list.
US, Day one of the US Open tennis tournament in Flushing Meadows, New York
US, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky meets Biden at the White House
Afghanistan, Deadline for US withdrawal
UK, Scottish Parliament returns from summer recess
UK, 24th anniversary of death of Diana, Princess of Wales
Austria, 20th Opec and non-Opec ministerial meeting takes place
Italy, Venice International Film Festival begins
Russia, Population census starts
UK, Deadline for telecoms companies to stop installing Huawei equipment in British 5G networks
UK, Israel: Most schools return from summer break
UK, Partridge-shooting season begins
China International Fair for Trade in Services opens in Beijing
UK, Voting opens for Green party leadership election
China Fashion Week opens in Beijing
Germany, Berlin International Beer Festival begins
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