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It’s not often that two leaders of Western powers celebrate an anniversary in the same week. Even rarer that both are in their eighth decade. Should we celebrate that age is clearly no longer a barrier to such leadership positions? King Charles III turns 74 on Monday and will be honored with a 41-gun salute and rendition of “Happy Birthday” during the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. But US President Joe Biden takes a bigger step by turning 80 on Sunday. He also has a more pressing week of international diplomacy and domestic politics to manage before he blows out his cake candles.
First, there’s the G20 summit in Bali, or what an FT colleague called the first global government gathering of the second Cold War. Russian President Vladimir Putin is not present, but China’s Xi Jinping is expected to, so there will be pressure for Biden to speak to him.
At home, there’s the small business of Donald Trump’s “very big announcement” on Tuesday from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
It is also the week of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Thailand, bringing together 21 countries from the region, the first face-to-face gathering since 2018. Again, the United States, China and Russia are invited , and again Putin will not be there. French President Emmanuel Macron will be present, however, as he has been invited to speak on global trade relations.
Repair a hole
Across the Atlantic in the UK, where potential festive roasts are having a particularly miserable season, the most important date on the agenda is Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s financial statement on Thursday.
The country is in a ‘fiscal hole’ (not my phrase, Hunt) and the Chancellor’s plan is to find around half of the required £55billion shortfall in public spending cuts, with measures including a delay on welfare reforms, a freeze on income tax thresholds and a stealth raid on inheritance tax.
The FT’s parliamentary and economic team will be on hand to translate politicians’ words and find key points buried in Treasury documents. Read this explainer to understand why the UK needs to act urgently. And if you think you can do a better job than the Chancellor, knock yourself out with our interactive “fill in the black hole”.
Sticking to British politics, Nicola Sturgeon will complete eight years as head of the Scottish National Party on Monday. She got the job when her predecessor and mentor Alex Salmond resigned following the 2014 independence referendum. As Westminster slashes central government spending, Holyrood launches its own austerity campaign. Will Sturgeon’s milestone prompt an assessment of his record as premier?
The United Nations climate change conference COP27 draws to a close on Friday, but on Sunday we have the start of something that will most likely make world news as well as sports page headlines for the next month – the World Cup. FIFA World Qatar 2022. is likely to be a controversial tournament would be an understatement – read our magazine report here. The FT will be on hand to provide full coverage.
Finally, we have more elections. Malaysia goes to the polls on Saturday. Nepalis will vote for seats in parliament and provincial government on Sunday and FT sister title Nikkei Asia has produced this handy guide to the key points. Sunday’s general elections in Kazakhstan are noteworthy as they represent the most significant constitutional change for the oil-rich Central Asian country since it declared independence from the former Soviet Union.
There are potentially important data releases next week from the United States, namely the Producer Price Index inflation rate figures, retail sales figures and other updates. day on the faltering US housing market.
The big economic event for the UK is the autumn statement, but before that UK unemployment data will be updated on Tuesday. The British government has focused its attention on their record here because it is one of the only good news for them. However, it’s not that great.
The UK will be the only developed economy with employment still below pre-pandemic levels at the start of 2023, according to a new analysis. Another ‘winter of discontent’ is also looming as a range of workers – nurses being the latest – demand wage increases in line with inflation.
Then Wednesday comes more inflation data with concern that the consumer price index measure will remain in double digits. The week will end for the UK with an update on retail sales, although hopes are not high given the gloomy predictions of the country entering recession.
The cost of living will also be at the center of EU concerns this week, with inflation data released on Thursday. There will also be an estimate of third-quarter gross domestic product on Tuesday.
The words “Elon Musk has to make headlines again this week” could be written here any time of the year, but this week there’s a blast in the paper. This time it’s on top of his $56 billion salary package at Tesla. A court in Delaware, where the electric vehicle maker is registered, will hear the lawsuit filed by a shareholder.
Vodafone, which publishes its interim results on Tuesday, has come under pressure to review its operations. Shareholders will consider how much the company was able to reduce its debt after it announced the sale of a stake in its Vantage mast business last week.
Fashions change and so do management teams, as the British brand Burberry discovered this year. Investors will be eager to see what new chief executive Jonathan Akeroyd has on offer to spur growth when the company releases first-half numbers on Thursday. Analysts expect it to focus on improving profit margins, which have historically lagged those of big rivals France and Italy.
Read the full schedule for the week ahead here.