It’s not often that two heads of state celebrate their birthdays in the same week. Even rarer that both are in their eighth decade. Should we celebrate that age is now clearly not a barrier to such managerial jobs? King Charles III turns 74 on Monday and is honored with a 41-gun salute and a performance of ‘Happy Birthday’ at the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. But US President Joe Biden is reaching a more significant milestone, turning 80 on Sunday. He also has a more pressing week of international diplomacy and national politics to deal with before blowing out the candles on his cake.
First, there is the G20 in Bali, or what one FT colleague called the first global government meeting of the second Cold War. Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend, but China’s Xi Jinping is expected, so Biden will be under pressure to speak to him.
At home, there’s the small matter of Donald Trump’s widely followed “very big announcement” Tuesday from his Mar-a-Lago Florida estate.
This is also the week of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Thailand, bringing together 21 countries in the region, the first such face-to-face meeting since 2018. Again, the US, China and Russia are invited, and again Putin will be invited absent. However, French President Emmanuel Macron will be present as he has been invited to speak on global trade relations.
Plug a hole
Across the Atlantic in Britain, where potential celebratory roasts are having a particularly miserable season, the key diary date is Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s financial report on Thursday.
The country is in a “fiscal hole” (not my term, Hunts) and the chancellor’s plan calls for about half of the required $55 billion threshold shortfall and a stealthy inheritance tax crackdown.
The FT’s parliamentary and business team will be on hand to translate the politicians’ words and find the key points hidden in the Treasury documents. Read this statement to understand why the UK needs urgent action. And if you think you can do a better job than the Chancellor, then turn yourself around with our interactive Fill the Black Hole.
Nicola Sturgeon remains loyal to British politics and will complete eight years as leader of the Scottish National Party on Monday. She got the job when her predecessor and mentor, Alex Salmond, resigned after the 2014 independence referendum. As Westminster cuts central government spending, Holyrood enacts its own austerity plan. Will Sturgeon’s milestone prompt an assessment of her record as First Secretary?
The UN climate change conference COP27 draws to a close on Friday, but on Sunday we have the start of something that will most likely grab the headlines of world news as well as sports sites for the next month – the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022. To say the least, probably 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 choices. Malaysia goes to the polls on Saturday. The Nepalese will vote for parliament and provincial government seats on Sunday, and the FT’s sister title, Nikkei Asia, has put together this handy guide with the key points. Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan are notable because they represent the most significant constitutional change for the oil-rich Central Asian country since it declared independence from the former Soviet Union.
Carpenters work on new townhouses in Tampa, Fla. © Octavio Jones/Reuters
Next week there are some potentially important data releases out of the US, namely PPI inflation, retail sales numbers and other updates on the volatile US housing market.
The big economic event in the UK is the Autumn Declaration but before that the UK unemployment data will be updated on Tuesday. The British government has turned their attention to their record here because it is one of the few pieces of good news they have. However, it’s not that great.
By early 2023, the UK will be the only developed economy with employment still below pre-pandemic levels, new analysis says. Another “winter of discontent” also looms as a number of workers – nurses being the latest – are demanding wage increases in line with inflation.
More inflation data comes on Wednesday with concerns that CPI will remain in double digits. The week will end with an update on retail sales for the UK, although hopes are not high given bleak forecasts that the country is entering a recession.
The cost of living will also be a focus for the EU this week, with inflation data due out on Thursday. On Tuesday there will also be an estimate of the gross domestic product for the third quarter.
The words “Elon Musk is set to make headlines again this week” could be written here at any time of the year, but this week’s diary has a breakout in it. This time it’s about his $56 billion salary package at Tesla. A court in Delaware, where the electric vehicle manufacturer is registered, will hear a shareholder’s lawsuit.
Vodafone, which reports interim results on Tuesday, was under pressure to overhaul its operations. Shareholders will be looking at the amount the company has been able to deleverage after announcing the sale of a stake in its flagship Vantage business last week.
Fashions change and so do leadership teams, as British brand Burberry discovered this year. Investors will be excited to see what new CEO Jonathan Akeroyd has come up with to boost growth when the company reports its first-half results on Thursday. Analysts expect it will focus on improving profit margins, which have historically lagged behind those of larger French and Italian rivals.
Read the full calendar for next week here.