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Amid the economic gloom and ongoing conflict in Ukraine, signs of normalcy are emerging.

The Golden Globes awards ceremony returns home to Los Angeles this week after a boycott over a lack of diversity led to the event’s cancellation last year. Looking ahead, world leaders, business leaders and economic thinkers will begin arriving in the Swiss resort of Davos next week on Sunday for the World Economic Forum.

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The next seven days will see the official starting gun fire for the fourth quarter earnings season, starting with Wall Street banks and British retailers. This reminds us that we are a long way from normal for the global economy – more details below.

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For the UK, normalization now means broad industrial action. Ambulance workers and driving instructors are set to stage further walkouts this week, as unions across England and Wales close to strike action.

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At least normalcy has returned with the US Congress’s vote to appoint Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Attention can now turn to the economic challenges this year will bring – more on the data announcements coming this week.

A rocket carrying small satellites sits under the wing of a Boeing 747-turned-Cosmic Girl at Spaceport Newquay in Cornwall.

A rocket carrying small satellites sits under the wing of the Boeing 747-converted Cosmic Girl at the Cornwall Spaceport in Newquay © Tim Heffer/Reuters

Could things be looking up? Yes, if you are in Cornwall. Monday promises to be a historic day for a UK province that – at least as Virgin Orbit – launched its first space satellite from mainland Britain.

Due to lift off from Newquay Airport on Monday night, the nine satellites will be launched into orbit using a rocket launched from a Boeing 747 in what could be described as a small British eclipse. It certainly shows creativity and should at least lift some of the British spirit.


Who likes rising interest rates? Banks, that’s who. That will become clear this week when several of Wall Street’s biggest lenders report fourth-quarter numbers on Friday.

These companies cashed in on Fed tightening by raising more loans than deposits. Analysts estimate JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo will report combined net interest income of nearly $60 billion in the final three months of 2022. The concern is that this component of revenue collection cannot be sustained and the net interest margin has reached a high level.

A line chart of net interest income in $bn shows a significant increase in the loan income of major US banks.

Inflation is a problem with higher inflation, which brings me to another corporate calendar theme this week, retailers. Increasing checkout costs may seem like a good thing for retailers. Not when inflation reaches double digits.

We understand exactly how bad it was at Christmas.

As next week showed, consumer spending may indeed be higher than expected. Games Workshop, which reports first-half numbers on Tuesday, is generating a lot of excitement (and not just among teenagers obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons) about growth opportunities due to the surge in gaming during the pandemic. Investors (as well as teenagers) are waiting for the fantasy games maker’s latest Amazon TV and movie deal.

Economic data

A shopper carries a Zara bag on Regent Street in London

A shopper holds a Zara bag on Regent Street, London. The British Retail Association will update its monthly high street sales survey on Tuesday © Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

Expect consumer price index and other inflation data from the US, China, Japan, Australia, Brazil and Mexico in the coming days.

The British Retail Confederation will update its monthly UK high street sales survey on Tuesday, and on Friday the Office for National Statistics will release its latest monthly gross domestic product estimate showing where the country stands against the recession.

Monetary policy will come this week from the Bank of Korea, which is expected to raise another 25 basis points to 3.50 percent on Friday.


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