Live News Update: The Covid-19 outbreak is spreading in an eastern Chinese province

Live News Update: The Covid-19 outbreak is spreading in an eastern Chinese province

Welcome to Independence Week. The big one – celebration of 1776 and all – kicks off across the US on Monday. But from Algeria to Venezuela, Argentina to South Sudan, breaking away from former colonial powers is a strong theme – and the source of public holidays around the world – over the next seven days.

For those of us trying to get into (or keep up with) a job, however, this will not be a week for celebrations.

French rail workers will go on strike on Wednesday, days before the start of the country’s school holidays.

Then unfolds the drama of Britain’s summer of discontent. Solicitors in England and Wales will tomorrow continue their “crime doesn’t pay lawyers” strike. They will be joined on Tuesday by banking regulators at the Financial Conduct Authority – represented by Unite – who are (again) abandoning their latest pay offer. What’s more, the range of workers taking action is growing. Also on Tuesday, washing machine manufacturers Whirlpool will be voted to strike over what union bosses have called an “offensive” pay offer.

It seems a good thing to mention that the Financial Times is carrying out research into the cost of living – how are you coping with higher prices? To participate, click here.

After last week’s NATO summit in Madrid, the focus of Western efforts to help Ukraine this week will shift to Lugano, Switzerland. The Ukraine Recovery Conference is the latest in a series of high-level political gatherings first held in London in 2017, initially to discuss reforms that could open up foreign investment at a time of relative peace for the nation. The Russian invasion gave new urgency to such support.

Anything to lighten the mood? Well, the summer season has begun — and I mean the FT Live summer season of stimulating conversations and fellowship. This Thursday’s event, Using Outages to Create Business Opportunities, is free to attend and you can do so by clicking here.

AJ Sainsbury store in London. The grocer’s update will effectively be a repeat of Tesco’s a few weeks ago © Neil Hall/Reuters

Economic data

The key question at this point is whether, or in some cases, when the major Western economies are falling into recession. A batch of business surveys this week will highlight areas of concern for business owners. Wednesday’s minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest rate-setting meeting and Friday’s US labor market report will also be closely watched.

Companies

Another week of UK corporate news dominated by retailers is upon us. The trading update from J Sainsbury on Tuesday will be in effect a rerun of Tesco a few weeks ago, considering that it also made a strategic decision to accept lower prices that will reduce profits in order to retain customers.

Currys could be quite interesting given that the UK electricals retailer is the clear market leader, but its market capitalization has shrunk, margins are tight and there is a sense that the pandemic has been the company’s biggest asset.

Read the calendar for the entire week in advance here



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