Business is booming.

A cosmic theme before Christmas


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Hello and welcome back to the working week.

Excuse me if this letter has an element of bah humbug. Last week I was away — thank you to Maxine Kelly for filling in for me — and I managed to contract a nasty bout of flu. About my only joy — apart from a book I’d been meaning to read — was realising I did not have Covid-19, Omicron variant or otherwise. We live in strange times. Email me at

You may well be preparing for the main event at the end of the week, but there are still a few items to get through in the coming few days.

Emmanuel Macron turns 44 on Tuesday. Clearly wishing to avoid clashing with any personal birthday celebrations, he got the business of his re-election campaign started last week. Prepare for more of this activity, however, in the coming days and months.

Did you hear that the Financial Times made Elon Musk its person of the year? This week his SpaceX business launches a supply mission to crew on the International Space Station. Not to be outdone, Nasa scientists will separately send up the James Webb Space Telescope, the world’s largest and most advanced cosmic observatory, which could lead to the discovery of life on distant planets. There is hope.

Economic data

The economics calendar has the air of a pre-Christmas wind down. There is US consumer confidence data, home-sales figures plus a run of surveys in the eurozone and UK, with a further setback likely next month. The inflation debate will have another moment after last week’s central bank committee meeting excitement, with the reporting of cost-of-living figures for France and Japan.


This week has less diarised corporate news, but one or two significant earnings calls. Heineken, which reports full-year earnings on Wednesday, is hoping for better news than last quarter, when it reported a sales fall owing to a decline in Asian sales. Lockdowns across Europe do not bode well for the Dutch group. Nike reports second-quarter figures on Monday.

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.


  • China, policy rate decision

  • UK, Rightmove monthly house price index and CBI monthly industrial trends survey plus the Office for National Statistics publishes public sector finance statistics and 2020 foreign direct investment figures

  • Results: Nike Q2


  • Canada, monthly retail sales data

  • Germany, GfK consumer confidence survey

  • Italy, producer price index (PPI) figures

  • Norway, speech by deputy central bank governor Oystein Borsum about the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund and climate change

  • UK, revised Q3 GDP figure plus HMRC tax receipts data

  • US, real Q3 GDP plus Conference Board consumer confidence figures

  • Results: BlackBerry Q3, General Mills Q2


  • France, PPI figures

  • Japan, central bank releases minutes of its October monetary policy meeting

  • UK, ONS quarterly consumer trends report plus quarterly business investment, sector accounts and economic accounts

  • Results: Heineken FY, PayChex Q2


  • Canada, monthly GDP figure

  • Japan, consumer price index (CPI) data

  • Portugal, Q3 budget deficit data

  • UK, GfK consumer confidence survey and CBI monthly growth indicator report


World events

Finally, here is a rundown of other events and milestones this week.


  • 50th anniversary of the founding of international aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières by Bernard Kouchner and a group of journalists in Paris, France

  • UK, home secretary Priti Patel is set to rule on whether tech entrepreneur Mike Lynch can be extradited to the US to face charges related to the sale of Autonomy, the software company he founded, to HP


  • Anniversary of the 1988 Lockerbie disaster when Pan Am flight 103 exploded over the Scottish town, resulting in the deaths of 270 people

  • France, president Emmanuel Macron celebrates his 44th birthday

  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches a Dragon cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station

  • US, Oscars preliminary shortlists announced

  • Winter solstice in northern hemisphere. Those marking the occasion include, in the UK, druids at Stonehenge and The Burning the Clocks parade in Brighton


  • Spain, El Gordo (The Fat One), Europe’s biggest and oldest lottery draw, takes place in Madrid

  • US, Nasa’s James Webb Space Telescope, which will be the premier observatory of the next decade, is scheduled to be launched



  • Israel, annual celebrations take place in Bethlehem, including a procession in Manger Square

  • Libya, general election

  • Vatican City, Christmas mass at St Peter’s Basilica celebrated by Pope Francis



  • Australia, start of the third of five Ashes tests in Melbourne

  • UK, Boxing Day sales begin

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