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Ending the year with a fizzle


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Hello and welcome to the last working week of the year,

One of the few things that seems to unite the world is the shared belief in spending the final hours of the year in raucous merriment. But not this year. Several of the big celebrations that mark the change in calendar date have been cancelled due to the rise of the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

This starts — if we count time from the international dateline — with Auckland, where the city’s main firework display will not now happen. The same will be true in Singapore, where the annual display at Marina Bay will not happen for a second consecutive year to minimise mass gatherings and the spread of Covid-19. At the other end of the new year circumnavigation, Los Angeles has cancelled the downtown display in Grand Park.

The German government’s proposals to ban everyone from letting off pyrotechnics in busy public spaces did not go down well in a population that sees the ability to set off fireworks as a basic human right.

London’s main firework display was canned a while back, but the mayor Sadiq Khan has now said that an alternative celebration for up to 6,500 people at Trafalgar Square cannot run either due to surging Covid cases in the UK capital. Instead, Londoners can watch a BBC New Year’s Eve broadcast, “which will showcase our great city to the rest of the world”, Khan said in an official statement. In Scotland, large-scale Hogmanay street parties are being cancelled by order of the Holyrood government.

One thing Covid cannot stop are the political speeches, so the raft of New Year’s Day addresses by world leaders will be going ahead as planned — too many to name individually here.

Covid also cannot prevent Germany assuming the G7 presidency and France taking over the revolving presidency of the EU. In sport, a milestone will be passed as Debbie Hewitt becomes the first woman chair of the English Football Association.

This will be the last Week Ahead for 2021. Next week we will be looking forward to 2022 with a one-off Year Ahead month-by-month guide before normal service resumes on January 9. Have a very happy new year —

Economic data

The economic and company reports over the next seven days are, understandably, thin gruel, but Japan and the US will report unemployment data and there is a manufacturing PMI from China.

This newsletter is all about alerting you to future events, but I got ahead of myself by announcing Heineken’s full-year results last week — they will not happen until February 16 2022.

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.




  • UK, Bank of England capital issuance figures

  • US, State Street investor confidence index

  • Vietnam, monthly inflation, trade, industrial output data



  • China, manufacturing purchasing managers’ index data

  • UK, London Stock Exchange closes early for the new year celebrations

World events

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




  • Ireland, Constitution Day

  • Germany, the Four Hills Tournament for ski jumping starts in Oberstdorf




  • New Year’s Day

  • Covid Memorial day marked worldwide

  • France takes over EU presidency

  • Germany assumes G7 presidency

  • Norway takes over presidency of UN Security Council

  • UK, Debbie Hewitt becomes the first woman chair of the Football Association in its 157-year history

  • US, New York City Mayor Eric Adams takes up office

  • US to end tariffs on EU steel products. In return, the EU cancelled a planned increase in retaliatory tariffs due to come into force on December 1


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