Democracy under the microscope

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Hello and welcome to the working week.

Democracy can be a complicated business, as several events to come this week will show.

There has been a lot of excitement in the UK media over the release of the partygate report by senior civil servant Sue Gray into how Prime Minister Boris Johnson and members of his government broke lockdown rules. It could be released on Monday, but it’s more likely to be Tuesday or Wednesday. However, when it does appear, we may all need to curb our enthusiasm.

The details are likely to be uncomfortable (to say the least) for Johnson, but the received wisdom is that he will cling to power because his Tory MPs have no plan B.

Perhaps those most to worry about are the officials, whom Gray will likely name, which will result in disciplinary action. The most senior of them, Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, is said to have already weighed his options outside Westminster. It would be somewhat ironic if the main victims of partygate are unelected officials carrying out the nefarious demands of elected politicians.

This week’s election eve (should I make it a new permanent section?) is this Sunday’s Colombian presidential race, which will likely be won by left-leaning, anti-American former guerrilla Gustavo Petro.

If you want to know more, our man in Latin America, Michael Stott, had first-hand experience of being stopped and searched by M-19 guerrillas in the 1980s while teaching English at university students as part of their university course. . Petro’s only serious political rival appears to be Federico Gutiérrez, the former mayor of Medellín, who has emerged as the leading “Stop Petro” candidate.

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Colombia is a breathtakingly beautiful country – just ask Unhedged writer Rob Armstrong – but a Petro victory worries politicians in Washington, who see Colombia as its most important strategic alliance in America. from South.

A Petro administration is likely to rethink some key tenets of the US-Colombian relationship, such as the war on drugs, a free trade deal and a US-led push to overthrow the revolutionary socialist government in neighboring Venezuela. The country is on edge amid rumors of a possible military coup or postponed elections.

As we analyze, you might want to note the next big South American election: Brazil in October.

What are you looking for this week? I am interested. Email me at [email protected]

Economic data

The United States, France and Germany all released first-quarter gross domestic product estimates this week.

There will also be scope for international comparisons from data from the S&P Global Purchasing Managers Index, released on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, US markets will equate the release of the May Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes.


The end of another earnings season is approaching, so corporate reports are relatively thin this week. Retail is a theme, as is the UK utility industry. Twitter is among those holding their annual general meeting this week — should be lively.

Marks and Spencer Chief executive Steve Rowe will check in after 39 years with the British retailer when he presents the company’s annual results on Wednesday.

Over the past year, M&S has surprised on the upside, doubling its earnings forecast. However, these upgrades as well as the change of CEO are already priced into the stock price, so all eyes will be on the outlook for the current year.

Rivals such as Next and Primark have already telegraphed price increases to offset the impact of rising raw material and other costs – and that was before US titans Walmart and Target sent the sector into a tailspin. plummeting last week with their own warnings.

This does not bode well for dividends. M&S has not paid any since January 2020 and had previously indicated that a resumption of payments was “unlikely” this year.

meat processing company cranwick is expected to post healthier earnings on Tuesday thanks to cost-cutting measures. However, investors will want to know how the British company is tackling challenges in the pig industry, from labor shortages to the impact of war in Ukraine on feed prices.

Main economic and corporate reports

Here’s a more comprehensive list of what to expect in terms of corporate reports and economic data this week.


  • EU and European Central Bank release statistics on eurozone investment funds

  • Germany, monthly IfA business confidence index

  • Results: Kingfisher Q1 Commercial Update, Zoom Q1


  • Eurozone, France, Germany, UK, US: S&P Global flash composite (industrials and services) Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) data

  • United Kingdom, CBI quarterly survey of distribution occupations and April data on public finances and public sector net borrowing

  • Results: best buy Q1, Cranswick AF, Home service AF, Ralph Lauren Q4


  • EU, ECB publishes bi-annual stability review and OECD publishes Eurozone economic outlook

  • France, consumer confidence figures

  • Germany, final Q1 GDP figures and GfK consumer confidence survey

  • New Zealand, Reserve Bank of New Zealand Monetary Policy Statement

  • Switzerland, ECB President Christine Lagarde, Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and European Parliament President Roberta Metsola take part in a Davos forum on EU unity in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine

  • Twitter AGM

  • U.S. Federal Open Market Committee Releases May Meeting Minutes

  • Results: hollywood bowl 1H, Marks and Spencer AF, Nvidia Q1, Pets at home AF, Thirty Severn AF, SSE AF


  • Canada, March Retail Trade Figures

  • UK, CBI Quarterly Service Sector Survey plus official figures on the number of young people aged 16-24 not in education, employment or training (Neet).

  • United States, first quarter GDP figures (second estimate) and first quarter consumer spending data

  • Results: alibaba AF, Baidu Q1, Dell Technologies Q1, Intermediate capital group AF, Johnson Matthey AF, Macy’s Q1, Ted Baker AF, United Public Services AF


  • France, preliminary Q1 employment figures plus final Q1 GDP figures

  • United States, April personal income and expenditure data

Global Events

Finally, here’s a look at some of the other events and milestones from this week.


  • Austria, Germany: the European Geosciences Union 2021 begins its annual general assembly in Vienna and in Bonn, the European Space Agency organizes its Living Planet Symposium, described as the largest Earth observation conference in the world

  • The EU, the Eurogroup of 19 finance ministers from member states that have adopted the single currency, meets in Brussels ahead of the Ecofin council meeting of all EU finance ministers. In addition, the General Affairs Council of the EU meets in Brussels.

  • Ghana, the 57th Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank and the 48th Annual Meeting of the African Development Fund begin in Accra

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu visits Israel and the Palestinian Authority to discuss the appointment of ambassadors with his Israeli counterpart amid improved relations between the countries

  • Tokyo, U.S. President Joe Biden will lay out his watered-down eleventh-hour Indo-Pacific economic framework on Friday in a bid to entice more countries to join the deal


  • UK, London’s £18.9bn east-west express rail link, the Elizabeth Line, officially opens, three and a half years later than planned. Meanwhile, a ballot for a jobs and pay strike involving thousands of workers with some of the UK’s biggest rail operators and Network Rail will be closed. The National Union of Railway, Maritime and Transport Workers has said a yes vote among its 40,000 members could lead to Britain’s biggest railway strike in modern history. In addition, in the capital, the Chelsea Flower Show opens at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.


  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and UN Secretary General António Guterres meet in Ankara

  • United States, second anniversary of the death of George Floyd, which sparked Black Lives Matter protests in various countries. Thursday is the 10th anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin, which sparked the creation of Black Lives Matter.


  • Ascension Day celebrated by the Western Protestant Church

  • Australia, Sorry Day commemorates the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their parents

  • Germany, the presentation of the International Charlemagne Prize for European Unity is planned in the city of Aachen

  • UK, Hay Literary Festival begins, this year, online and in person in the Welsh market town of Hay-on-Wye

  • Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of the United States and New Zealand, delivers keynote address to Harvard University graduates


  • Lithuania, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly begins its annual spring session in Vilnius

  • UK, MCM London Comic Con opens at ExCeL conference center


  • France, the UEFA Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid begins at the Stade de France. In addition, the winners of the Palmes d’Or are announced at the close of the Cannes Film Festival.


  • Colombia, presidential election. If no candidate obtains the majority of the votes, a second round will take place on June 19.

  • US President Joe Biden delivers the commencement address at the University of Delaware graduation ceremony

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