It was allegedly said by former British prime minister Harold Wilson that a week is a long time in politics. So how long does a month feel? A very very long time, it turns out, given the political and economic maelstrom since Liz Truss became party leader at the start of September. Perhaps she should have paid more attention to the FT editorial board’s advice.
This week Truss will explain herself to her party, gathered for its annual conference in Birmingham. Although there have been reports of Tory MP no-shows, Truss will definitely be joined by her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. He will address the conference on Monday. Truss delivers the closing speech on Wednesday.
On the other side of the world, China’s leadership is also involved in some party management. The country is beginning its annual Golden Week holiday, kick-starting what is expected to be a month of patriotic pageantry during which President Xi Jinping is set to be handed an unprecedented third term as Communist party general secretary and head of the Chinese military.
Then there are the more conventional elections. You will be able to read analysis by FT reporters of Brazil’s “imperfect” presidential election vote. And this Sunday, Austria will go to the polls to elect its new president.
Finally, it will be another big week for rocket enthusiasts as the SpaceX Crew-5 astronaut mission for Nasa is scheduled to take off for the International Space Station from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center — so long as Hurricane Ian does not disrupt proceedings.
Jobs will be a focus in a fairly thin week for economic data. The US and Canada publish numbers on Friday.
There will also be an opportunity for international comparisons with the purchasing managers’ index reports for manufacturing and services.
It is another busy week for news from the high street. Inflation will dominate UK retailer Tesco’s half-year results: how much of it to absorb, how much to force suppliers to absorb and how much to pass on to consumers. Investors were somewhat taken aback in April when the supermarket chain said it would forgo some profit this year in order to keep pricing keen, but the decision looks prescient now.
Other retailers are using funds to help their staff deal with the cost of living crisis. The John Lewis Partnership will this week start offering free food to its department store and Waitrose supermarket staff. This is not entirely an altruistic measure given the growing “war for talent” ahead of the busy Christmas trading period and the warning this month by the employee-owned company that it might not be able to pay its annual staff bonus.
Wages are rising in the sector. At least three retailers have pushed through in-year pay increases and now they are scrapping it out over benefits too — free meals, staff discounts and paid breaks among them.
Read the full week ahead calendar here.