The Ukraine conflict is a certainty for news events this week but activity will be largely off diary — except for events such as the UK reopening its embassy in Kyiv — for the next seven days. Somewhat ironically there is a long list of other war anniversaries this week — from Monday’s Anzac Day to Saturday’s commemoration in Vietnam of Liberation Day. A reminder that peace has been an unobtainable dream for this world in modern times.
At the same time, we are in a sort of minor holiday season. Easter, orthodox or otherwise, has been and gone and this coming Sunday heralds the various May Day celebrations around the world.
On Sunday evening Emmanuel Macron defeated Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election, with the incumbent’s far-right rival conceding shortly after the first projections showed him winning more than 58 per cent of the vote. Stay tuned to the Financial Times for analysis this week.
It’s a fairly full week for economic news with inflation figures for France, Germany and the eurozone countries as well as first-quarter GDP estimates for the eurozone, the US, Korea, France, Germany Italy and Spain plus an interest rate decision by the Bank of Japan.
The conflict in Ukraine is having an immediate and longer term impact on the global economy, as the IMF highlighted last week when it cut growth forecasts for numerous countries.
The new world (dis)order was described by Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, IMF chief economist, in an interview with the FT. “If we become a world of many different blocs, we will have to undo a lot of the integrated economies that we’ve built and supply chains that we’ve built . . . and build something else that is more narrow [and] smaller in scope,” he said.
“There will be adjustment costs [and] there will be efficiency losses and that could lead to an increase in unit costs because things are not done as efficiently as before.”
It will be a week for the geeks in terms of corporate earnings this week. Big Tech has had a good pandemic. The question now is whether Meta, Alphabet, Amazon.com, Microsoft or Spotify can maintain their strong growth rates. After last week’s Netflix shock drop in subscribers, investors are no doubt nervous, although as has been pointed out there is a difference between a company purely focused on streaming TV and film shows and other tech businesses.
Golden child Apple may now fancy itself as a Hollywood player after taking top prize at the Oscars, but its investors are worrying about its ability to deliver new tech kit given the wave of lockdowns at several of its Chinese manufacturing hubs. That next iPhone model won’t make itself, you know. Analysts at Morgan Stanley believe Wall Street’s consensus forecasts for the June quarter of $86.7bn (a rise of 6 per cent year on year) “seems high” given chief executive Tim Cook’s typical caution when it comes to guidance.
Read the rest of the week ahead calendar here