The seven days before Christmas

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Hello and welcome to the working week.

And a very happy Hanukkah to those opening this newsletter on Sunday. We are well and truly into the holiday season with Christmas rounding out the next seven days. But there is still serious work to be done.

Washington’s January 6 committee has named Wednesday as the date it plans to present its report on the storming of the US Capitol in 2021 and to vote on whether to bring any criminal proceedings for those involved.

Only a fraction of the material gathered in the 18-month investigation will make it to the final eight-chapter report. Attention is expected to focus on evidence uncovered about former president Donald Trump’s role and his efforts to overturn his 2020 electoral loss, along with ways to prevent a repeat attack.

Further strike action will disrupt the UK working week in the run-up to the Christmas holidays. Nurses are due to go on strike again on Tuesday. Also on that day, on the eve of the first planned ambulance strike, expected to involve up to 10,000 workers, the national secretary of the GMB, one of the unions involved in the action, has been called to give evidence to MPs in Westminster about that dispute, alongside NHS and ambulance service executives, to explain what is behind it and why a resolution has not been found.

It is not just strike action reminiscent of the 1970s that is giving the British a blast from its past. On Sunday, the nation will be going back to something last heard in the 1950s: a national yuletide address from a king. Charles III will have a lot to live up to when he delivers his first Christmas message on Sunday afternoon given Queen Elizabeth’s mastery of the medium. Maybe he’s hoping this king’s speech will be as surprising a hit as its big screen namesake was almost 12 years ago.

The Week Ahead will be downing tools for the next seven days (a Christmas break rather than industrial unrest) but I will be working overtime beforehand to compile the annual (well, I did it for the first time last year) Year Ahead round up, hitting subscriber inboxes on New Year’s Day.

Thank you for all your comments and advice over the past 12 months. Email me at [email protected] or hit reply to the Week Ahead newsletter.

Economic data

The economic news will be drip fed over the next few days, after the rush of interest and inflation rate announcements last week. The Bank of Japan will announce its latest monetary policy move while the US and the UK provide their final best estimates of the latest quarter’s GDP movements, with expectations of recession on a lot of people’s minds.


A trickle of results this week. In the wake of the World Cup, where its logo has been plastered over football shirts and boots, Nike will be hoping to please its investors with a second-quarter results announcement on Tuesday. The world’s largest sportswear maker has been grappling with questions of balance in its progressive marketing campaigns (I’m not sure whether its involvement with Fifa Qatar 2022 helped with that) having lost its second diversity officer in as many years this summer.

Bunzl is generally considered a dull but worthy business, featuring in the financial press once every six months. And this could be its week. The provider of hard hats, beard guards and disposable cutlery is expected to confirm a good end to its financial year when it provides a trading update on Wednesday with good revenue growth, supported by numerous acquisitions announced over the past 12 months.

Finally, Tuesday is the deadline set by a High Court judge for UK power supplier Octopus Energy to take over its collapsed rival Bulb. Justice Zacaroli confirmed the deal could be approved via the energy transfer scheme. But the controversy is far from over. Rival suppliers Eon, British Gas and Scottish Power have until this date to mount any legal challenges. Last week Centrica warned that the deal risks breaching EU state aid rules. That could mean the European Commission getting involved.

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.


  • EU, October construction output

  • Germany, Ifo business climate survey

  • UK, CBI industrial trends survey

  • US, NAHB housing market index


  • Canada, October retail sales data

  • China, monetary policy rate decision

  • EU, flash consumer confidence figures

  • Germany, November producer price index (PPI) inflation rate figures

  • Japan, monetary policy committee rate-setting meeting decision (PM local time)

  • UK, deadline set by a High Court judge for power supplier Octopus Energy to take over collapsed rival Bulb

  • Results: BlackBerry Q3, FedEx Q2, Nike Q2, Petrofac trading update


  • Canada, November consumer price index (CPI) inflation figures

  • Germany, GfK consumer confidence survey

  • UK, November public sector finances data

  • US, Conference Board December consumer confidence figures

  • Results: Bunzl trading update, Carnival Q4, Rite Aid Q3


  • UK, final Q3 GDP figures

  • US, third release Q3 GDP figures

  • Results: General Mills Q2


  • Canada, October GDP figures

  • China, November money supply figures

  • Japan, consumer price index (CPI) inflation rate data (AM local time)

World events

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


  • Switzerland, World Trade Organization begins its General Council meeting in Geneva

  • UK, the World Service, a broadcaster owned and operated by the BBC with government funding via the Foreign Office, turns 90


  • Germany, verdict expected in a case against Irmgard Furchner, a 97-year-old German woman charged with committing war crimes during the second world war

  • UK, National Highways introduces a roadworks embargo on motorways and major roads to help alleviate congestion over the festive period. It will remain in place until January 3.

  • UK, up to 100,000 members of the Royal College of Nursing hold their second one-day strike in a week over pay. MPs on the health and social care committee will hear evidence from NHS executives and union leaders on the nurses’ strikes and ambulance delays.


  • UK, more than 1,600 Unite union members at the West Midlands, North West and North East ambulance service trusts walk out over pay. Also, ambulance staff across most of England and Wales will strike over pay as part of a co-ordinated walkout by the three main ambulance unions Unison, GMB and Unite.

  • US, the House select committee investigating the January 6 2021, attack on the Capitol plans to release its final report


  • Spain, the jackpot number in the El Gordo Christmas lottery, the country’s biggest and most popular draw of the year, is announced


  • UK, Royal Mail postal workers start a two-day strike over pay, jobs and conditions. Separately, Border Force officers at locations in England, Scotland and Wales begin eight days of strikes over a 10 per cent pay rise, pensions, job security and no cuts to redundancy terms.



  • Christmas celebrations in various countries

  • UK, members of the royal family attend a Christmas morning service at Sandringham Church. Later, the first Christmas message to the nation by King Charles III is broadcast on terrestrial television.

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