He is a bold commentator trying to predict the end of the diplomatic game of chess that marks the border crisis between Ukraine and Russia. But the next seven days will produce some significant moves, if not an attempt to checkmate.
Perhaps the strangest event this week is Thursday, when Russia, as the current president of the United Nations Security Council, is due to chair a debate at the organization’s global headquarters in New York on the Ukraine crisis.
But before that, new German chancellor Olaf Schulz travels to Moscow and Kiev in an effort to ease tensions. He’s following in the footsteps of Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson – and the stakes are high for all European economies – but the Schulz meetings are especially important given Germany’s need for a new Ostpolitik, or East policy, as Timothy Garton Ash has made clear. In his opinion piece in the Financial Times this week.
On Wednesday, attention will turn to NATO, as defense leaders of member states gather in Brussels.
Then he returns to Germany on Friday with the start of the Munich Security Conference. Among the speakers is Kamala Harris, US Vice President. It is expected that she will use her trip to meet with allies and partners of the United States to deter Russian aggression. So it will be a test of her diplomatic skills.
The 2022 inflation story will return with another boost this week as India, China, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada provide data in one form or another – CPI or PPI numbers. Employment data also from the UK and EU. Elsewhere, Japan is updating us on its quarterly GDP as well as publishing the minutes of the Federal Reserve and Reserve Bank of Australia’s monetary policy meeting.
Food is the topic of corporate earnings this week, with analysts calling for supermarket retail weights on both sides of the Atlantic — Carrefour and Walmart — as well as consumer goods firms.
Investors will previously be looking for signs of progress in CEO Alexandre Bombard’s turnaround strategy. Expectations are higher for Walmart, the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer, which has already raised the full-year earnings guidance it will announce Thursday. However, both companies are under pressure from the global forces of mixing supply chains and rising inflation.
Nestlé has been one of the favorite consumer goods companies in the market under CEO Mark Schneider. He has shifted his portfolio into fast-growing areas such as plant-based foods, meal kits and pet foods. But its numbers for 2021, due on Thursday, will reflect a difficult comparison with the previous year, when coronavirus shutdowns boosted sales of items such as coffee. Investors will also examine how the world’s largest food company expects to deal with rampant cost inflation that has squeezed margins among its competitors.
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