In this year of significant elections, the UK has the most significant election this week, but one that is only open to a few hundred backbench Westminster MPs. It is the vote to refresh the Conservative party’s parliamentary governance body, the 1922 committee.
The first task for the new group of 18 backbench Tory MPs after Monday’s plebiscite will be to agree the rules for the election of their party’s new leader (ie the British prime minister). This is expected to be completed by September. A clutch of MPs have already thrown their hat into the ring, but these could be whittled down to a shortlist of two in a matter of days, according to the FT’s parliamentary team.
The timetable for deciding the new PM is important and serious, with UK inflation the highest in the G7 and the country’s growth next year (if it grows at all) forecast to be the slowest, according to the IMF. There is a critical need for someone competent to guide the country through the intervening period before the public gets to decide its government again through a general election.
Also, the British summer of discontent rolls on. If anything, it is gaining momentum. Criminal law barristers will walk out again on Monday, for reasons explained in this piece from a legal insider. Further train trouble is on the cards with the unions Aslef, representing train drivers, and TSSA, representing more than 6,000 Network Rail staff, balloting for strike action. And on Friday, a ballot for industrial action closes for University and College Union members in a separate dispute over low pay, unmanageable workloads and professional respect. This could lead to further disruption for students at UK universities and colleges once this long hot summer of unrest is over.
It is a busy week for significant economic data announcements, including inflation figures for the US, UK, France and Germany — possibly giving an indication of whether the cost of living rise is nearing a peak — plus GDP data from China and the UK.
The Federal Reserve publishes its latest Beige Book on the current state of the US economy and the rate-setting committees of New Zealand and South Korea’s central banks could raise their respective rates by 50 basis points. Also, Croatia is being accepted as the latest member of the eurozone group.
US banks will kick off the American earnings season this week, with bumper results forecast thanks to the Fed’s run of interest rate increases. Analysts expect JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup to see growth in net interest income, the difference between what banks pay depositors and what they earn from loans and other assets.
The big fear is recession. Banks are typically the hardest hit stocks during downturns. When trouble appears on the horizon, the pressure builds to increase capital reserves in case existing loans turn bad.
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