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Under-fire Truss and Kwarteng prepare to face Tory faithful

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Hello and welcome to the working week,

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.

Thank you to everyone who gets in touch about this newsletter. Please keep sending your tips and opinions to jonathan.moules@ft.com or hit reply to the email.

Economic data

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.

Companies

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 forego 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.

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.

Monday

  • EU, European Central Bank Q3 euro area bank lending survey

  • Eurozone, France, Germany, Japan, UK, US: S&P Global/Cips manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data.

  • UK, the John Lewis Partnership begins offering free food to staff across its department stores and Waitrose supermarkets to help with the cost of living.

  • US, construction spending figures

  • Results: Renewi Q2, Renew Holdings FY

Tuesday

  • Australia, Reserve Bank of Australia holds its monthly rate-setting meeting

  • US, factory orders data

  • Results: Greggs Q3 trading update

Wednesday

  • France, August industrial production figures

  • France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, US: S&P Global/IHS Markit services PMI data

  • Germany, trade balance figures

  • New Zealand, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand publishes rate-setting decision

  • Poland, the National Bank of Poland’s Monetary Policy Council holds its rate-setting meeting.

  • Results: Tesco H1, Topps Tiles FY

Thursday

  • EU, August retail sales figures

  • Germany, UK: S&P Global construction PMI data

  • India, S&P Global services PMI data

  • Elon Musk due to be questioned under oath by Twitter’s lawyers as part of litigation over the multibillionaire’s bid to walk away from a $44bn takeover. The five-day trial is set to begin on October 17.

  • Results: Conagra Brands Q1, Constellation Brands Q2, CMC Markets H1 trading update, Levi Strauss & Co Q3, McCormick & Company Q3

Friday

  • Canada, September unemployment figures

  • Italy, August retail sales figures

  • UK, quarterly productivity overview figures

  • UK, Halifax monthly house price index

  • UK, Recruitment & Employment Confederation and KPMG monthly employment report

  • US, September unemployment figures

  • Results: JD Wetherspoon FY

World events

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

Monday

  • Austria, board of the International Atomic Energy Agency meets in Vienna

  • Canada, general election in Québec

  • Germany, Unification Day public holiday to celebrate 32 years of reunification. Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French president Emmanuel Macron are reported to be planning a working dinner meeting in Berlin if the former recovers from Covid-19 in time.

  • Iraq, National Day public holiday

  • Sweden, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to be announced in Stockholm. The prizes for physics, chemistry, literature and peace will be announced over the subsequent four days, the last being announced in Oslo, Norway.

Tuesday

  • Australia, Wimbledon 2022 finalist Nick Kyrgios due to appear in court in Canberra charged with assault over an incident last year.

  • EU, Ecofin council meeting discusses rising energy prices, the war in Ukraine and the economic outlook, among other subjects.

  • US, Nasa and SpaceX plan to launch the fifth crewed mission to the International Space Station from Kennedy Space Center in Florida either today or Friday.

  • Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement, commences

Wednesday

  • Spain, a German-Spanish summit involving chancellor Olaf Scholz and Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez is due to take place in the Galician harbour city of A Coruña.

  • UK, Aslef union drivers at 12 train operating companies are to stage a further co-ordinated 24-hour walkout, bringing disruption across the UK rail network.

  • UK, prime minister and Conservative party leader Liz Truss speaks on the closing day of her party’s annual conference in Birmingham.

Thursday

  • Norway, Norwegian government will present its budget for 2023 to the Storting

  • Czech Republic, the meeting of the European Political Community (EPC) is to take place in Prague, bringing together the leaders of the EU, Ukraine, the UK, Norway, Switzerland and Western Balkan countries.

  • US, IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva delivers a curtainraiser speech at Georgetown University in Washington for next week’s IMF annual meetings event.

Friday

  • Czech Republic, informal meeting of EU heads of state or government in Prague

  • Lesotho, general election

  • Russia, president Vladimir Putin turns 70

Saturday

  • UK, Scottish National party annual conference begins in Aberdeen

  • UK, another 24-hour national train strike, this time by RMT union railway workers in a dispute over jobs, pay and working conditions

Sunday

  • Austria, presidential elections

  • Germany, state election in Lower Saxony

  • Uganda, National Day

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