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It is not often that two leaders of Western powers celebrate a birthday in the same week. Even rarer that both are in their eighth decade. Should we celebrate that age is now clearly not an obstacle to such leadership jobs? King Charles III will turn 74 on Monday and will be honored with a 41 cannon salute and a “Happy Birthday” surrender at the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. But US President Joe Biden crosses a more significant milestone, turning 80 on Sunday. He also has a more pressing week of international diplomacy and national politics to tackle before he blows out the candles on his cake.

First, there is the G20 summit in Bali, or what a FT colleague called the first global government rally of the Second Cold War. Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be present, but Chinese Xi Jinping is expected to do so, so there will be pressure for Biden to speak to him.

At home, there’s the little matter of Donald Trump’s “very big announcement” Tuesday from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

This is also the week for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Thailand, which brings together 21 countries from the region, the first face-to-face meeting since 2018. Once again the United States, China and Russia are invited, and again Putin will not be there. However, French President Emmanuel Macron will be present, invited to speak on global trade ties.

Repair a hole

Across the Atlantic in the UK, where potential holiday roasts are experiencing a particularly miserable season, the most important date in the diary is Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s financial statement Thursday.

The country is in a “fiscal hole” (not my sentence, Hunt’s) and the chancellor’s plan is to find around half the £ 55bn deficit required in public spending cuts, with measures including a delay on welfare reforms, a freeze on income tax thresholds and a stealthy raid on inheritance tax.

The FT’s parliamentary and economic team will be on hand to translate the politicians’ words and find the key points buried in the Treasury documents. Read this explanation to understand why the UK needs to act urgently. And if you think you can do a better job than the chancellor, knock yourself out with our interactive “fill the black hole”.

Sticking to British policy, Nicola Sturgeon will complete eight years as the leader of the Scottish National Party on Monday. He got the job when his predecessor and mentor Alex Salmond resigned in the wake of the 2014 independence referendum. While Westminster is cutting central government spending, Holyrood is implementing its own austerity drive. Will Sturgeon’s milestone spur an assessment of his record as prime minister?

The COP27 UN climate change conference draws to a close on Friday, but on Sunday we have the start of something that will most likely capture the world news and sports page headlines for the next month: the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup. To say that. it is likely to be a controversial tournament would be an understatement: read our magazine report here. The FT will be on hand to provide full coverage.

Finally, we have more elections. Malaysia goes to the polls on Saturday. The Nepalese will vote on Sunday for seats in the provincial parliament and government, and FT’s sister title Nikkei Asia produced this handy key point guide. The general elections in Kazakhstan on Sunday are noteworthy because they represent the most significant constitutional change for the oil-rich Central Asian country since declaring independence from the former Soviet Union.

Economic data

Carpenters work on new townhouses in Tampa, Florida © Octavio Jones / Reuters

There is some potentially important data next week from the US, namely the inflation rate numbers of the producer price index, the retail sales data, and further updates on the faltering US housing market.

The UK’s big economic event is the Autumn Declaration, but UK unemployment data will be updated on Tuesday first. The UK government has focused attention on their record here because it is one of the only positive news for them. However, it’s not great.

The UK will be the only developed economy with employment still below pre-pandemic levels in early 2023, according to a new analysis. Another “winter of discontent” also looms as a number of workers – nurses are the last – demand wage increases in line with inflation.

Then on Wednesday more inflation data arrives with the concern that the measure of the consumer price index will remain in the double digits. The week will conclude for the UK with an update on retail sales, although hopes are not high given the gloomy predictions of the country going into recession.

The cost of living will also be the focus of the EU this week, with inflation data released on Thursday. There will also be an estimate of the third quarter gross domestic product on Tuesday.


The words “Elon Musk is expected to take the headlines again this week” could be written here at any time of the year, but there is an outlet in the diary this week. This time around, his $ 56 billion pay package to Tesla is over. A court in Delaware, where the electric vehicle manufacturer is registered, will look into the complaint filed by a shareholder.

Vodafone, which is reporting interim results Tuesday, has come under pressure to review its operations. Shareholders will look at the amount the company was able to cut debt following the announcement of the sale of a stake in its Vantage business unit last week.

Fashions change and so do senior management teams, as the British brand Burberry discovered this year. Investors will be eager to see what new CEO Jonathan Akeroyd has come up with to boost growth when the company releases its first-half data on Thursday. Analysts expect it will focus on improving profit margins, which have historically lagged behind those of major French and Italian rivals.

Read the calendar of the week in advance here.

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