US and China inflation data and UK GDP figures due

Hello and welcome to the working week.

Presumably if you are reading this, you are not stuck in a traffic jam on the way to a holiday with the words “are we nearly there yet?” ringing in your ears. But it’s a question many of us following the news agenda this week will be asking given the run of inflation and gross domestic product data from the world’s two largest economies and uncertainty about when interest rates will peak.

China will report July inflation figures on Wednesday, with the US following a day later. The good news is that inflation is falling all over the world, but the national picture varies greatly. China is at one extreme end, flirting with deflation. The figures for the US on Thursday will give an indication about whether the Federal Reserve’s rate-tightening cycle is close to ending.

Expectations are not high for the UK’s second-quarter GDP estimate on Friday. While signalling that its battle against inflation is being won, the Bank of England last week issued forecasts showing that GDP would barely increase in 2024 and 2025.

Line chart of UK real GDP, with BoE forecasts (Q4 2019 = 100) showing The BoE no longer expects a recession, but growth will be sluggish

The Reserve Bank of India’s bimonthly monetary policy statement is out on Thursday, expected to announce another “hawkish hold” on rates.

We’re past the halfway point of the summer earnings season, which has so far shown the US economy proving fairly resilient to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy tightening. And while things are not quite as good for many companies as they were a year ago, they are “still pretty good”, as Rob Armstrong explains in his excellent Unhedged (premium) newsletter.

Media is a theme for the run of results this week, notably Disney. Since Bob Iger returned to the not so magic kingdom as chief executive in November, even more problems have come to the surface. When the company reports results on Wednesday, investors will want to hear Iger’s plan for improving the performance of its vaunted movie studios, which have delivered several box office disappointments recently, including its latest release Haunted Mansion.

Charts showing worldwide box office for Disney films

They will also want to hear his thoughts for dealing with the decline of its TV assets, including sports network ESPN. Iger, who just secured an extra two years as chief executive, is expected to update on the $5.5bn cost-cutting initiative he announced shortly after his return to the company.

Investors — and Hollywood — will also be listening for his thoughts on the labour strife that has brought production to a standstill.

My week starts at London’s St Pancras station tomorrow morning as my wife and I, and our three teenage boys, board the first of several trains taking us across Europe to Athens. You will be able to find out how this Grand Tour/Greek Tragedy unfolds because the Financial Times’ travel editor has commissioned me to write about it when I return. In the meantime, for the next two weeks, you will be in the capable hands of my colleague David Hindley.

Do please keep writing in with your comments. Email me at jonathan.moules@ft.com or, if you are reading this from your inbox, hit reply.

One more thing . . . 

It’s a good week for space enthusiasts. Thursday has been set aside by Virgin Galactic for its first private astronaut mission, having taken three members of the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council of Italy to the edge of space on its first launch in June. The real question is whether enough of us now care enough about touching the edge of the atmosphere to make space tourism pay?

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

  • Speech: Bank of England chief economist Huw Pill responds in an online Q&A on the cost of living crisis and UK economic conditions

  • Dan Olley becomes chief executive of Hargreaves Lansdown, succeeding Chris Hill, who steps down

  • Germany: June industrial production figures

  • UK: Halifax House Price Index

  • Results: Clarksons H1, PageGroup H1, Saudi Aramco H1, Toshiba Q1, Tyson Foods Q3

Tuesday

  • China: July trade balance figures

  • Germany: final July consumer price index (CPI) and harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP) inflation rate data

  • UK: BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor

  • Results: Abrdn H1, Bayer Q2, Duke Energy Q2, Eli Lilly Q2, Fox Corp Q4, Glencore H1, InterContinental Hotels Group H1, IWG H1, Lyft Q2, The New York Times Company Q2, SoftBank Q1, Take-Two Interactive Software Q1, United Parcel Service Q2

Wednesday

  • China: July CPI and producer price index (PPI) inflation rate data

  • Russia: July CPI inflation rate data

  • Results: ABN Amro Q2, Ahold Delhaize Q2, Bellway trading update, Delivery Hero Q2 trading update, Eon H1, Flutter Entertainment H1, Generali H1, Hill & Smith H1, Hiscox H1, Honda Motor Q1, Sony Q1, TP ICAP H1, Tui Group Q3, Vestas Q2, Walt Disney Q3

Thursday

  • Virgin Galactic launch window opens for Galactic 02, the company’s second commercial space flight, and the first to take private astronauts

  • Opec August Oil Market Report

  • EU: European Central Bank Economic Bulletin

  • India: Reserve Bank of India bimonthly monetary policy statement

  • UK: RICS house price balance figures

  • US: July CPI inflation rate data

  • Results: Alibaba Q1, Allianz Q2, Deliveroo H1, Eneos Holdings Q1, HelloFresh H1, News Corp FY, Novo Nordisk Q2, Orsted H1, Persimmon H1, Petrofac H1, Rakuten H1, Ralph Lauren Q1, RWE H1, Siemens Q3, Thyssenkrupp Q3, Watches of Switzerland Q1 trading update, Zurich Insurance H1

Friday

  • France: final July CPI and HICP inflation rate data, plus Q2 unemployment rate

  • Russia: preliminary Q2 GDP figures

  • UK: preliminary Q2 GDP figures

  • US: July producer price index (PPI) inflation rate data

  • International Energy Agency August Oil Market Report

World events

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

Monday

  • UK: members of the Aslef rail union resume industrial action over pay at 15 train companies with another week-long overtime ban, ending on Saturday

  • US: sentencing of former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao, convicted of aiding and abetting unintentional second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in relation to the death of George Floyd in police custody in May 2020

Tuesday

  • Brazil: president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will host a summit of Amazon nations, aimed at enabling his country to take the lead in regional climate politics and rein in rampant deforestation

  • UK: Scottish students receive results for their National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher exams, broadly equivalent to the GCSEs and A-levels taken across the rest of the country

  • US: Ohio voters will decide whether to raise the threshold for ballot initiatives to 60 per cent in a special election that has big implications for the future of abortion rights in the state given it is the subject a referendum this November

Wednesday

  • 78th anniversary of the US dropping a nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, killing more than 74,000 people. Survivors and families of victims will attend a memorial service in the Japanese city. In London, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament will hold a peace walk to the Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park

Thursday

  • UK: NHS England releases figures for June and July, along with quarterly waiting time statistics for A&E attendances and emergency admissions, and cancelled operations

Friday

  • UK: English Premier League gets under way with a game between last season’s champions Manchester City and newly promoted Burnley

  • UK: NHS junior doctors in England begin another four-day strike in their ongoing dispute over pay

Saturday

Sunday

  • Tunisia: National Women’s Day