US debt ceiling action switches to Congress

Hello and welcome to the working week.

May is nearing its end and two stories that we have spent much of the month circling around are now moving towards resolution: the make-or-break presidential election for Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the US debt ceiling negotiations.

Turkish voters headed to the polls for the second time in a fortnight on Sunday with Erdoğan on course to extend his rule into a third decade, and we can expect plenty of analysis on where Turkey is headed over the next few days. Turkey’s first-quarter gross domestic product figures are out on Wednesday, giving some sense of the scale of the economic challenge the winner will face.

In the US, President Joe Biden has struck a deal with Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House of Representatives Speaker, that would avert a debt default looming in early June and bring relief to the global economy and financial markets over the weekend, but there are still some potentially hair-raising votes in the week ahead.

The deal is likely to face resistance from some lawmakers in both the Republican and the Democratic parties, a situation that could further extend the uncertainty over the US’s fiscal future over the coming days.

If Biden can get the deal through Congress, that leaves financial markets to soak up a flood of US debt issuance in the coming weeks, according to the FT’s Kate Duguid.

Across the Atlantic, Nato foreign ministers will meet in Oslo on Thursday to discuss the Ukraine war as evidence mounts that Kyiv’s long-awaited counter-offensive is about to get under way.

Another key geopolitical moment will come at the Shangri-La security forum in Singapore, which begins on Friday. US defence secretary Lloyd Austin had been hoping to meet Li Shangfu, China’s new defence minister, at the event but Beijing has rebuffed his overtures as relations are fraught — Washington hit Li with sanctions in 2018.

Have a good week and email me with any comments at

Economic data

The Whitsun/Spring/Memorial day public holidays on Monday reduce the run of economic and corporate news this week.

US employment numbers on Friday will be closely watched. Despite the best efforts of the Federal Reserve in raising the headline interest rates, the US jobs market is running hot.

There is also another chance for some international economic comparisons with purchasing managers’ index reports on manufacturing across the G7 nations.

European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde is among a clutch of central bankers speaking at events this week. More details below.


It’s a quiet week for results with a mixed bag of companies reporting, but I’m going to concentrate on UK retailers.

The revival of air passenger numbers should be good news for British books, magazines and sweets chain WHSmith after its transformation from a slightly tired-looking outlet on provincial high streets into an international business focused on airport departure lounges. The company has plans to open more than 120 stores, about half of which will be in North America. Investors will find out more with a trading update on Wednesday.

Britons love a bargain, especially amid the cost of living crisis. So B&M, which also reports on Wednesday, should be lifted by shoppers trading down. Its share price is up about 9 per cent year on year, buoyed by hopes for an imminent peak in interest rates, lower oil prices, caps on fuel bills and improved consumer confidence.

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.


  • Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and several other countries: Whit Sunday public holiday.

  • Nvidia’s founder and chief executive Jensen Huang and Arm’s chief executive Rene Haas will deliver keynote speeches at the start of the Computex technology conference in Taipei

  • UK, Spring bank holiday. Financial markets closed

  • US, Memorial Day federal holiday. Financial markets closed


  • Japan, April labour force survey

  • US, CB May Consumer Confidence index

  • Results: Greencore H1, Hollywood Bowl H1, HP Q2, U-Haul Holding Q4


  • Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Catherine Mann takes part in a panel discussion on central banks, inflation and monetary policy, hosted by Swiss bank Pictet in Zurich

  • Canada, India, Italy, Turkey: Q1 GDP figures

  • China, NBS manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data

  • France, Germany: May harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP) and consumer price index (CPI) inflation rate data

  • Germany, May unemployment rate figures

  • Japan, monthly industrial production figures

  • UK, FTSE index quarterly review, deciding which companies have been promoted into and relegated from FTSE indices by market capitalisation

  • US, Federal Reserve Beige Book

  • Results: Bodycote AGM and trading statement, Bloomsbury Publishing FY, B&M European Value Retail FY, Nordstrom Q1, Salesforce Q1, WHSmith Q3 trading statement


  • Brazil, Q1 GDP figures

  • EU, European Central Bank publishes accounts of May policy meeting. Also, the 25th anniversary of the ECB replacing the European Monetary Institute

  • ECB president Christine Lagarde speaks at the 27th German Savings Banks Conference 2023 ‘Because it’s about more than money’ in Hanover

  • China, EU, Japan, UK, US: S&P Global/Cips/HCOB/Caixin/Jibun Bank manufacturing PMI data

  • UK, Nationwide house price survey

  • US, Goldman Sachs president John Waldron speaks at the Bernstein 39th annual strategic decisions conference in New York

  • Results: Auto Trader FY, Broadcom Q2, Dell Technologies Q1, Dollar General Q1, Dr Martens FY, Macy’s Q1, Pennon FY, Rémy Cointreau FY


  • France, monthly industrial production figures

  • Korea, flash Q1 GDP figures

  • UK, Purplebricks shareholders vote on the proposed sale of its trading business and assets to Strike for £1

  • US, May employment report

World events

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


  • Nigeria, former governor of Lagos state Bola Tinubu to be inaugurated as Nigeria’s president after winning the country’s disputed presidential election in February with 36.6 per cent of the vote


  • US, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes begins her prison sentence for one count of conspiracy and three counts of wire fraud


  • Latvia, parliamentarians elect the country’s next president

  • Norway, an informal two-day meeting of Nato foreign ministers begins in Oslo. Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg is due to speak ahead of the gathering

  • UK, a one-day strike by Aslef union members across 16 train operating companies in their ongoing dispute over driver pay. A further walkout is scheduled for Saturday, creating major disruption for Manchester City and Manchester United fans trying to reach London to watch the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium

  • US, Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi is due to appear in a Washington court charged with destruction of Pan Am flight 103 in 1988. An explosion in the aircraft that was flying over the Scottish town of Lockerbie resulted in the deaths of 270 people — including 190 Americans and 43 UK citizens — 11 of whom were on the ground


  • First day of the meteorological summer

  • US, President Joe Biden to deliver the commencement address at the Air Force Academy in Colorado for the class of 2023


  • Austria, European Space Agency Ready for the Moon conference begins in Vienna, debating the issue of space exploration for Europeans

  • Former Mastercard chief executive Ajay Banga becomes World Bank president

  • Singapore, Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese will deliver the keynote address at the opening of the Shangri-La Dialogue Asia security summit

  • UK, rail workers in the RMT union begin a 24-hour strike in their ongoing dispute with the train operating companies over pay


  • UK, the Cazoo Derby, one of the horseracing Classics billed as ‘the greatest flat race in the world’ takes place at Epsom Downs Racecourse

  • US, global airlines industry body Iata begins its annual general meeting

  • US, the SpaceX CRS-28 flight to the International Space Station launches from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center with a Falcon 9 rocket, delivering supplies, equipment and science investigations to the orbiting station


  • Austria, Opec ministers meeting in Vienna