Are you ready for the start of this week’s Blue Monday, billed by former Cardiff University psychologist Cliff Arnall as the most miserable 24 hours on the calendar in 2005?
Arnall’s damning conclusion about the third Monday of the first month (which he has since tried to oppose) was based on an analysis of data such as consumer surveys, divorce filings and weather reports. The main conclusion that many of us draw from this analysis is that not all academic research is beneficial to society.
If you’re a world leader or senior executive, at least you have the World Economic Forum in Davos to distract you from the January blues. The FT Live team will also host several in-person and digital events in the Swiss resort town where political, business and financial leaders will share their views on the big issues under discussion. You can view the events here and register for free.
For the rest of us, we’ll just have to live with the terrible economic news heading into 2023 and hope things get better.
If you’re in the UK, the mainstream reality is mass strike action. It may not be close to being a second “winter of discontent”, at least according to my colleague Jonathan Guthrie, but another strike vote is expected among emergency workers this week, while the University and College Union will announce 18 new strikes. The days this week, covering 150 British universities in February and March, after members voted last week to reject the latest fee proposals.
The Northern Ireland Protocol will be back on the agenda at Stormont with a Thursday deadline to resume the energy exchange. Don’t expect it to make you feel better about life or cross-border politics.
Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision, which upheld Americans’ constitutional right to abortion. It’s certainly been a very lively debate since last year’s Supreme Court decision to overturn the 1973 decision — even reaching the boardroom. Anti-abortion campaigners will march on Washington on Friday, prompting further commentary on a major US political blunder.
The week will end with another artificial day, this time based on astronomy: the Lunar New Year celebration. This year’s mass movement of people to visit family and friends will take place under the shadow of rising Covid levels in China. Concerns are high about the impact on the spread of the disease.
An evening with FT columnist Martin Wolf will have to wait a little further. Join Martin and other thought leaders online on January 31 for a subscriber-exclusive event discussing the fundamental changes required in a time of great global uncertainty. The discussion coincides with the publication of Martin’s new book. The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism. Register here for free.
This week there will be a heavy flow of information from China, Great Britain and the United States. The European Central Bank will publish the minutes of its December meeting on Thursday, and various central banks will discuss the regional and global economy in Davos.
UK inflation will be updated on Wednesday. The outlook is not good, especially after recent comments from Bank of England Chief Economist Huw Pill. Ken Murphy, chief executive of the UK’s largest food retailer Tesco, has even warned that inflation in the UK could rise further. Last month’s release showed that the cost of living, measured by the consumer price index, fell 11.1 percent in October to 10.7 percent in November.
We’re in the midst of the first earnings season of 2023, and it’s a smorgasbord of companies, especially from Europe and (when Wall Street returns from its Martin Luther King Day break) the US.
Online food ordering services Just Eat Takeaway and Deliveroo will introduce investors to festive sales on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. Both are under pressure to increase profitability. The end of the lockdown did not bode well for food ordering apps as customers chose to return to restaurants.
The question now is whether the recession will help these companies — more people will buy takeout instead — or hurt them further as customers reluctantly return to their kitchens. Efforts to boost grocery sales through partnerships with supermarkets and convenience apps such as Getir could also give Deliveroo and JET a slice of the take-home market.
Last year was a year to forget for Ocado Retail. The online supermarket owned by Ocado and Marks and Spencer, which reported figures on Tuesday, has parted company with chief executive Melanie Smith and issued multiple profit warnings; its sales are expected to fall for the first time in its history.
In its latest update in September, Ocado said it expects strong growth in customers and sales growth of around 5 percent for the fourth quarter. It was similar to the rise posted by Tesco and J Sainsbury last week after British shoppers skipped Christmas for the first time in two years to avoid being disrupted by Covid-19.
US airlines report fourth-quarter and full-year earnings as the public’s attention turns to technical glitches that led to high-profile crashes at low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines and the nation’s top aviation regulator. But for most airlines, the news will still be laughable because (despite the post-Covid surge in interest in private jets) demand for commercial air travel is boosting profits.
United Airlines will report on Wednesday. Expect CEO Scott Kirby to have some harsh words for the US Federal Aviation Administration, which grounded planes for two hours on Wednesday when a corrupted database file caused a key safety system to fail. He said in the summer that the agency needs more air traffic controllers.