Live news: Eurozone retail sales drop as inflation erodes shoppers’ activity

Residents queued for Covid-19 tests in Beijing's Chaoyang district on Sunday

Residents queue for Covid-19 tests in Beijing’s Chaoyang district on Sunday © Wu Hao/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

After a period of turmoil, change and mourning in China, vice premier and Covid-19 czar Sun Chunlan said the fight against the virus had entered a “new phase”. A potential, albeit gradual, unwinding of Beijing’s zero-Covid policy is likely to dominate the headlines, as will subsequent inflationary pressures. State institutions and businesses will continue to face the delicate task of honoring the late president, Jiang Zemin without offending incumbent Xi Jinping.

Now that electricity has been restored in some parts of Ukraine the focus is on the struggle to increase ammunition production in the west. Industrial capacity and the disrupted global supply chain will be high on the agenda of defense ministers at the annual European Mediation Initiative in Oslo and the European Defense Agency’s annual conference in Brussels. Russian president Vladimir Putin may respond this week to his US counterpart Joe Biden, who said he was willing to talk about ending the conflict.

Nationwide’s falling house price index continues to dampen the Christmas spirit in the UK. Will Wednesday’s Halifax house price index figures tell the same story? The news of record food inflation has certainly caught the eye of the British Retail Consortium’s upcoming November retail sales figures and is likely to play a major role in Associated British Foods’ annual general meeting speeches.

It will be a sports week around the world. The men’s football World Cup in Qatar will reach the quarter final stage. The Pakistan-England Test cricket series will take place, and the final of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating will begin in Italy on Thursday.

The Nobel Prizes will be awarded at a ceremony in Oslo on Saturday.

Economic data

This week’s highlights include November Halifax house price indices and purchasing managers for the UK, Russia and the EU. Also keep an eye out for EU retail sales, German factory orders and industrial production, third quarter EU gross domestic product and BRC sales, as well as trade balance figures from the US.

Companies

An employee restocks racks at a Lululemon store in London. The retailer reports results on Monday © Bloomberg

There are narrow options for results this week, but Costco Wholesale is expected to rise due to resilient demand for fresh food, groceries and fuel, despite high inflation in years. Lululemon Athletica reports on Thursday and Carl Zeiss Meditec on Friday.

In UK news, we’re likely to hear more about Mulberry’s claim that luxury shoppers are avoiding London for Europe since the decision to end VAT-free shopping in the UK. CEO Thierry Andretta said: “We are losing 45-50 percent of our potential business [at the Bond Street store] due to the end of the tax free [shopping].”

Read the full calendar for the coming week here.

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