(Bloomberg) --

Hello and welcome back. Here’s what we’re talking about heading into the first full workweek of the year.

The big grounding: Air travel faces new problems as the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max 9 gathered pace after a fuselage section of a new Alaska Airlines jet blew out during flight. Carriers from the US to Turkey to Panama have pulled the model from service. Good news, though: the EU’s aviation safety agency says no member state operates the aircraft, and there are no 737-9 Max jets registered in the UK either. 

The big defense: Was he against it before he was for it? Rishi Sunak told the BBC on Sunday that he always backed the Conservative Party’s controversial plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda that’s now closely aligned with his political future — but that he needed to ask “probing questions.” Labour’s Keir Starmer, meanwhile, told Sky that Sunak is “putting vanity before country” by not setting an election date.

The big data: UK GDP for November is released on Friday, with a partial rebound expected from October’s 0.3% drop. Bloomberg Economics says the bounce is unlikely to be enough to prevent the economy from entering a “mild technical recession” at the end of 2023. But with real incomes on the rise and interest rates set to fall, the outlook for 2024 is brighter, which surely hasn’t escaped Sunak’s attention.

The big briefing: Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey will testify to Parliament on financial stability on Wednesday. While monetary policy isn’t the focus, can MPs resist tossing in a few questions about interest rates? The run of better than expected news on inflation has set it up to fall below the central bank’s 2% target in the spring, opening the door for the BOE to start easing.

The big results: Earnings season is upon us, with big food retailers set to report. Share prices for Marks & Spencer, Tesco and J. Sainsbury posted 52-week highs out of the gate in the new year and grocers have already indicated it was a good Christmas season. Sainsbury issues its earnings on Wednesday with Tesco and M&S a day later. 

The big thought: In 2016, pundits and polls got two predictions horribly wrong: Donald Trump’s win and the result of the Brexit referendum. In this piece sketched out by Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait and Bloomberg Opinion columnist Adrian Wooldridge, there’s a 10% chance that things in 2024 go much better than predicted.

The big headache: The London Underground will be at an effective standstill for most of the week after talks to avert a strike failed to produce a breakthrough. Tube workers call a 5% pay rise offer inadequate — yet as inflation sinks, the window for big pay hikes may have shut. 

The big eats: Even as you detox from the holidays, our food critic Kate Krader lays out the 16 best new restaurants in London to try this year. Perhaps in a nod to the Paris Olympics, French food will be a big feature. If you fancy staying in the city to make your big outing complete, Sarah Rappaports has a new luxe property to crash at, starting at just £2,000 a night.

ICYMI our Big Take: Shipping headaches are already a major theme for 2024, which only spells bad news for inflation and global trade in general. Attacks by Houthi rebels on ships in the Red Sea have grabbed headlines, but check out the deep-dive by Bloomberg’s Peter Millard and Michael D. McDonald on massive problems facing the Panama Canal that links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Low water levels mean shippers are forking out millions to jump a growing backlog of vessels, while others are taking longer, costlier routes.

And finally, join Hannah Elliott and Matthew Miller as they discuss the classic Mercedes-Benz SL Class roadster, the monster Chevrolet Silverado 2500 ZR2 and the must-do car events of 2024 — from King of the Hammers in the California desert to the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex — in the “Hot Pursuits!” podcast. 

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.