(Bloomberg) -- Hello again. Here’s what we’re talking about heading into the new week.
The big worry: With Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip into its fifth month, Foreign Secretary David Cameron says he’s “deeply concerned” about the prospect of an expanded military offensive targeting the refugee outpost for Palestinians in Rafah, near the Egyptian border. Israel is “working out a detailed plan” for the “safe passage” of the more than 1 million civilians now sheltering in Rafah, says PM Benjamin Netanyahu, but key allies have been speaking out.
The big votes: PM Rishi Sunak faces by-elections on Thursday in two Tory-held English districts. Labour is widely expected to take both given the headwinds facing the Conservatives. As our politics team explains, a strong outcome by the right-wing Reform UK party is a feared outcome and may trigger fresh calls for Sunak’s ouster. Meanwhile, even the pre-campaign slogan being tested by Sunak risks backfiring by creating nostalgia for a Labour government.
The big data: Tuesday’s wage numbers may show the weakest pay pressures since 2022, cheering Bank of England officials who — like global peers — are slowly pivoting toward rate cuts. GDP figures on Thursday will point to how BOE tightening is hitting growth. Economists reckon the UK stagnated in the fourth quarter, narrowly avoiding a recession for now.
The big banker: BOE Governor Andrew Bailey lectures at Loughborough University on Monday, and follows up on Wednesday with testimony to the House of Lords economic affairs panel. Central bankers from Washington to Frankfurt to London have been keen to say that they need to see more before lowering rates. Still, Marcus Ashworth writes that the BOE and the ECB should forge their own paths and not wait for the Fed’s to lead.
The big earnings: Reports from spirits producer Pernod Ricard and brewer Heineken are among the highlights as earnings season winds down. Both companies are expected to have struggled with shaky consumer confidence in Europe. Airbus results on Thursday could show a ding from supply-chain issues even as commercial deliveries increased. NatWest reports on Friday, and may highlight a soft outcome as central banks shift toward rate-cutting mode.The big shock: King Charles III attended church Sunday for the first time since revealing news of his cancer diagnosis, the Associated Press reports. Walking beside Queen Camilla, Charles arrived at St. Mary Magdalene Church, close to Sandringham House in eastern England where he retreated to recuperate following his first treatment for an unspecified form of cancer. His diagnosis shouldn’t surprise, based on demographics, writes Martin Ivens — and yet it does.
ICYM Our Big Take: The recent capture of a Libyan tanker in Albanian waters opened a window on a $5 billion trade in smuggled fuel — much of it coming from Russia, as K. Oanh Ha explains in his year-long deep-dive into how Europe’s ban on fuel from Vladimir Putin’s regime is being circumvented.
And finally, for Super Bowl Sunday, our Big Take podcast examines the succession drama in the NFL, where team ownership has historically been a family affair. That’s opening the door for private equity, an ownership model long frowned upon in the NFL — but which is already having an outsized impact on English football. Listen on iHeart, Apple and Spotify. Meanwhile, our columnist JP Spinetto warns Brazil not to be seduced by NFL marketing as the league takes another swing at expansion.
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