Live news: FCA fined Metro Bank for misleading investors

Britain’s industrial unrest has been described as a second winter of discontent (although it’s not a patch on the mass strikes that hit the UK in 1978-79) and is set to peak in the coming days, with rail and postal workers, NHS staff and driving instructors (yes, It surprised me too) They all got out because of wages and conditions.

Polling among RMT members for the latest wage offer for railway workers closed on Monday with the railway union recommending that members reject the proposed deal. The Financial Times revealed last week that the offer could have been much higher but that government ministers had blocked a 10 per cent increase in wages over two years. Tuesday will begin the latest of RMT’s many 48-hour strikes that have been planned over the Christmas period.

More than a million working days are expected to be lost to strikes in the UK in December, the worst disruption of any month since the end of Margaret Thatcher’s term in office.

Pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s administration to enact anti-strike legislation, and we may hear more about that this week, but successive Tory prime ministers have made similar pledges that have come to nothing. Whatever Sunak does now, it will be too late to escalate industrial strikes over the Christmas holidays.

Passengers at a London station awaiting news of the stop © Andy Rain / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

Do you want some better news? On Tuesday, the first of Europe’s new generation of weather satellites will be launched into space from Kourou in French Guiana. Despite what Billy Bragg sings about his desire for space instruments, the €4.3 billion third-generation Meteosat system offers a real leap forward for meteorologists, providing more accurate forecasts, including better warnings of impending storms.

Three satellites will hover in a geostationary orbit 36,000 km above the equator over Africa. From there they will provide images of Europa every two and a half minutes, including the first comprehensive observations of lightning from space. In doing so, the system is expected to save lives that would otherwise be lost in severe weather.

Then there is football.

If you hate the FIFA World Cup, you will be happy to know that it is the last week of the tournament. If you like it, you can enjoy an extraordinary month for the beautiful match as the four remaining teams play in the semi-finals on the Wednesday before the Sunday final – read the FT coverage for the full details.

Economic data

It’s not just strikes that are gathering this week. Markets focus on three interest rate announcements from the shortening economies: the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom. All three are expected to fall back somewhat on their planned highs.

There is also a wealth of data from the US and the UK that influence rate-setting commissions. The gap between short- and long-term borrowing costs – at its widest since 1981 – reinforced expectations among investors that the Federal Reserve will continue its path of tightening monetary policy to tame inflation, despite growing fears about a recession.

The last time the UK’s Monetary Policy Committee met, in early November, attention focused on restoring confidence in the country’s economic management. The Bank of England continues its tough talk, but this time the MPC’s response is expected to be tougher. A 0.5 percentage point rise in the core rate is expected on Thursday, rather than repeating the 0.75 percentage point rise last month.

Weekends with flash G7 PMI numbers. There is also a summit of EU leaders and OPEC publishes its monthly outlook report.


A shopper carries a Zara bag in New York

Expectations are high for Spain’s Inditex, home of the Zara brand, among others © Demetrius Freeman / Bloomberg

It’s a quiet week for earnings announcements, but one with some notable companies reporting from certain sectors. In retail fashion, there’s H&M, which has reported its recovery in the Chinese market after a long-running consumer boycott. Expectations are also high for Spain’s Inditex, home to the Zara brand, among others. For technology, there’s Oracle for the acquisition. And in the outsourcing space, Capita and Serco are represented.

Read the full calendar for the coming week here.

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