EconomyHoliday season comes early with days off for many

Holiday season comes early with days off for many

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Hello and welcome to the working week.

Or perhaps not. It has often been said that Christmas comes earlier every year. Well, this week many of us will be getting an early holiday season as a bulge in anniversaries means an uptick in public rest days across the world.

If you are reading this in the US, you are already immersed in the long Memorial day weekend with tomorrow’s commemoration of those who have given their life in military service.

On other years, the last Monday of May would also be a day off in the UK, linked to the Christian festival of Pentecost, or Whitsun as the Church of England calls it. But this year, the day off has been moved to Thursday and Brits have been handed an extra public holiday on Friday to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years as British head of state — perhaps by heading to the cinema.

On Thursday, Italians will commemorate the founding of their modern state with fireworks and parades on National Republic day. Then there is the Dragon Boat Festival, the traditional Chinese holiday held on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar — this year that will be this Friday.

Whatever you feel about the point of these public holidays, they have an additional poignancy this year given the debate about working hours. The greater flexibility needed to get things done during pandemic lockdowns has led many to question the rigidity of nine-to-five working, five days a week, about whether we need to blend our home and work life better or move to a four-day week — as tech business WANdisco has already done.

Could this shortened week be a taste of things to come? I am interested in your views. Email me at

Economic data

It is a fairly full week for economic data with both inflation and unemployment data for the eurozone countries, on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, plus the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book on US economic conditions on Wednesday, and US unemployment data on Friday.


It’s a thin week for earnings calls. Again the theme is retail.

So-called dollar stores in the US have tended to trade resiliently during economic downturns and that will probably be the message from variety discounter B&M this week.

Analysts expect sales and profits for the year to the end of March to be below last year’s record levels as shopping habits normalise and costs rise. But, as my colleague Jonathan Eley notes, the company’s scale and its direct-sourcing operation in Asia will help it keep prices below those of more conventional rivals as incomes come under pressure.

These are likely to be the last set of full-year results for chief executive Simon Arora, who together with brother Bobby took B&M from a small chain of tatty shops in north-west England to an estate of almost 700 UK stores and a place in the FTSE 100. He surprised the market in April by announcing plans to retire.

Key economic and company reports

Here is a more complete list of what to expect in terms of company reports and economic data this week.


  • EU, consumer and business sentiment surveys

  • Germany, preliminary May consumer price index (CPI) data

  • Italy, April producer price index (PPI) data

  • Spain, May inflation figures

  • UK, official data on youth unemployment by socio-economic background 2014-21 plus analysis tracking the lowest-cost grocery items


  • Canada, March GDP data

  • EU, May flash eurozone inflation figures

  • France, flash May CPI figures plus final April PPI data and Q1 GDP figures

  • Germany, May unemployment data

  • India, Q1 GDP figures

  • Italy, preliminary May CPI data, March unemployment figures and final Q1 GDP data

  • Japan, April unemployment rate, retail spending figures and flash industrial production data

  • Russia, central bank publishes financial stability review

  • Switzerland, Q1 GDP figures

  • UK, British Retail Consortium monthly economic briefing plus official quarterly economic activity measures for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the nine English regions

  • US, monthly consumer confidence figures

  • Results: B&M FY, HP Q2, Pennon Group FY


  • Alphabet AGM

  • Canada, Bank of Canada interest rate announcement

  • China, Eurozone, France, Germany, Italy, UK, US: S&P/Caixan manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data

  • EU, April unemployment figures

  • Germany, April retail trade figures

  • UK, Nationwide Building Society’s May house price index

  • US, Federal Reserve issues Beige Book of economic conditions

  • Results: Dr Martens FY


  • EU, April PPI figures

  • US, April factory orders data

  • Results: Hormel Food Q2, Lululemon Athletica Q1


  • EU, April retail trade data

  • France, April industrial production index figures

  • Germany, April trade balance data

  • Eurozone, France, Germany, Japan, US: S&P Global services sector PMI data

  • UK, deadline set by the Bank of England for UK banks to present crypto plans

  • US, May unemployment figures

World events

Finally, here is a rundown of other events and milestones this week.



  • EU, the term of the European Council president Charles Michel ends

  • The World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement body holds its monthly meeting

  • UK, deadline for home secretary Priti Patel to decide on the extradition to the US of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.


  • The first day of meteorological summer in the northern hemisphere

  • Albania assumes the revolving presidency of the UN Security Council

  • China, Shanghai moves into next phase of its lockdown-lifting programme

  • Denmark, country holds a referendum on joining the EU’s defence pact, increasing military spending and weaning itself off Russian gas

  • European Central Bank chief economist Philip Lane speaks at the CEPR Paris Symposium hosted by Sciences Po in Paris

  • South Korea, local elections

  • UK, Scotland play Ukraine in a Fifa World Cup play-off football match postponed owing to Russia’s invasion of its neighbour

  • US removes Trump-era tariffs of 25 per cent on British steel and aluminium exports, replacing them with quotas. In return, the UK will suspend extra taxes it had put on US products, such as bourbon and Levi’s jeans.


  • Italy, Festa della Repubblica commemorating the referendum to set the country’s form of government after the second world war.

  • UK, the Trooping of the Colour military parade to celebrate the Queen’s official 96th birthday


  • China, Hong Kong, Taiwan: annual dragon boat racing festivals

  • UK, the 73rd Aldeburgh classical music and opera festival, considered part of “the Season” of social events, begins plus St Paul’s Cathedral in London hosts a service of thanksgiving for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee


  • Jewish festival of Shavuot, or Feast of Weeks, begins this evening

  • China, 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square events in Beijing

  • France, women’s final of the French Open tennis tournament

  • Iran, national holiday commemorating the anniversary of the death of former Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini

  • Ukraine, today marks 100 days since Russia’s invasion started


  • Pentecost celebrated by western churches, commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus after his ascension. Whit Sunday in the UK.

  • France, men’s final of the French Open tennis tournament

  • UK, the Epsom Derby, British flat racing’s showpiece event, will be run at the eponymous Surrey racetrack, plus the culmination of four days of Jubilee celebrations that include local street parties, a star-studded pageant along London’s Mall and the Platinum Party at the Palace, a concert outside the Queen’s official residence

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