Live news: Europe moves closer to war as Russia assembles ‘credible’ invasion force, UK minister says

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It is a bold commentator trying to predict the end of the diplomatic chess game of the border crisis between Ukraine and Russia. But the next seven days will produce some significant moves, if not an attempt at checkmate.

Perhaps the strangest event of the week will come on Thursday, when Russia, as the current chair of the UN Security Council, is scheduled to chair a discussion at the body’s global headquarters in New York on the Ukraine crisis.

But before that, new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is traveling to Moscow and Kiev to try to defuse tensions. He is following in the footsteps of France’s Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson – and the stakes are high for all European economies – but the Scholz meetings hold special significance amid the need for a new Ostpolitik in Germany, as does Timothy Garton Ash explained in his FT Opinion piece this week.

On Wednesday, attention will turn to NATO, where member states’ defense chiefs will meet in Brussels.

On Friday it will be back to Germany when the Munich Security Conference begins. Speakers include Kamala Harris, US Vice President. She is expected to use her trip to meet US allies and partners to deter Russian aggression. It will therefore be a test of their diplomatic skills.

economic data

The 2022 story, inflation, will come back with another installment this week as India, China, Japan, the US, the UK and Canada all report data in one form or another – consumer price index or producer price index numbers. Employment data is also due from the UK and EU. Elsewhere, Japan updates us on its quarterly GDP, and the Fed and Reserve Bank of Australia release their meeting minutes.

companies

Grocery is a theme for this week’s corporate earnings, with analysts targeting supermarket retail heavyweights on both sides of the Atlantic — Carrefour and Walmart — as well as consumer goods companies.

Investors in the former will be on the lookout for signs of progress in CEO Alexandre Bompard’s turnaround strategy. Expectations are higher for Walmart, the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer, which has already raised its full-year earnings forecast, which it will report on Thursday. However, both companies are under pressure from the global forces of supply chain failures and rising inflation.

Nestlé was one of the most popular consumer goods companies in the market under CEO Mark Schneider. He has shifted his portfolio into fast-growing areas such as plant-based foods, cookware, and pet foods. However, 2021 figures due Thursday will reflect a harsh comparison to last year, when the coronavirus lockdown boosted sales of items like coffee. Investors will also be scrutinizing how the world’s largest food company plans to deal with the rampant cost inflation that has squeezed rivals’ margins.

Read the complete calendar for the week ahead

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