Live news updates from January 23: Microsoft invests in OpenAI, Sunak urged to join NHS talks

Are you enjoying the start of the new lunar calendar year? The Year of the Rabbit is supposed to represent hope, peace and prosperity. And we all need more of these things in 2023. For the time being, however, this week is likely to focus on the more difficult matters of the present, not least China’s ability to vaccinate its citizens during the holiday season.

Industrial disputes will continue to rumble on with ambulance workers in England and Wales due to stage another strike on Monday. In Portugal, cabin crew at national carrier TAP will begin strike action on Wednesday amid a dispute about the airline’s pay offer and working conditions.

In Westminster politics on Tuesday, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary David Lammy will take up a more positive tone when he sets out his party’s policy priorities. He will probably weigh in on the UK’s relationship with the EU.

By coincidence, Monday is the 10th anniversary of former prime minister David Cameron’s speech on Europe in which he pledged he would renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU and offer a referendum on membership. Perhaps Lammy will reference this.

Also in the UK, but not to do with the British government, Nigeria is due to mount a high-stakes legal trial at London’s High Court on Monday. The case involves a long-running attempt to overturn an $11bn arbitration award that left the Nigerian government owing more than a quarter of its foreign reserves to an obscure oil and gas company.

The main election news of the next seven days will be the Czech presidential run-off vote, which concludes on Saturday. Former Nato commander Petr Pavel is the frontrunner. Also, Donald Trump is back. The former US president is expected to make his first public appearance on the 2024 campaign trail on Saturday, when he will name his South Carolina leadership team.

Economic data

Shoppers walk past a Gucci display window at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore
Shoppers walk past a Gucci display window at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, which reports inflation data on Wednesday © Chen Lin/Reuters

The fourth week of the month should be renamed survey week. Over the next seven days we have the comparison of G7 nations with the purchasing managers’ index updates and the Confederation of British Industry industrial trends survey on Tuesday, followed by Germany’s Ifo Business Climate report on Wednesday, as well as other consumer confidence measures.

On Thursday the US releases its first estimate for gross domestic product movement in the fourth quarter of last year. Spain will follow suit on Friday. Inflation updates are due from the UK, Australia, Spain, Sweden and Singapore on Wednesday. Japan will also report its consumer price index cost of living measure.

In central banker news, European Central Bank board member Fabio Panetta is due to appear at the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European parliament on Monday. Across the Atlantic, the Fed enters its purdah period ahead of the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting, which begins on January 31, and the Bank of Canada’s monetary policy committee is expected to raise its rate a further 25 basis points to 4.50 per cent with the possibility of it signalling a pause in further increases.


Tech earnings are a key theme this week; investors remain concerned about the prospects for the sector after a series of significant job cut announcements by most of the largest companies. The approach taken by Microsoft, which reports second quarter figures on Tuesday, could be a model for other Big Tech players to follow, according to our West Coast editor Richard Waters. Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella managed to strike a note of cautious optimism while announcing 10,000 lay offs last week to bring down its cost base.

It will be another week for Elon Musk watchers (just like every other week) with Tesla reporting fourth quarter figures on Wednesday. The company has been cutting prices of its electric vehicles to bolster demand in the US and Europe. We’re assuming Musk will be following the FT’s coverage of the latest numbers given claims made by the billionaire’s lawyer last week in court.

The war in Ukraine has boosted the fortunes of the world’s largest defence contractors with governments promising to increase spending on weapons and other military equipment. Investors will be looking for comments from Lockheed Martin (reporting on Tuesday) and Northrop Grumman (out on Thursday) to see if these promises will generate future revenues.