We’ve summarised the top stories of the last week into an easily digestible briefing, so that you can stay up to date on what’s happening around the world. You can subscribe to receive the briefing in your inbox each week.
UK Business & Economics
- CPI has risen from 9% in April to 9.1% in May according to the Office for National Statistics. Such a high figure has not been since 1982 and puts the UK at the highest level of inflation within the G7.
- Rishi Sunak has defended restoring the triple lock, which sees state pensions rise in line with inflation, the average wage increase, or 2.5% depending on which value is the highest. This arises after RMT strikes launched last week, demanding pay increases of 7%.
- British retail sales dropped 0.5% between April and May, reversing the previous month’s increase. Despite this, shoppers spent 0.6% more than the previous month, displaying the effects of increasing inflation on household incomes.
International Business & Economics
- The Russian Ruble reached its strongest level in 7 years despite numerous international sanctions, reaching 52.3 to the dollar on Wednesday, and has gotten so strong that the Russian central bank is actively taking measures to try to weaken it amid fears of lowered competitiveness.
- Russia is believed to have defaulted on its debt for the first time since 1998, having missed an expected £100 Million interest payment due for 27th May. Russia’s press secretary has claimed “statements of a default were absolutely unjustified” since the money was sent to Euroclear Bank to then be distributed from to investors.
- Chinese banks have lent $2.3 Billion to Pakistan to help the country prevent a foreign payments crisis. The Pakistani Rupee has slumped compared to international currencies and falling confidence has invoked fears that Pakistan could join Sri Lanka in defaulting on its national debt.
- Prominent crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital has defaulted on a loan worth more than $670 million, with its solvency issues coming after turmoil in the crypto market which has wiped out hundreds of billions of dollars of its value.
- G7 leaders this Monday have said that they intend to continue imposing individual sanctions on Russia, stating ‘we will continue our targeted use of coordinated sanctions for as long as necessary’. The members have also pledged an additional $29.5 billion worth of aid to Ukraine.
- Boris Johnson is planning on running for a third term in office, despite recent Conservative defeats in two by-elections. Labour and the Lib Dems have urged the PM to resign, with one Tory MP encouraging party rules to change so he can be ousted.
- MPs are set to vote this Monday on new legislation to give ministers the power to scrap parts of the post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU, with the aim of changing the NI Protocol to allow easier flow of some goods into Northern Ireland. The EU opposes the move, saying it breaches international law.
- The UK defense secretary made a trip to Turkey last week to soften Turkish opposition to Sweden and Finland’s applications to join NATO. Throughout the Ukraine conflict, Ben Wallace has become the most popular cabinet minister according to ConservativeHome.
- Jordan’s King Abdullah II said he would support the formation of a Middle East military alliance similar to NATO, stating that countries in the region have already started working together to address the challenges faced by the war in Ukraine.
- Putin is set to take part in his first major multilateral meeting since the Russian war on Ukraine, meeting BRICS leaders at their annual summit which is being hosted virtually by China this year. BRICS countries have yet to condemn Putin for his invasion of Ukraine.
- Roe v Wade, the landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 which made abortions legal in the United States, has since been overturned this week with a 5-4 vote in favour of this measure. The ruling now allows states to ban or severely restrict abortions, with 26 states expected to do so immediately or in the near-future.
- NATO has pledged to increase its deployment to the Baltics more than sevenfold to 300,000. This new strategy is to be signed off at an annual summit meeting on Tuesday in Madrid in order to bolster defensive measures in Eastern Europe given the current situation in Ukraine.
- The Swiss Federal Intelligence Service [FIS] has revealed that Geneva has become a European hub of espionage following a wave of Russian spy expulsions from neighboring European states. The FIS has estimated that there are several dozen Russian officers working in Switzerland as intelligence agents.
Written by Philip Weaver and Rob Webb