German elections, Man Utd results
The FT's Vanessa Kortekaas highlights the key stories to watch for in the coming week, including Angela Merkel standing for re-election in Germany, a Bank of Japan meeting and financial results from Manchester United Football club.
Produced by Vanessa Kortekaas. Edited by Petros Gioumpasis. Filmed by Rod Fitzgerald and Andy Mitchell.
Hello. Welcome to "The Week Ahead" from the Financial Times in London. Here are some of the big stories we'll be watching in the coming days.
Angela Merkel is hoping for yet another election victory when Germany goes to the polls. The Bank of Japan will meet again to discuss monetary policy. And can Manchester United replicate its winning ways off the field? We'll find out when the club reports its full year results.
Let's start in Germany, where after 12 years in office, Chancellor Angela Merkel is still riding high in the polls. When Germans vote in the federal election on September 24, Ms. Merkel's conservative block, made of the Christian Democrats and the Bavarian Christian Social Union, is expected to win about 38% of the vote. Her rival, Martin Schulz, who leads the Social Democrats, has recently fallen back in opinion polls after a surge earlier this year.
Here's our Berlin correspondent Tobias Buck explaining Ms. Merkel's enduring appeal in Germany.
Angela Merkel has been chancellor of Germany since 2005. In the same period, the US has had three presidents, France has had four presidents, the UK has had four prime ministers, and Italy has had no fewer than seven prime ministers. And still, Germany looks set to elect Angela Merkel for yet another four-year term on Sunday.
What explains this longevity? First of all, Germany's economic record-- unemployment has fallen to around 4%, salaries are rising, the budget is in surplus, and the economic growth outlook is pretty strong.
Secondly, Germans-- or most Germans-- trust Angela Merkel as a safe pair of hands at a time of great global political uncertainty. There are anxieties in Germany, not least linked to the 2015 refugee crisis. But those anxieties are not enough to turn the nation against their veteran leader.
There is, however, intense competition further down Berlin's political pecking order. No fewer than four parties are competing for third place, including the Greens, the centrist Free Democrats, and the left-wing Die Linke party. And for the first time since the 1950s, a right-wing party is expected to enter the Bundestag.
Now, the Bank of Japan is due to wrap up a monetary policy meeting this Thursday with two new members of its policy board voting for the first time. With the entire committee now appointed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the vote in favour of continuing the BOJ's aggressive stimulus could be a unanimous nine to zero, instead of the previous seven to two majority.
Recent economic data have been largely positive, with the growing economy at an annualised pace of 2.5% in the second quarter. But inflation and wage growth remain stagnant, so the central bank is unlikely to change its policy, keeping overnight interest rates at minus 0.1%, 10-year yields capped at around 0%, and asset purchases running-- at least in theory-- at a pace of 80 trillion yen a year.
Here's Robin Harding, our Tokyo Bureau Chief, with more on what to expect.
The main event of this week's meeting of the Bank of Japan policy board will be the first vote cast by two new members of the committee. Hitoshi Suzuki is a former commercial banker, and that often denotes hostility to [INAUDIBLE] interest rates. Goshi Kataoka, on the other hand, is an economist who is widely regarded as belonging to the reflationist faction that now controls the BOJ.
Big policy news is unlikely this week, but a nine-zero vote in favor of continued stimulus would signal just how firmly [INAUDIBLE] now in control at the Bank of Japan.
And finally, Manchester United Football Club are back to their winning ways. The club finished last season by securing the Europa League trophy and has started this season with a series of victories that propelled them to the top of the English Premier League table. So can the club replicate those wins off the pitch? We'll find out when Man United releases its full-year and fourth-quarter results next week.
In May, the club said that projected yearly revenues would be between 560 and 570 million pounds. Its strong financial performance recently has been boosted by a new 5.1 billion pound domestic broadcasting deal signed by the Premier League with Sky and BT. Last season, the deal helped Man United display Spain's Real Madrid as the world's wealthiest club in terms of revenues. That's according to the consultancy Deloitte.
Here's our leisure correspondent, Murad Ahmed, with more on the club's prospects.
Manchester United kicked off its Champions League campaign last week with a victory against Basel of Switzerland. And that stands the club in good stead both on and off the pitch. Being in the Champions League gives a boost in broadcasting income, and also if they go far in the tournament, some prize money as well.
But crucially, the club has contracts with sponsors and other commercial partners which incur penalties for not being in the tournament and bonuses depending on how well they do. So just by winning and continuing in Europe's elite club competition should make the club a lot more money.
And that's what the week ahead looks like from the Financial Times in London. See you again next time.