Japan election, China national congress
The FT's Daniel Garrahan previews some of the big stories in the week ahead, including a general election in Japan, Nestle, Unilever, Danone and Reckitt Benckiser reporting third-quarter revenues, and the Communist party's national congress in Beijing.
Filmed by Petros Gioumpasis. Produced by Daniel Garrahan
Hello and welcome to The Week Ahead from the Financial Times in London. Here are some of the big stories we're watching this week. Japan goes to the polls for a general election. Nestle, Unilever, Danone, and Reckitt Benckiser report third quarter revenues. And China's ruling Communist Party holds its 19th National Congress in Beijing.
First to Japan. The country will vote in a snap general election this week. Shinzo Abe is favourite to win a third consecutive term as prime minister. Voting ends at 8:00 PM in Tokyo on Sunday. That's midday in London, and opinion polls are likely to get a picture of the results almost immediately. Turnout is forecast to be moderate, with the opposition Party of Hope's weak showing dampening interest in the election. Political analysts are also watching the behaviour of younger voters, with the voting age lowered to 18 for the first time. Our Tokyo bureau chief, Robin Harding, has more.
Japan goes to the polls on Sunday, October 22, for a general election that will decide the future of prime minister Shinzo Abe and the economic stimulus known as Abe-nomics. His main opposition comes from Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike and her newly established Party of Hope. The party of hope has absorbed most of the former Democratic opposition, but despite initial momentum it has faded badly, and most polls now suggest an easy and sweeping victory for Mr. Abe's LDP and his coalition partners in Komeito. Made
Next to the third quarter earnings season. It's a busy week for the big consumer goods groups in Europe, with Nestle, Unilever, Danone, and Reckitt Benckiser at all reporting third quarter revenues. The one thing these multinational corporations have in common is they've been losing share to smaller brands, but after 7 quarters of slowdown, Nestle, Unilever, and Reckitt Benckiser are all expected to report an acceleration in growth. Reckitt has been hit by a series of one-off problems, such as a cyberattack in the summer and the flop of its foot care brand, Scholl. As our consumer indices editor, Scheherazade Daneshkhu reports.
What I think we're going to see this week is a sales warning for the rest of the year. The company is unlikely to meet its 2% growth target. And to soften that blow, though, we might see Reckitt promise something else, like more cost savings from its Mead Johnson acquisition, that's the baby milk group it bought earlier this year, or even maybe a review of its home business that sells air fresheners and laundry products, in order to focus on its core core areas of health and hygiene.
For the other companies, the big companies, Unilever and Nestle, there, both of those companies have had shocks this year in the sense of an unwelcome takeover offer for Unilever and activist pressure for Nestle. And there, it will all be about delivering on the promises that they've made to investors.
And finally, to Beijing, where Chinese President Xi Jinping's second five year term officially begins this week, as the ruling Communist Party Congress convenes on Wednesday Mr. Xi will outline his vision for China's future at a keynote speech, and he'll have the opportunity to replace some members of China's leadership team with his own political allies. Many observers with one eye on China's third quarter economic data, also due out this week, are hoping that the Congress will endorse new economic and financial reforms that they believe are necessary to sustain growth and reduce the country's dangerous debt levels. Here's our Beijing Bureau Chief, Tom Mitchell.
On Wednesday, more than 2,0000 delegates will meet in Beijing for a Chinese Communist Party Congress that is held only once every five years. This year's Congress marks the official start of President Xi Jinping's second five year term in office, and the highlight will come when the Congress concludes on October 23 and 24, with the unveiling of his new leadership team. The Congress is one of the most scripted and secretive rituals in global politics, and will provide vital clues about whether Mr. Xi, who is China's most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping and Mao Zedong, intends to run the party beyond the traditional 10 year term.
Another key event in Beijing this week will be the announcement of China's third quarter economic growth figure on Thursday. So far this year, growth has been stronger than expected, exceeding the government's full year target of 6 and 1/2%.
And that's what the week ahead looks like from the Financial Times in London. See you again next time.