Europe's migrant crisis, Japan's economic outlook
The FT looks at some of the big stories of the coming week, including European Union leaders meeting to discuss the migrant crisis, the bank of Japan's expected economic forecasts and policy decision and updates from some of the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies.
Produced by Veronica Kan-Dapaah. Filmed by Nicola Stansfield and Rod Fitzgerald. Written by Veronica Kan-Dapaah, Duncan Robinson, Robin Harding and David Crow.
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VERONICA KAN-DAPAAH: Hello and welcome to "The Week Ahead" from the Financial Times in London. Here are some of the big stories we'll be watching this week. European leaders will meet in Malta to discuss the migrant crisis, the Bank of Japan will give an update on the country's economic health, and US pharmaceutical companies are due to give earnings reports.
First, European Union leaders will discuss how to stem the still high number of people making the dangerous crossing to reach Europe from North Africa. That's on the agenda at an informal summit in Malta. While the number of people entering Greece fell dramatically in 2016, the amount trying to reach Italy from Libya increased 20% to more than 181,000. Brussels last week put forward a long-term package of measures that would involve the EU providing support to Libya to shore up its southern border. It will also strengthen support to countries en route, which officials say have already made a strong start in limiting the flow of people.
Italy has pushed forward with talks with Libya over a deal which, in time, could include economic aid in exchange for stopping migrant departures. That would echo last year's EU accord with turkey.
THOMAS DE MAIZIERE: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]
VERONICA KAN-DAPAAH: The Bank of Japan will update its economic forecasts this week for the first time since Donald Trump's election in the United States. That sent the yen into freefall and rewrote the outlook for Asia in 2017. A two-day policy board meeting will finish on the 31st of January, with a press conference from Governor Kuroda.
A weaker yen has improved the outlook for exports and investments, which may lead Japan's central bank to edge up its growth forecasts. Balancing that, though, low inflation last year is expected to keep a lid on this year's spring wage rounds, which in turn may keep a check on prices.
ROBIN HARDING: The BOJ still doesn't see the weaker yen beating through to domestic wages, and that's the crucial factor for prices.
VERONICA KAN-DAPAAH: As a result, Mr. Kuroda is expected to deliver a steady as she goes message.
ROBIN HARDING: The BOJ is extremely unlikely to actually change policy next week. In fact, it may not change policy all year. Now that the yen's weaker, the outlook for inflation is better. But it's still very low, and there's very little pressing urgency for its change policy either way.
VERONICA KAN-DAPAAH: Finally, a host of global pharmaceutical companies report earnings this week, and there's a lot to watch for. Investors are watching politics as well as pipelines, as our senior US business correspondent David Crow explains.
DAVID CROW: Even though the drug makers fear the crackdown on pricing that might come with Donald Trump, one thing they're looking forward to is a possible tax holiday that's being spoken about by Republicans in Washington. That might allow them to bring back lots of money, nearly $100 billion of cash that's stashed overseas. They could bring that back and pay a much lower tax rate than they otherwise might. That could lead to a bonanza of share buybacks and deals which might push valuations in the sector higher.
VERONICA KAN-DAPAAH: There'll also be updates on efforts to tackle some of the world's most prevalent diseases. Eli Lilly reports on Tuesday, and it's hoped it will say whether it plans to continue developing an Alzheimer's drug that recently failed a late-stage trial. Merck will publish latest sales of its cancer therapy, which recently won limited approval for lung cancer patients. And on Thursday, eyes will be on AstraZeneca. The Anglo-Swedish group recently extended a trial of its experimental cancer treatment. Some shareholders believe the drug's success is crucial if the group wants to maintain its independence.
And that's what the week ahead looks like from here at the Financial Times in London. We'll see you again next time.