Trump-Putin summit, Alcoa results, Farnborough Airshow
The FT's Helen Barrett highlights key stories to watch out for in the week ahead, including the first bilateral summit between Trump and Putin in Helsinki, Alcoa's second-quarter results and the Farnborough International Airshow
Presented by Helen Barrett. Written by Henry Foy; Henry Sanderson and Simon Greaves. Produced and edited by James Sandy
Here are the top stories we'll be watching this week. After his controversial UK visit, Donald Trump flies to Helsinki to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin. Leading aluminium producer Alcoa opens the mining sector's second-quarter results season. And aviation enthusiasts will be looking skyward for an upbeat message from the UK's Farnborough Airshow.
First to Helsinki, host city for the first full summit between President Trump and Vladimir Putin. Both Moscow and Washington say they are keen to resume bilateral relations, which have soured in recent years. Despite being beset by allegations of collusion between his election campaign and the Kremlin, Mr Trump has stressed the need to engage with the Russian president, and both men are expected to use the summit to discuss the war in Syria, the conflict in Ukraine, and the future of nuclear weapons. The FT's correspondent in Moscow, Henry Foy, has more.
Well, it's safe to say that expectations for real agreement and concrete progress from this summit are at rock bottom. Mr Putin and Mr Trump are seeking to re-establish a bilateral relationship really from a standing start. Of course, there's a lot of issues that are clouding potential agreements, such as the ongoing investigation into any collusion between Mr Trump's campaign and Moscow, of course the alleged meddling in the US election by the Russians, and US sanctions that have dented the Russian economy. So really, the focus, I think, in Helsinki is going to be on optics. There's a lot of US allies in Europe and elsewhere in the west that are a little bit concerned that Mr Trump's European tour is likely going to end with handshakes and back slaps from the Russian president.
In the mining sector, investors will be looking for an uptick in Alcoa's earnings when the aluminium producer reports its results on Wednesday. Prices for aluminium jumped in the second quarter of the year, following the imposition of US sanctions against Russian producer Rusal. That move cut access to international markets and left buyers scrambling to secure other sources of the metal, leading to a market high in April. Since then, prices for aluminium have fallen after the US Treasury indicated that sanctions on Rusal could be eased, so long as its founder, Oleg Deripaska, gave up control. Here's the FT's commodities correspondent, Henry Sanderson.
US aluminium producer Alcoa reports second-quarter results this week, and analysts will be looking very closely for signs of what's going to happen for the rest of this year, because while aluminium prices shored up in the second quarter on the back of sanctions, Trump's administration has since eased those sanctions and allowed Russia's Rusal a route to getting back to the market. People will be looking at these results also for a sign of the impact of Trump's trade tariffs, because Trump has launched retaliatory tariffs against imports of aluminium from China, Canada, and other countries. So people will be looking for any remarks about what this means for the domestic US market.
And finally, aviation investors and enthusiasts will get to see the industry's latest innovations from Monday at the UK's leading airshow in Farnborough. The weeklong trade show will attract executives and experts from all over the world. Industry followers want to know how orders are holding up, what projects aerospace companies are working on, and what investors can expect in the way of returns in the year ahead. Here's Peggy Hollinger, the FT's industry editor, with her take on what to expect.
Airshows are normally a frenzy of deal-making and big orders and big egos, but this year we're not expecting to see a huge number of orders as we have done in past years. Airlines are having to digest the aircraft they've already bought. And in fact, the aircraft makers are having to deal with record backlogs and desperately trying to produce the aircraft that they've already taken orders for.
So if there are no big orders, what else are we looking for? Well, we're not going to get a new aircraft from Boeing. At least, that's what we're being told very strongly by the supply chain in the industry. So really, what the focus will be on is both on the supply chain, as the aircraft makers attempt to ensure that their suppliers are fit and ready to ramp up to the production rates they need to deliver the aircraft, but also new technologies. We'll have a lot of focus on the electrification of aircraft, on autonomy, on robotisation. I think there will be a real focus to push the view out to the future.
And that's what the week ahead looks like from the Financial Times in London.