Theresa May on Brexit, IMF meeting
The FT's Josh de la Mare previews some of the big stories in the coming days, including UK PM Theresa May at the Conservative party conference on Brexit, Monsanto results as a potential merger with Bayer proceeds, and the International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington.
Studio filmed by Rod Fitzgerald, Nicola Stansfield and Petros Gioumpasis. Written by George Parker, Lindsay Whipp and Gemma Tetlow. Produced by Josh de la Mare.
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JOSH DE LA MARE: Hello, and welcome to the "Week Ahead" from the Financial Times in London. Here's what we're watching this week. The UK vote for Brexit will top the agenda at the Conservative Party Conference. US agricultural giant Monsanto puts out results on the verge of its proposed merger with Bayer. And latest data could point to a faltering economic growth as the IMF meets in Washington.
First, to the UK, where new Prime Minister Theresa May addresses the annual conference of the Conservative Party for the first time since moving into Number 10, in the aftermath of June's momentous Brexit vote. The country is still looking for clues as to how Mrs. May intends to approach the Brexit negotiations. Mrs. May will stress her determination to control EU migration when she speaks to the party in a special Brexit session. Political Editor George Packer has more.
GEORGE PARKER: Well, this is the first time that Theresa May, the new British Prime Minister, has addressed her party conference. The party being in great mood. The party's generally euro sceptic. They're pleased that the country has voted for Brexit. But they'll be looking to hear from her a bit more about what she means when she says Brexit means Brexit, striking the balance between controlling Britain's borders and at the same time maintaining access to the European single market.
I think the other thing we'll be looking out for very strongly is Philip Hammond, a speech by the new chancellor of the Exchequer, setting out how he sees economic policy in the UK developing post Brexit. I would expect him to say it's the end of austerity in the UK, and perhaps a slight turning on of the taps on public spending, more investment on transport, broadband, and housing.
JOSH DE LA MARE: Theresa May is also expected to close the conference with a speech focusing on those voters who are struggling to get by, and use the EU referendum to express their despair about their lives. She'll emphasise an industrial policy to spread wealth and a crackdown on boardroom access.
Next, to US agricultural group Monsanto, whose full-year earnings this Wednesday come hot on the heels of its decision to sell itself to Bayer of Germany, creating the world's largest supplier of seeds and crops sprays. Monsanto Chief Executive Hugh Grant says the merger will be beneficial.
HUGH GRANT: We're entering a new era in agriculture. One in which growers started demanding new solutions and technologies to be more profitable, and to be even more sustainable. The vision for this combination was born of that desire to help farmers grow more with less. Together with Bayer, we're going to be able to offer growers even better solutions faster.
JOSH DE LA MARE: But investors will be keenly watching the earnings numbers to see how Monsanto has dealt with falling crop prices, and a warning that demand may have peaked for genetically modified corn, soybean, and cotton. Investors will also be hoping for more details on the potential merger, which still has to pass regulators at a time when concerns are great about reduced competition.
And finally, fresh UK economic data will show whether the vote to leave the EU will hit growth in the short term. So far there's not been a sharp slowdown as some had predicted before the vote. But industrial production figures for August and the purchasing managers' survey for September are due out this week. And if these are in line with Bank of England forecasts, they could help trigger further monetary loosening. This comes as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meet in Washington to discuss disappointing global growth. Chris Giles, FT economics editor has this assessment.
CHRIS GILES: I think this week the PMI indices across the world will probably give us an indication that the global economy is really sluggish still, just not in any sort of recession, but not growing fast almost anywhere. Services, manufacturing in particular, pretty weak as global trade is pretty weak. And then this sort of slightly downbeat mood, when in fact the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings, which take place throughout the week and really at the end of the week. Because the real worry is that if we continue having a lacklustre economic performance, then populists get more power, people are dissatisfied, and ultimately the forces of globalisation and prosperity can go into reverse.
JOSH DE LA MARE: The IFM will be more focused on fiscal policy, which has come back into vogue as a short term means to boost growth, while still pushing for longer term reforms by countries to improve economic potential. And that's what the "Week Ahead" looks like from the Financial Times in London. Goodbye.