China v US at G20, CDU leader election, Thomas Cook results
The FT's Josh de la Mare highlights the key stories to watch for in the week ahead, including US-China relations at the G20 summit, the latest minutes from the Federal Reserve, the Christian Democratic Union leadership contest and results from Thomas Cook.
Words by Chris Giles, Mamta Badkar, Guy Chazan and Camilla Hodgson. Images from Getty and Reuters. Filmed by Petros Gioumpasis and James Sandy. Produced by Josh de la Mare.
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Here are the top stories we'll be watching this week.
All eyes will be on China-US relations at the G20 summit. The contest to replace Angela Merkel as head of the CDU in Germany hots up. And how will Brexit affect the fortunes of UK holiday group, Thomas Cook?
First, to the summit of the Group of 20 nations in Buenos Aires, which comes after months of trade tensions between the presidents of the US and China, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping. The summit set to be largely an exercise in damage limitation. Following the catastrophic G7 summit in June, where leaders fell out in public, Donald Trump left early, and the leaders failed to agree a joint statement,
officials around the world have been attempting to avoid a repetition. In leaks seen by the Financial Times leaders have reduced their ambitions on most of the important global issues, especially trade and climate change, to keep the US on board. The results will be that the G20 will drop its pledge to avoid protectionism, difficult in any case after a year of trade wars, and limit criticism of the president for failing to sign up to the Paris Agreement on climate change.
President Trump and Xi Jinping will hold a bilateral summit, with the aim of de-escalating trade tensions. The FT's economics editor, Chris Giles, has this analysis.
The G20 summit this week will be a real test of whether leaders can make the world a better or a worse place. Perhaps the most important test will be the bilateral meeting between President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China. If this goes well, then the global economy could perhaps re-accelerate in 2019 and 2020.
But if we get a breakdown in that meeting and further tariffs between the US and China, then I think we're looking at a global slowdown, and maybe as much as 20, 30, 40 per cent knocked off growth in 2020, '21. And that's not a pleasant prospect.
Staying with the US, on Wednesday the Federal Reserve releases the minutes of its November meeting, when it left rates unchanged, but signalled it was on course for a rate rise in December. With inflation close to target, investors will be looking for clues on the Fed's next move, and possible statements on recent market turbulence.
The three candidates battling to succeed Angela Merkel as leader of the right of centre Christian Democratic Union continue their tour of Germany. This week they will introduce themselves to CDU members across the country in four public hustings, the last one in the capital Berlin.
The interest is huge. Organisers have repeatedly had to hire bigger venues because of the massive demand for tickets. Vying for Ms Merkel's throne are Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the current CDU secretary-general, Jens Spahn, federal health minister, and Friedrich Merz, an old arrival of Ms Merkel, who used to head the CDU group in the Bundestag, before quitting politics in 2009 and switching to business.
Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer is a centrist, seen as Ms Merkel's natural heir. But a recent poll put Mr Merz, a conservative, clearly ahead of her.
And finally, investors will be seeing how Brexit and the weather have affected UK holiday group Thomas Cook, which brings out results this week. Popular for its budget holidays to Spain, the company warned in September that profits would fall 15 per cent and blamed unusually hot weather in Europe, which it said had hit late bookings.
Also, travellers have been paying less for their holidays which has tightened Thomas Cook's margins in a fiercely competitive market. The FT's Camilla Hodgson says investors will be looking to see if this trend continues.
A couple of things that Thomas Cook might be worrying about, at the moment, is that consumers in the UK have less money to spend on holidays. And also, that travelling to Europe after Brexit might get more expensive and also more difficult.
While Thomas Cook had a profit warning in September, its rival, Tui, is actually doing relatively well, and said their sales have gone up as travellers went further afield, to places like North America and the Caribbean. So it's possible that having a more diversified offering, not relying so much on budget trips to Spain, to other bits of Europe, is what Thomas Cook needs to be focusing on, looking ahead.
One interesting part of that strategy is own-brand brand hotels, which is something that the company is looking to step up, not only in Europe, but also in China and further afield as well.
And that's where the week ahead looks like from the Financial Times in London.