Brexit debate, Pope's Colombia visit
The FT's Josh de la Mare has the stories to watch for in the week ahead, with Britain's Brexit strategy taking centre stage in parliament, while markets are focused on the latest economic data from the Fed, and Pope Francis goes to Colombia, the first papal visit to the country in 31 years.
Produced by Josh de la Mare. Filmed by Rod Fitzgerald. Edited by Filip Fortuna.
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. Brexit will top the debate from UK politicians returning to Parliament. Markets will be focused on the latest economic data from the Federal Reserve. And Pope Francis goes to Colombia, the first papal visit to the country in 31 years.
In the UK, MPs return from their summer recess with tough parliamentary battles expected over Britain's strategy for leaving the European Union. The government softened some aspects of its negotiating position last month, but the UK opposition Labour party went further, calling for the UK to remain in the EU single market and customs union during any transition. Prime Minister Theresa May on her visit to Japan said Brexit will make UK more outward looking.
This is a formative period in shaping the future of my country. And as we leave the European Union, so I am determined that we will seize the opportunity to become an ever more outward looking global Britain, deepening our trade relations with old friends and new allies around the world. And there are few places where the opportunities of doing so are greater than Japan, the third largest economy in the world.
The centre of the debate will be around the European Union Repeal Bill. Pro-EU Tory MPs could join with Labour to defeat the government, which could end up with less authority to carry out Brexit without reaching an overall deal with the EU. Political writer Seb Payne has this analysis.
The UK parliament returns after its summer holiday this week, and there's really only one topic on the agenda, and that's Brexit. Usually you'd expect lots of different piece of legislation, but everything that's coming through now is to do with the UK's withdrawal from the EU. The crucial piece of legislation is the Great Repeal Bill, which is now known as the European Withdrawal Bill. And that essentially takes EU law and copies and pastes it into UK law. It's a huge and very complex piece of legislation, and the government is quite concerned about how it's going to be debated and amended.
The key thing to watch out for is whether Labour puts forward amendments to ensure the UK has to stay in the single market and the customs union during a transition period. The Conservatives are quite divided on this key issue here. There is an opportunity for Labour to really give the government a good kicking in the shins here. So lots of parliamentary fireworks that might sound a bit boring, but are very important to the UK'S future.
And in the US, markets and policymakers will be examining carefully the latest data from the Federal Reserve to see if it gives any clues on its policy direction. They'll find the details in the so-called Beige Book, which causes anecdotal information from across the US on current economic conditions, and also from monthly consumer credit figures. FT Economics writer Martin Sandbu has more.
Every new data release at this moment is significant, and that's because the Federal Reserve is scratching its head to find out whether the economy is strong enough to go ahead with tightening, or whether they need to hold off with interest rate rises. Markets, too, are confused. Just recently, we've seen GDP numbers being revised up a bit better than expected. But inflation is still very weak. So really, the Fed is internally divided about where to go next. So the two surveys coming out will be very important signs in terms of where the Fed might go next.
And in Frankfurt, the European Central Bank meets to discuss plans on how to end its $2 trillion euro quantitative easing programme, although no final decision is expected until October.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis begins a five-day visit to Colombia, the first papal visit to the country in 31 years. He will speak in Bogota before travelling to Villavicencio, a city in a region plagued by conflict between leftist guerrillas, right wing paramilitaries, and armed forces. The pontiff then visits Medellin, once a byword for the cocaine trade.
Some Colombians have criticised the $10 million cost of the visit, saying the money could be spent more wisely. But the government says it will generate millions of dollars in tourism, helping it shake off its terrorists and knockers image. Last year, the government finally reached a peace deal with the country's main guerrilla group, raising hopes of a lasting peace.
And that's what the week ahead looks like from the Financial Times in London. Goodbye.