Brexit focus after UK election, Japan rates, Putin interview, cannabis earnings
The FT's Josh de la Mare previews some big stories the FT will be watching this week, including the focus on Brexit after Boris Johnson's election victory, a Bank of Japan rates decision, Vladimir Putin's news conference, and a cannabis company's results
Written by Simon Greaves, Mamta Badkar, Robin Harding, Anne-Sylvaine Chassany and Lauren Fedor. Studio filmed by Rod Fitzgerald and Petros Gioumpasis. Produced by Josh de la Mare.
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Here are some of the top stories the Financial Times will be watching this week. With Boris Johnson winning a majority in the UK general election, the focus will be on Brexit. Russian president Vladimir Putin holds his annual hours long news conference which will be watch for any signals on foreign policy. The bank of Japan meets to discuss interest rates. The US Democrats hold their latest presidential candidates debate. And a Canadian cannabis company releases results which will show how the marijuana sector is faring.
First, Boris Johnson's crushing victory over the Labour Party in the UK general election means that as prime minister for the next five years and as leader of the Conservative Party, Mr Johnson has a decisive mandate behind his plans for Brexit. Above all, to secure withdrawal from the EU by January the 31st next year. After that, Mr Johnson will have to focus on negotiations with Brussels on a trade deal. He's pledged to achieve this by the end of 2020, making it a very tight timetable for a complex deal that will be crucial to the UK economy for decades ahead.
President Vladimir Putin holds his annual news conference this week. Lasting several hours and attended by journalists from across the country, it's a stage-managed affair. But it may give clues on Mr Putin's foreign policy.
Several hundred journalists from the Russian and foreign media will be able to grill the Russian president for about three to four hours. We've been most interested in questions about Ukraine and the economy. Mr Putin has resumed talks with Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, to resolve the war in Ukraine states and regions that followed Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.
In Paris last week, the leaders agreed to a cease fire and an exchange of prisoners by the end of the year. But disagreements remain on the holding of elections in the Donbas region and over the border. Economic growth, meanwhile, remains sluggish at 1.7 per cent and lagging the other big emerging markets, partly on US and European sanctions. We also expect questions on the world's anti-doping agency's decision to kick out Russia of International Sports event for four years on doping charges.
The Bank of Japan meets this week to discuss interest rates and the state of the world's fourth largest economy.
The Bank of Japan's final monetary policy meeting in 2019 will conclude on Thursday, the 19th with a press conference from Governor Haruhiko Kuroda. A few months ago, the BOJ was under a lot of pressure because of interest rate cuts by the US Federal Reserve and a steady drip of negative news about the global economy.
Those concerns eased somewhat however and the BOJ is now under less pressure to do anything to support growth in Japan. That growth is sluggish with signs that consumer spending was hard hit by rising consumption tax from eight per cent to ten per cent at the start of October. However, the government of prime minister Shinzo Abe has already stepped in with a $121bn fiscal stimulus. Given that, the BOJ can afford to sit on its hands for now and await further developments.
In the US, the sixth televised democratic presidential debates will take place this week in Los Angeles. And comes after front runner and former vice-president Joe Biden has been the target by Donald Trump over the impeachment inquiry on the president, which involves Mr Biden's son's dealings in Ukraine.
On Thursday, seven Democrats vying to take on Donald Trump in next year's presidential election will take the stage for another live televised debate. Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, and Andrew Yang. One name notably absent from the list is Kamala Harris, the California senator who launched her presidential bid earlier this year to a lot of enthusiasm and high expectations. But earlier this month, she pulled out of the race saying she'd run out of money.
One candidate who has plenty of name recognition and plenty of money is former New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg. But Bloomberg did not qualify for Thursday's debate either, because the DNC has set out requirements for the number of donors to each candidate. Mike Bloomberg says that he'll only be accepting money from one donor this campaign cycle, himself.
Finally, the latest player in the cannabis industry in North America, Cannabis One, brings out results which will give an indication towards the wider picture of how the burgeoning marijuana industry is developing.
Hopes for cannabis stocks were riding high last year and at the start of 2019. But investors have lost their buzz for the sector in recent months. Cannabis One Holdings, a Canadian pot stock, is set to unveil results. And investors will tune in to see how the company has performed, but also to see what it says about the broader demand for the drug. Canada has racked up 400 tonnes. A supply has outpaced demand and smoked prices of both the drug itself and cannabis stocks.
Indeed the sector is shaping up to be one of the biggest market busts of 2019. In the US, 11 states have approved for recreational use of pot by adults. And slowing legalisation has soured the outlook on the industry as pot use is still banned under US federal law. While the potential for the industry is massive, the loss of momentum towards legalisation has dealt the industry a severe blow.
And that's what the week ahead looks like from the Financial Times in London.