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  • Hello and welcome to "The Week Ahead"

  • from the Financial Times in London.

  • Here are some of the big stories we'll be watching this week.

  • Historic talks between the US and North Korea

  • will take place when Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un

  • meet in Singapore.

  • The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates

  • in the US.

  • The owner of the Zara fashion brand, Inditex,

  • reports results.

  • And the football World Cup kicks off in Russia,

  • but will FIFA vote for an underdog

  • to host the 2026 tournament?

  • Now, just a year ago, Kim Jong Un was a pariah.

  • North Korea had conducted several missile tests

  • and US President Donald Trump threatened

  • to respond with fire and fury.

  • Until March, the North Korean dictator

  • had never even been abroad on a state visit.

  • But this year, things have switched to a more diplomatic

  • track, and on Tuesday he's due to meet Donald

  • Trump in a historic summit.

  • Mr Trump wants to sign an agreement

  • to denuclearize North Korea and set a new path

  • for the reclusive regime.

  • But what is the US likely to get out of this week's meeting?

  • Here's our chief foreign affairs commentator, Gideon Rachman.

  • These are two very unusual and unpredictable leaders.

  • If you had two kind of normal leaders,

  • it would be quite easy, I think, to sketch out

  • the possible outcomes.

  • It would be very hard to imagine that they would immediately

  • solve the problem or come up with a breakthrough.

  • With these leaders, it's possible

  • that they will stray off script quite sharply

  • and perhaps come up with something with surprises

  • us all.

  • But there's also a downside risk.

  • And if the two men don't hit it off

  • or if they have very different expectations,

  • you could actually see a summit that goes badly wrong

  • and leads to a return or even perhaps

  • an increase in concerns about war that so dominated 2017.

  • And now to the US, where the Federal Reserve's

  • monetary policy decision is the highlight

  • of a busy economic calendar this week.

  • We'll get updates on inflation, manufacturing, and consumer

  • sentiment in Thursday's retail sales report.

  • The interest rate decision, which is on Wednesday,

  • will be presented alongside updates to the Fed's

  • economic and interest rate projections.

  • That will be followed by a press conference

  • with fed chair Jay Powell.

  • A rate rise is largely considered

  • a foregone conclusion, as our reporter Mamta Badkar explains.

  • Markets are anticipating the second rate rise

  • of the year and the seventh since 2015 amid signs

  • of renewed strength in the US economy

  • and as the Fed is getting a bit more confident

  • about its inflation outlook.

  • Now, the Fed said last month that inflation has moved closer

  • to its 2% target, but noted that this is a symmetrical target,

  • suggesting that modest moves above or below 2%

  • will be acceptable to the Fed.

  • Of note, of course, will be at the dot plot of interest rate

  • projections as markets try to determine

  • whether 2018 has three or four rate rises on the cards.

  • Now to Spain, where Inditex, the owner of the Zara fashion

  • brand, is set to report its first quarter results.

  • And all eyes will be on the long troublesome gross margin

  • figure.

  • The world's largest clothes retailer by sales

  • has for years seen slipping margins.

  • This has sparked investor concerns

  • about the effects of competition from online only rivals.

  • And in March, the company said that gross margins

  • had dropped from 57% in 2016 to 56.3% in 2017.

  • That was the lowest for a decade and worse

  • than analysts' expectations.

  • But many analysts are saying that while gross margins may

  • be down in the first quarter, there

  • could be signs of stabilisation, which

  • would reassure the markets.

  • Inditex has long denied that online sales will lead them

  • to lower margins.

  • Earlier this year, it blamed the strong euro, as well as

  • unseasonal weather.

  • And finally, to Russia, where the football World

  • Cup kicks off on Thursday.

  • The host take on Saudi Arabia in the opening match in Moscow.

  • But just before the big kickoff, more than 200

  • of FIFA's member nations will meet

  • to vote on the host for the 2026 World Cup.

  • And it's a race between a powerhouse joint bid

  • by the United States, Canada, and Mexico

  • and an underdog bid by Morocco.

  • Much to the surprise of many people

  • in the world of football, Morocco could win it.

  • This would be a shock because the North American

  • bid is offering a projected record $11 billion of profits

  • to FIFA.

  • And FIFA's own inspection task force

  • scored the North American bid very highly on technical merits

  • and it said there were risks to hosting

  • the tournament in Morocco.

  • So what would it mean if Morocco pulls off a surprise victory?

  • Here's our leisure correspondent, Murad Ahmed.

  • It seemed to me, at least, by reading

  • that report that FIFA's inspectors were saying,

  • don't hold the World Cup in Morocco, at least

  • in comparison to the North American bid.

  • So what would it say if Morocco still won?

  • It would tell you that the political horse

  • trading of the past that has mired old World Cup votes

  • has not disappeared, regardless of all the reforms

  • that FIFA have put in place.

  • And weirdly enough, a counterpoint,

  • that money isn't everything, that

  • in the end, the global image that you set out

  • has a big part to play when it comes

  • to voting on these essentially popularity contests.

  • And that's what the week ahead looks like from the Financial

  • Times in London.

  • See you again next time.

Hello and welcome to "The Week Ahead"

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B1 UK FinancialTimes morocco fifa world cup bid north

Trump to meet Kim, World Cup kicks off

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    Samuel posted on 2018/06/12
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