Central Bankers Will Debate Policy, and OPEC Meets on Output

Posted June 17, 2018 5:52 p.m. EDT

Central Bankers Will Debate Economic Policy

The mysteries of how prices and wages are determined will be the theme of discussions by economists and central bankers at the European Central Bank’s annual forum, which starts Monday in Sintra, Portugal. The participants will debate questions such as why wages in many developed countries have been stagnant and what effect powerful online businesses like Google and Amazon have on consumer prices. The event concludes Wednesday with a panel discussion that will include Jerome H. Powell, the president of the Federal Reserve; Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank; and Haruhiko Kuroda, governor of the Bank of Japan.


Senate to Vote on Amendment Blocking Trump’s ZTE Deal

The Senate is expected to vote Monday on a provision that would restore harsh penalties on ZTE, the Chinese telecommunications giant that violated U.S. sanctions, setting up a rare fight between lawmakers and the White House. The measure, tucked into a broader military policy bill, is supported by Republicans and Democrats. It would undo an agreement reached in recent weeks by the Commerce Department to have the company pay a $1 billion fine, replace its senior leadership and allow U.S. inspections in exchange for relief from the penalties. But senators must first reconcile their military bill with one passed by the House, and the White House has vowed to use that weekslong negotiation to try to kill the ZTE provision before it can become law.


Small Businesses’ Trade Concerns May Chill Reception of Trump

President Donald Trump will speak at the 75th anniversary lunch of the National Federation of Independent Business on Tuesday. The White House said that his remarks would focus on the benefits of the Republican tax overhaul and the administration’s deregulation agenda. While small-business optimism has been on the rise as a result of some of Trump’s economic policies, the president’s reception could be less boisterous than he might expect. Many business groups are concerned that Trump’s trade policies could blunt the effects of the tax cuts, raising costs on companies and consumers alike.


Fox’s Board Will Weigh Comcast’s $65 Billion Offer

Rupert Murdoch and the board of 21st Century Fox plan to consider Comcast’s $65 billion offer for the bulk of its businesses at a meeting that had been scheduled for Wednesday. If they determine that the bid is reasonably likely to result in a better proposal than the Walt Disney Co.'s $52.4 billion offer, then Murdoch and Comcast can start negotiating. Disney, however, will have the opportunity to counter if Fox ultimately determines it prefers Comcast’s bid.


Bank of England Is Expected to Hold Interest Rates Steady

The Bank of England’s monetary policy committee will announce its latest decision about interest rates Thursday. It is expected to hold the bank rate steady at 0.5 percent. Economic data that was published last week gave a mixed picture on the British economy. Retail sales, bolstered by sunny weather and royal wedding celebrations in May, rose 1.3 percent from the month before. But industrial production slipped 0.8 percent in April from the month before. The committee’s vote will give some indication of how its members view the numbers, according to Peter Dixon, a senior economist at Commerzbank. “Obviously, the weakness of industrial production argues for a change of view, but the strength of retail sales may well confirm them in their belief that the soft patch in the early months of the year was a temporary effect driven by the weather,” Dixon wrote.


Fed Will Release Results of Stress Tests of Big Banks

The Federal Reserve is scheduled Thursday to release the results of its annual stress tests of major banks, a measure of whether the banks can withstand an economic downturn or an unexpected financial market calamity. Last year’s tests strained one bank but did not produce any failures; this year’s are expected to be harder. Six foreign banks will have their U.S. operations publicly evaluated for the first time: Barclays, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, RBS and UBS. All eyes are on Deutsche Bank, which is in the midst of a major restructuring.


Europe’s Finance Ministers Will Discuss a Greek Bailout

Greece and its creditors will try to agree Thursday on a blueprint to help the beleaguered country stand on its own once it comes off its third, and final, international bailout later this summer. As Greece emerges from a ruinous crisis, its creditors are drawing up plans to ensure the country is never again a problem for Europe.


OPEC Faces Pressure to Increase Output

Pressure is building on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to ease the 18-month production curbs that have helped prices of Brent crude more than double to around $73 a barrel since their lows in early 2016. OPEC and other major oil producers including Russia plan to meet in Vienna on Friday and Saturday, and the group is already in the sights of President Donald Trump, who has called prices artificially high. But how much the producers will lift output remains under debate.