The Week Ahead
Posted September 9, 2018 7:40 p.m. EDT
U.S. and European Officials Seek Trade Pact
Senior trade officials from the United States and the European Union will meet on Monday in Brussels in an effort to avert an all-out trade war. Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, and Cecilia Malmström, the European commissioner for trade, are trying to reach an agreement on a plan to cut tariffs on industrial goods to zero and prevent President Donald Trump from carrying out a threat to impose 25 percent levies on car imports. An accord is unlikely Monday, but businesses will be looking for signs that the two sides are making progress.
— JACK EWING
An Investor Lawsuit Against Volkswagen Opens
A German court will begin hearing evidence Monday in a lawsuit filed by aggrieved shareholders of the carmaker Volkswagen. The shareholders, who are seeking billions of euros in damages, contend that Volkswagen violated its legal responsibility to them when it deployed illegal software to cheat on emissions tests, then covered it up. The trial may be the first time high-ranking Volkswagen managers testify in open court about the origins of the scandal.
— JACK EWING
Apple to Reveal Latest Devices and Updates
Apple is set to announce another round of iPhones on Wednesday, in its annual bid to get customers to buy devices that are a few centimeters larger with a few more features. Apple is expected to unveil iPhones based on its flagship iPhone X model, with a screen that takes up the entire face of the device, according to news reports and leaked images. Apple is also expected to update the Apple Watch, the iPad and its Mac computers, according to the reports. Sales of iPhones have leveled off — growth was less than 1 percent in the latest quarter — but Apple has made iPhone revenues continue to surge by charging customers more. Its iPhone revenues rose 20 percent last quarter because customers paid nearly 20 percent more, on average, for the devices. The iPhone X costs $1,000 so the question Wednesday will be whether Apple is prepared to charge customers more than $1,000 for some models.
— JACK NICAS
Report Will Give a Snapshot of Household Income
The income of the median American household rose sharply in 2015 after years of stagnation, and continued to rise in 2016. On Wednesday, the Census Bureau will release an initial estimate for 2017, which is likely to show that growth continued for a third straight year. Median household income is a particularly telling measure of the health of the U.S. economy. The rise of the stock market says that life is good at the top; the fall of the unemployment rate says that life is getting better at the bottom. Median household income is a snapshot of the middle, where most Americans live. As of the end of 2016, the median household was still making less than at the end of 2007. That gap may finally have closed last year.
— BINYAMIN APPELBAUM
European Parliament Will Vote on an Internet Copyright Bill
The European Parliament is scheduled to vote Wednesday on an internet copyright bill that would require internet services to use filtering technology to screen out copyrighted music, writings and videos. Publishers, music companies and movie studios are among those pushing for the new law, saying it would limit internet companies’ profiting off unlicensed content and help content creators receive fair compensation. Technology companies and open-internet supporters argue the proposal is overly aggressive, will create unfair legal liabilities for websites large and small, and will ultimately limit the information available online.
— ADAM SATARIANO
Government and Business Officials Will Discuss Climate Change
About 4,500 governors, mayors, business executives and community leaders are set to meet in San Francisco for an international gathering on climate change beginning Wednesday. The Global Climate Action Summit, which includes Gov. Jerry Brown of California and Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York as hosts, is a response to a U.N. request for renewed efforts to curb emissions following the Paris climate agreement.
During the three-day summit, attendees plan to announce new electric vehicle programs, energy storage projects and other initiatives. Some U.S. cities and states have committed to the Paris accord despite President Donald Trump’s announced intention to withdraw from it.
— IVAN PENN
European Central Bank May Offer Update on Trade War
Trade tensions will most likely be a key issue when Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, holds a news conference Thursday after a meeting of the bank’s Governing Council. The bank is not expected to make any major changes in policy, but its economists will issue their latest forecasts, which should give an indication of how much the central bank believes that the trade war with the United States is hurting the eurozone economy.
— JACK EWING
Bank of England Unlikely to Change Rates
The Bank of England raised its benchmark interest rate in August to 0.75 percent, its highest level since February 2009. Policymakers at the central bank will meet Thursday, but are unlikely to raise rates again. They are more likely to do so later this year, but that would depend on how the economy fares and how expectations for inflation change as Britain’s departure from the European Union draws closer. With Brexit looming, questions have been raised about whether Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, will extend his time there. “I am willing to do whatever else I can to ensure a smooth Brexit and an effective transition,” Carney told British lawmakers at a Treasury Select Committee on Tuesday.
— AMIE TSANG
Labor Department Will Reveal the August Inflation Rate
On Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET, the Labor Department will release the latest reading on the Consumer Price Index for August. Inflation has been tame in recent months, despite faster economic growth, and economists expect the price index to rise 0.3 percent. That would bring the year-over-year increase in prices to 2.8 percent.
— NELSON D. SCHWARTZ
Retail Industry Awaits Sales Figures
Retail sales figures, which the Census Bureau is scheduled to release Friday, will be a good barometer of whether the solid economy is continuing to inspire Americans to open up their wallets and shop. This summer retailers have reported some of their best sales growth since the 2008 recession, reflecting a strong job market and a reordering in the retail industry after a wave of bankruptcies and store closures.
— MICHAEL CORKERY