Macron eyes landslide

French President Emmanuel Macron will begin the week with much to do if, as widely predicted, he secures a big majority in the second round of legislative elections.

Victory will clear the way for the pro-business Mr Macron to go ahead with the reforms he outlined in the presidential campaign, including a bill intended to add flexibity to the jobs market, pension reforms and an increase of police powers.

Mr Macron defeated far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the runoff of the presidential election and the legislative elections have accelerated the sweeping changes to France’s once-rigid political landscape.

If predictions prove correct, Mr Macron’s République En Marche party will form the second-largest parliamentary majority in the history of the Fifth Republic. The assembly will also feature many new faces, as half of Mr Macron’s candidates have never held political office before.

Background briefing

Macron marches France towards uncharted optimism


Brexit talks begin

Formal talks begin in Brussels on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, with UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who lost her House of Commons majority in the general election this month, facing a daunting challenge.

David Davis, UK Brexit secretary, is set to meet Michel Barnier, chief EU negotiator, to open negotiations, but it is unclear how long the initial phase will last.

Mrs May had advocated a “hard” Brexit that would take the UK away from the EU’s single market, its customs union and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, but this was thrown into confusion after the election.

Brussels wants progress towards a deal on the UK’s financial settlement, the rights of citizens and the avoidance of a hard border in Ireland before discussing terms of a new trading relationship between Britain and the EU.

Background briefing

Brexit number crunch: the final bill the EU could accept

Paris showcase

This year’s Paris Air Show takes place amid a downbeat mood for aviation. Orders are expected to be scarce as airlines tighten belts and manufacturers focus on existing commitments.

There will be interest in what Boeing’s new chief executive for commercial aircraft says about potential aircraft launches, and new jets, including Boeing’s 737 Max 9 and Mitsubishi’s long-delayed regional aircraft, the MRJ, will be keenly inspected.

Trade exhibitors pack up on Thursday and the public is invited in from Friday to Sunday.

Background briefing

Boeing intensifies small jet battle with Airbus

Panama leader visits US

US President Donald Trump will meet Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela at the White House.

The presidents will discuss the fight against transnational organised crime, illegal migration and drugs as well as the US-Panama economic partnership and the situation in Venezuela.

Background briefing

Diplomatic victory for China as Panama ditches Taiwan

America’s Cup match

Sailing teams from Emirates Team New Zealand took on Oracle Team USA in a rematch of the America’s Cup final off Bermuda at the weekend, with two further races scheduled today in the first-to-seven battle, which will resume on June 25 after a one-week break.

The match will be bitterly contested given the drama four years ago when the American boat came back from 8-1 down to win 9-8. New Zealand have since refused to join the other teams in talks about the future direction of the cup.

Background briefing

Challengers aim to foil Oracle Team USA in America’s Cup


FedEx results

Logistics and delivery group FedEx, considered a bellwether of US economic conditions, reports fourth-quarter results, with investors looking for improved performance.

The group reported mixed figures for its third-quarter in March, missing analysts’ estimates on earnings even as revenue came in roughly in line with expectations. FedEx said at the time that it expected adjusted full-year earnings of between $11.85 to $12.35 a share. Its shares have outpaced the wider US market in the intervening three months.

FedEx is considering getting involved in the White House’s push for public-private infrastructure partnerships and privatising airports, CNBC reported last week.

Background briefing

FedEx Freight calls for US self-driving truck regulations


© Bloomberg

Whitbread update

Whitbread, the owner of Costa Coffee and Premier Inn chains, will be scrutinised for signs of further falls in consumer confidence in its trading update.

The FTSE 100 group in April reported slowing sales growth at its hotel and coffee shop businesses. The UK broker Cenkos last week downgraded Whitbread’s stock from “buy” to “hold.” on concerns the push to install “Costa Express” vending machines would cannibalise sales at its high street stores.

Cenkos says this update, expected to cover the 13 weeks since March 2, will show 1 per cent sales growth at Costa. This would be far slower that the 2.9 per cent growth in like-for-like sales its coffee shops enjoyed over the course of its 2016 financial year. Analysts at Morgan Stanley are more optimistic. The bank’s analysts expect like-for-like sales growth of 1.5 per cent at its coffee division this year.

Background briefing

Whitbread leads travel and tourism stocks lower

Parliamentary outlook

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May sets out her legislative programme in a delayed Queen’s Speech, even though her Conservative party is still locked in complex talks with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party on a post-election deal.

The DUP is finalising extra funding from the Treasury, which would be a key element of any deal. However, it is not calling for Britain to remain in the European single market or customs union after Brexit, one person familiar with the talks said.

The government is expected to trim its plans for legislation, in light of its weakened position. A vote on the plans takes place in the week starting June 26.

Background briefing

Theresa May takes risk by setting date for Queen’s Speech

Health trust ballot

A ballot asking staff at Barts Health NHS Trust in London whether they want to take industrial over pay and working conditions closes, with the Unite union reporting overwhelming support for a wage rise of 30p an hour.

The trust employs 15,000 staff and serves an area of 2.5m people. The Unite members taking part in the vote are employed by outsourcing company Serco as domestic staff, porters and security workers at Barts.

Background briefing

Serco wins £600m contract to manage Barts hospitals

City workers pass the Bank of England © Reuters

BoE pay protest

A ballot among staff at the Bank of England on whether to hold a strike in protest at below-inflation pay rises closes today.

Unite members voted by more than 70 per cent in February to ballot for action. Workers at the central bank, which employs about 3,600 people, were awarded a 1 per cent pay rise for this year.

The union, which represents workers in security, catering, legal, HR and other services, said the pay offer was “derisory” and the second year in a row that employees have faced an offer lower than inflation.

Background briefing

Bank of England faces strike over ‘derisory’ pay rises


EU summit

EU leaders meet three days after Brexit talks begin in Brussels. Michel Barnier, the chief EU negotiator, is likely to provide them with an update. The heads of the 27 states are also expected to unite behind plans to deepen defence co-operation, an idea long resisted by London. They will also reassert their support for the Paris climate deal.

Divisions remain over trade. French President Emmanuel Macron has thrown his weight behind the notion of a “protective Europe” that would restrict foreign takeovers of key industries. This finds support from Germany and Italy but pro-trade countries such as the Netherlands have objections.

Background briefing

Macedonia considers using provisional name to join Nato


Eurozone PMIs

The latest readings of business confidence among the eurozone’s purchasing managers are set to show more evidence economic recovery. In recent months, the eurozone PMI has reached its highest level since before the region’s sovereign debt crisis.

Germany’s federal statistics office will also publish the latest figures on producer prices on Tuesday. Despite the strength of the region’s recovery, price pressures remain weak.

Background briefing

Ayala seeks German tech deals to lift Philippines automotive sector


Papua New Guinea votes

Papua New Guinea starts voting in national and local government elections, which run to July 8. Former leaders, including Sir Michael Somare and Sir Mekere Morauta, have united to form an opposition coalition in the hope of displacing the ruling People’s National Congress, led by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who has labelled the group “recycled, old and tired”.

Background briefing

Papua New Guinea struggles to eradicate yaws disease

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