A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the week
Following this week’s closely-watched announcement on interest rates and Jerome Powell’s press conference afterwards which appeared to have spooked the markets, all eyes will be on two critical hearings next week in Congress on the recent failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank and the Federal response. The Senate Banking Committee meets first on Tuesday (March 28), and will hear from Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Martin Guenberg, Fed Vice Chairman for Supervision Michael Barr, and Treasury Undersecretary for Domestic Finance Nellie Liang. All three will then appear on Wednesday (March 29) before the House Financial Services Committee. With questions still swirling over the banks’ collapse amid accusations of supervisory failings, as well as mixed messaging from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen regarding the scope of Federal guarantees of deposits, market jitters appear likely to continue at least over the coming week.
With rumors of a possible indictment coming this week out of the grand jury in New York investigating Donald Trump over alleged hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels proving ultimately unfounded, declared and possible rivals to Trump’s bid to secure the Republican nomination in 2024 will continue their efforts to mount a serious challenge to the former President next week. There’s much interest in former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s decision to hold a town hall on Monday (March 27) at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, a classic venue for would-be candidates to test the waters. Meanwhile Nikki Haley, who has actually declared her candidacy, will kick off a two-day visit to New Hampshire on Monday, with town hall meetings planned in Dover and then in Salem on Tuesday (March 28). Former Vice President Mike Pence is also on the move next week; he’ll be in Iowa on Wednesday (March 29) addressing the Johnson County Republicans’ Reagan Dinner before heading to DC to address the National Review Institute Ideas Summit on Friday (March 31), when entrepreneur and longshot candidate Vivek Ramaswamy also speaks. Returning to Trump, it is difficult to overstate what an historic development an indictment against the former president would be. With the grand jury possibly reconvening as soon as Monday, for better or worse, Trump may well end up once again eclipsing the Republican field.
Following his trip to Russia for talks with Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping hosts Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Beijing for a summit on Tuesday (March 28) once again overshadowed by the conflict in Ukraine, although in public both leaders will likely be at pains to deny this. Lula is bringing with him a record-sized business delegation, in a clear sign that trade ties will be a major focus for the trip as far as he is concerned. Lula, who visited Washington in February not long after taking office, is generally viewed as a more natural ally of Western leaders than his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro. But his stance on the Ukraine conflict is at odds with most in the West, and he has resisted pressure to take sides in the conflict. This may prove to be an increasingly difficult position to maintain, especially after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin on war crimes charges. In August, Lula will be expected at the annual summit of leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, and China and South Africa (BRICS) being hosted by South Africa, a signatory to the Rome Statute who may have to choose between arresting Putin or ignoring the court. Even more awkwardly, in 2024, Lula will face the same dilemma when he hosts the G20 summit.
Preparations for the first state visit for the UK’s King Charles since his accession to the throne were thrown into disarray earlier today with the announcement that the first leg to France had been canceled amid escalating protests over President Macron’s pension reforms. Outrage over plans to raise the pension age in France had already seen several days of protests amid strikes by sanitation workers, leading to piles of trash on streets across the capital, but the sight of Bordeaux town hall on fire and increasingly violent action led to the last-minute postponement of the trip, which was to have included events at the Arc de Triomphe and a State Banquet at Versailles, to a more convenient time. Plans for the King and Queen Consort Camilla to travel to Germany later next week are, however, still due to proceed, with highlights of the trip including a banquet hosted by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at Schloss Bellevue on Wednesday (March 29) and an address to the Bundestag by the King on Thursday (March 30) before a visit to Hamburg the following day.