tv Business Briefing BBC News February 8, 2019 5:30am-5:46am GMT
this is the business briefing. i'm victoria fritz. the world's biggest oil reserves, but not enough to eat. venezuela faces financial collapse, as the political standoff continues. plus, trade warfears return, as president trump says he won't meet president xi jinping before their truce expires on marchi. and on the markets, shares in asia have had biggest drop in a month as hong kong reopens after a three—day break for lunar new year. mainland chinese stocks, though, have yet to react. they‘ re closed until monday. us shares also hit the skids after those trade war concerns. remember, us taxes on chinese goods are due tojump to 25% on march 1 unless there is a deal, with china certain to retaliate. hello.
we are going to start with the crisis in venezuela, as ministers from more than a dozen european and latin american countries call for free presidential elections and a peaceful solution to the struggle between president nicolas maduro and the opposition leader, juan guaido. the eu—backed international contact group is holding its first meeting in uruguay, and it says it's sending a technical mission to venezuela for talks. but there are complex financial issues to resolve. the icg does not include russia and china. for years, they've lent money to president maduro‘s government in return for cheap oil — making them two of the country's biggest creditors. so they could have a lot to lose from a regime change. estimates for venezuela's total debts vary. moody's put them as high as $143 billion. china alone is thought to have lent something like $62 billion since 2007 — a third
of which is still outstanding. russia's national oil company, rosneft, has pumped $7 billion into venezuela in the past five years, mostly in loans to be repaid with future oil deliveries. rosneft also owns two offshore gas fields in venezuela. at 300 billion barrels, venezuela has the world's largest proven reserves of oil. but the industry is near to collapse after years of under—investment and now faces us sanctions. there is major interest as well on wall street in what happens next. this graph shows the trading in defaulted bonds owed by the venezuelan state oil firm. goldman sachs and blackrock are among the major investors making bets on venezuelan debt. its value has surged on hopes maduro could be removed from power, as more countriesjoin the us in backing the opposition. instead of trying to accommodate nicolas maduro to contact groups or
dialogue, we urge countries to recognise juan guaido as dialogue, we urge countries to recognisejuan guaido as interim president and join us in responding to his call for immediate international humanitarian assistance to meet the needs of the venezuelan people. nicolas maduro has proven he will manipulate any call for negotiations to his advantage, and he has often used so—called dialogues as a way to pay for time. we urge all involved the deal solely with the legitimate juan guaido government. the time for dialogue with nicolas maduro has long passed. dr eduardo gomez is senior lecturer at king's college london. we were just saying this will watching that clip, what a mess, what chance is there of a political solution? well, unfortunately, not much. both sides are not really willing to negotiate at this point. juan guaido has offered amnesty to nicolas maduro, has tried to engage in dialogue. maduro seems to be
opposed to accepting or enduring amnesty. maduro is trying to cast juan guaido as a traitor to the company. maduro is also trying to get the military on his side and juan guaido is having a very difficult time trying to get the military on his side, even offering amnesty, lifting sanctions on military officials in order to supportjuan guaido, so both sides do not sound like they are willing to talk at all. this week, the international contact group were trying to initiate discussions between the two. juan guaido as com pletely between the two. juan guaido as completely oppose that, he does not wa nt completely oppose that, he does not want that, he wants presidential elections, he wants maduro removed, so elections, he wants maduro removed, so there is no real room for discussion at this time. and the awful, disgraceful thing about all this is that while the politicians are bickering amongst themselves about what happens next, people are starving in this country and is used to be latin america's which is country. is there a danger that this
sort of humanitarian crisis and is up sort of humanitarian crisis and is up being just a sort of powerplay between the us and china and russia? absolutely. maduro is politicising this humanitarian issue. he blocked humanitarian aid from coming in this week, on the colombian border. this whole geopolitical issue, trying to secure maduro's position, with china and russia supporting him, and his effo rts and russia supporting him, and his efforts to provide humanitarian aid on his own and be more independent can lead to politicisation of the planetary and support and more people starving because of this resista nce people starving because of this resistance against the us, and seeing any kind of humanitarian assistance from the usa, supporting juan guaido, as threatening maduro's independents, which china and russia have wanted. they do not want any interference in what maduro is doing, they won't maduro to be in com plete doing, they won't maduro to be in complete control of the situation. 0ne complete control of the situation. one thing is that the only way the
situation could be worse is if troops were sent sentience. do you think that is possible, that they could be sent in by a frustrated trump administration? —— were sent in. knowing trump and how we act if he can be, it could lead to a crisis like that, especially since the military still hasn't moved over to thejuan military still hasn't moved over to the juan guaido support military still hasn't moved over to thejuan guaido support and the military could crack down on the protests a nd military could crack down on the protests and trump could see that as a threat, no way for maduro to leave, it could possibly lead to an intervention in the nearfuture. 0k, a situation we are going to be watching. thank you. thank you. shares of twitter closed down almost 10% on thursday, after its revenue forecasts disappointed wall street and it revealed a fall in user numbers. monthly active users — people that log on at least once a month — fell to 321 million in the last three months of 2018, that was down 5 million on the previous quarter. twitter says that's partly because it's deleted millions of abusive accounts,
following criticism it's being used for political manipulation and hate speech. parmy 0lson from forbes says like facebook, twitter is having to address major issues, but it's still a healthy business. 2018 for both those social media companies was a horrible year in terms of reputation, fake news, the baht on twitter, people talk about russian meddling in the american election, it is all happening on twitter and facebook, but what is earning reports at showing is that actually yes, they are focusing on security and they are weeding out some of those bad actors and now they are kind of showing the fundamentals of their business, this isa fundamentals of their business, this is a business that can make money, almost $1 billion injust is a business that can make money, almost $1 billion in just three months. fears are growing that there won't be a deal in time to head off an escalation in the us china trade war. let's go to our asia business hub, where rico hizon is following the story. hire, how are you doing?” hire, how are you doing? i am good, thanks. good. did you enjoy your
week? yes, very, very good. things have soured between the us and china, it looks like. hopes had been quite high that the two presidents would meet in something would be resolved before march one. that's right, victoria, and president trump 110w right, victoria, and president trump now says he is not planning to meet with president xijinping before this ultimate march one deadline, which has been set by the two leaders to achieve a trade agreement and those remarks, victoria, dampened hopes for a quick trade arrangements and have sparked a drop in both us and asian trade markets. according to sources, donald trump's advisers are basically against the two meeting because they are concerned that accepting an invitation this early would raise unfounded expectations for a quick deal and could erode america's leverage in the ongoing negotiations. at the moment, the two sides remain far apart and call structural, intellectual property
issues, and if the talks do not succeed, president trump has threatened to increase, as you mentioned, us tariffs on chinese imports, but of course next week, you have us trade representative robert lighthizer and trade secretary steve mnuchin living for beijing for talks, and everyone is keeping theirfingers beijing for talks, and everyone is keeping their fingers crossed that we will see more progress in this ongoing talks between the chinese and the americans and hopefully we will not see a full—blown trade war on the second of march, victoria. —— leaving. yes, let's hope not. thank you very much. now let's brief you on some other business stories. shares of the toy giant mattel have surged 19% in after hours trading, after it reported its best holiday quarter for five years. it's crediting a makeover of its barbie dolls — new skin tones, body shapes, outfits ranging from hijabs to space suits, as well as cost cutting. a us bankruptcy court has approved the billionaire eddie lampert‘s controversial $5.2 billion takeover
of the troubled us retailer sears. the plan, announced injanuary, could keep more than 400 stores open and preserve up to 115,000 jobs. but some creditors had urged the judge to reject the deal, saying that the former ceo had no viable business plan and that they would recover more money if the firm was liquidated. and the airline flybe in the uk has warned shareholders it will wind up the company if they do not back a sale to a consortium led by virgin atlantic and stobart air at a meeting on march 4th. it acknowledged that the offer of 1 penny per share is very low, but said without a sale, investors are unlikely to get anything at all for their shares. let's have a quick look at what's trending in the business news this morning. business insider has lots more
on thosejeff bezos blackmail claims, particularly his argument that the national enquirer‘s revelations about his personal life were politically motivated. it says the national enquirer is a supporter of president trump, a fierce critic of bezos and of amazon. the washington post, which is owned by mr bezos, has been critical of the president. from the wall streetjournal — pressure grows on the us, china to forge trade deal. top business figures are worried about the consequences of failure in talks before a march deadline. and a little bit more on the asian business use later on. asian shares have been down on those trade concerns. i will see you soon. the rover europe sends to mars next year will bear the name of dna pioneer, rosalind franklin.
at least 30,000 people took part in a competition to name the vehicle. rebecca morelle reports. i am here at a mock—up mars where this prototype rover has been put through its paces. it's designed to roam across the rocky martian terrain. now, this mission is nearly complete. everything is almost ready but one vital element has been missing and that's been the name of the rover, and today it's been unveiled as the rosalind franklin rover. to explain why, i'm joined by the british astronaut tim peake. tim, so why is this rosalind the rover, why the name? rosalind franklin, a great british scientist who did so much to unlock the secrets of human life, to dna and the double helix, and so it's only fitting that the exo—mars rover is named after rosalind because it will be searching for signs of past life on mars. and you got the public involved with this naming process? absolutely. yeah. the competition was opened up to the public, over 36,000 entries, so a huge response and it just shows that there is so much
appetite, so much public appetite for these exploration missions. this really is a big mission for the european space agency. why is it so vital to get out there, to get to mars? it's a really exciting mission. this rover is going to actually drill 2 metres under the surface of mars, now that's where we stand the best chance of understanding organic molecules that could have resided on mars, so it's going to a very special landing site, an ancient landing site, where there was once a liquid ocean, and we know that 3.7 billion years ago, earth and mars were very similar, so life could have evolved on mars as well. thank you very much, tim peake. so this is obviously a robotic mission heading to mars, and the real thing is actually being assembled together at the moment, scientists are working round the clock. and it really will be a fitting honour for the woman who truly was an unsung hero of science, to have this legacy that will now live on mars. this is the briefing from bbc news.
the latest headlines: jeff bezos, owner of amazon and the washington post, says the parent company of the national enquirer tried to blackmail him with "intimate photos". the body recovered from the wreckage of the plane that went down in the sea between france and britain is identified as footballer emiliano sala. after meeting eu chiefs in brussels, theresa may's set to travel to dublin to discuss the northern ireland backstop with the irish prime minister, leo varadkar. now it's time to look at the stories that are making the headlines in the media across the world. we begin with the mail online. it accuses eu council prsident donald tusk of twisting the knife again into britain's bid to leave europe after he allegedly told uk prime minister theresa may that uk labour leaderjeremy corbyn‘s new plan for brexit ‘could be a way out of the current impasse'. the times leads with a warning (ani)
from the bank of england that the economy would grow this year at its slowest rate since the financial crash a decade ago. the bank slashed its growth forecast and cautioned that there was a one—in—four chance of recession by the summer. meanwhile the ft says a secret group at the heart of the uk government is drawing up plans to kickstart the british economy in the event of a no—deal brexit, with options ranging from cutting taxes and slashing tariffs. 0n the front of the guardian, social media giant instagram has announced that it will ban all graphic self—harm images as part of a series of changes made in response to the death of the british teenager molly russell.