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This is Business Live from BBC News with Victoria Fritz and
Will a deal be done to keep Britain in the European Union?
After the first day of a summit in Brussels ended without agreement,
to be done. Council says much work remains
Live from London, that's our top story Friday 19th February.
Would Britain's exports really suffer if it left the EU?
We continue the business debate over Brexit.
Also in the programme, the car-hire app Uber is losing
a billion dollars a year in China, so says the CEO.
And as always, we'll bring you all the latest
from the financial markets with a mixed.
And we'll be getting the inside track on the fluctuations
in the oil market, we're also going to be talking
about Norway having to dip into its savings pot.
Joining the ranks of Saudi Arabia and Russia all because they ain't
making as much money from oil nowadays.
And as HSBC unveils its new voice and fingerprint technology,
What do you think about the potential demise
Would you miss it or be overjoyed at its demise?
We start once again with the big debate over Brexit,
is Britain's future inside or outside the European Union?
As negotiations continue in Brussels we are focusing
Among the many thorny issues, it's perhaps the one that affects
businesses the most and it's been the subject
Pro-EU campaigners say leaving the EU would be catastrophic,
But the pro-Brexit lobby says that is mere scaremongering.
Let's show you some of the numbers involved.
At the moment, as a bloc, the EU represents Britain's biggest
trading partner, accounting for around half
EU membership gives Britain easy access to the markets of the 27
But also to 68 other nations via free trade deals they hold
In all, that trade is worth a total of 670 billion dollars to the UK,
according to research compiled for the pro-EU lobby.
Now, pro-Brexit campaigners argue that of course,
Britain will continue to do business with all of those countries
and will negotiate new and even better trade terms with them.
To avoid losing out though it would have to agree at least 35
separate trade agreements in a short space of time.
Uwe Combuchen is the Director-General of
the Brussels-based manufacturers' association CEEMET.
We're also joined by John Elliott, founder and chairman of the white
If Britain leaves the EU, is that it? Is that a catastrophe for
British business? Thank you very much for inviting us. CEEMET Is in
the technology based industry. Yes, to reply, it would be a catastrophe,
lose, lose not only for EU manufacturers that manufacturers in
the UK. There is a lot of talk and a lot of emotions floated at the
moment. A lot of myth created. It would be an unfortunate situation if
we took this decision, if we took this decision to make it fit for the
future it would take this decision on the basis of such assumptions.
That is why we commissioned a study, academic research, work which shows
that the effect of the Brexit would be lose -lose situation for
manufacturers in all countries. Negative effect on trade, foreign
direct investment and extremely on productivity particularly for small
and medium-size businesses. I have your point, Uwe. There is a lot of
uncertainty. Nobody really knows. You are a business that contributes
to this X hundred and $70 billion that probably comes into the UK,
John. When we lose that kind of money? -- this $270 billion. I agree
totally. If you give two politicians and economists exactly the same
stats, they will prove something different. Look at it conceptually?
Is it a good idea? It does not make us better off, it is a failed
experiment. It adds cost, bureaucracy and more politicians. It
hasn't worked so far. It will never work. The best thing to do is
negotiate our way out of it. Uwe, Victoria here, in the UK, small
businesses account for about 80% of all economic growth, they are tired
and frustrated and disappointed and immobilised at a system that doesn't
work for them, they say. Isn't it reform within the EU rather than
Britain's relationship with it that is needed? I totally agree. The UK
should be needing this reform in the European Union. We have seen that
competitiveness should be at the top of the argument and here we see also
some positive sites and concrete signs from the European Commission,
for example, that they nominated a first vice president in regulation
response about this issue. In May, last year, he presented an important
and promising better regulation package and a refit agenda. A
stakeholder platform where stakeholders have the opportunity to
contribute to showing where legislation is adding red that has
to be cut. Also, how to improve forthcoming legislation. Is there a
need? Should we simplify existing legislation. S M Es are affected by
this and we invite you to contribute to this discussion and do it from
within the European Union rather than outside the European Union. In
the introduction, you mentioned the effects, positive points of
membership of the European Union from a business perspective, which
is a single market, vast single market. Also, leveraging trade
negotiations currently underway with regard to China. There are massive
positive signs from inside. Finally... Uwe sorry, we will have
to jump in there, we are running out of time. John, if Britain is out,
you will have to make all of these agreements, I know you don't like
the numbers but some suggest you need to make agreement with 35
other... Fine what other organisation needs to make an
agreement with 27 other countries? Should we sell French wine or Scotch
whiskey? How can one organisation to side for 27 different economies, we
will do better ourselves. Most country in the world are outside the
EEA and have done better -- most countries. We would be better off
looking at the world globally -- outside the EU. We did talk about
this, as you both know, for a lot longer. The clock is ticking. Uwe
And John, thank you very much for joining us on business life.
Today is the deadline for US drone owners to register
with the Federal Aviation Administration.
In 2015, more than four million drones were sold around the world,
forcing regulators to take measures to protect safety and privacy.
That's just Aaron. That number of drones going on around the worlds.
Italian luxury brand Gucci reported a 5% increase in sales for the last
Results for the company came in above analysts' expectations,
despite fears that a slowdown in China would hurt
A quick look at the tablets, Uwe could talk, couldn't he? I thought I
did a good job! Uwe Can really talk. Talking about a man talking, Mario
Monti says leave the EU and become a big island. Former Italian Prime
Minister. Some of the comments coming out from our colleagues in
radio this morning, the debate radio this morning, the debate
really is whether or not we should protect producers or consumers.
Seems to be a debate opening up. This will go on and on. We just
mentioned Gucci sales, somewhat vague good news story for the luxury
market, so much concern among those luxury providers or producers, that
they would take big hits with the Chinese slowdown. Less spending.
There you go. Let's find out what is happening with Uber. Making big
losses Uber. , very careless of them. $1 billion per year. Hello,
Tim, he is in Singapore. I was expecting a female. How is Uber
losing money when Uber really doesn't own any thing? It is
interesting, we are so used to hear how much money investors have tipped
into Uber and how it is the world's most valuable start up. In some
markets it is the Redditch it issues or tax opposition but in China it is
competition that is posing the challenge. Guba operates in 40
Chinese cities -- Uber operates. It is losing $1 billion per year
because of a really fierce local rival. Uber Says it is unprofitable
and it is trying to elbow out competition. They say it is bigger
and it has a better network in China. It is now past the break even
point in more than half of the 400 cities it operates in, in China.
There will be fierce competition for some time to come in that market.
The end of a three-day win streak for Wall Street and a slide in oil
prices sent Asian markets into retreat, but not by enough
Japanese shares were the hardest hit as the yen strengthened
Over in Europe, this is how markets have opened this morning.
Not great. The FTSE 100 Anita down a fraction. Let's head over to the US.
Let's head over to the US and hear from Michelle Fleury
about what will making the headlines in the business world
One sign that has been elusive so far and would show the economy is
returning to health is inflation. The US Labor Department releases its
latest consumer price index for January on Friday. The big drop in
energy prices, the data could show a slight decline in overall prices.
The call number which strips out volatile food and energy prices
should show moderate increases. Good news with the consumer Price index
eking out a modest 0.1% gain, the Fed may want to see further progress
but Ford continues to raise rates. Also out this Friday, first-quarter
earnings from agriculture and construction equipment making.
Joining us is Justin Urquhart-Stewart, Co-Founder
Director of Seven Investment Management.
Let's start on something you have been working on, little birdie tells
us. Negative interest rates. I knew there were a handful of central
banks but a bit more than that at the moment. About 25 countries would
seem to have, in terms of value, the economy is negative interest rate in
some form or another in some of their bronze. Negative interest
rate, at its most illogical, but ?1000 into a bank and you get less
coming back out. For the uninitiated watching around the world, the
central banks are saying don't give us your money, we will charge you if
you do this can be reflected in certain kinds of government bonds.
Why would you buy a negative government bond? You don't think it
will get worse, at least you will get something back, you think. The
other issue, central banks trying to say, here we are, trying to get the
economy moving again, we will make the rates even cheaper. The theory
is that it will work but that is not always the case. If it is as cheap
as this, I won't spend anything at all. People aren't buying government
bonds, the only people who benefit from this are good mattress
producers. Before you go, we are seeing a lot of volatility in the
pound. Also falls in the FTSE 100 and big banks like Goldman Sachs
backing the campaign to stay in the EU, how much concern is that in the
financial markets of the threat of Brexit? There is concern that
separate out. Will it affect the main stock markets? No, the FTSE 100
is a global market as much as anything else.
Sterling is likely to be hurt by that or adjusted by that. Maybe
considerably. Then with that you then have Government debt, as well.
If sterling weakens, therefore, you find imports getting more expensive.
Some exports probably better value. There we go. Justin, you will come
back to take us through the newspapers. See you shortly. Still
to come, our economics correspondent is going to take us through the
latest turmoil in the oil markets. You are with Business Live from BBC
News. Millions of UK bank customers
will soon be able to access their accounts using voice
recognition and fingerprint technology in a major rollout
of biometric banking. HSBC says the development means
people will no longer have to remember a password
when they log on online, First Direct customers will be
offered the service within the next few weeks, while those who bank
with HSBC will be able to use it It means customers -
if they choose to use it - will no longer have
to use passwords. All our voices are unique and there
are about 100 characteristics, half are physical, the other half are
behavioural characteristics. So by measuring all those characteristics
the system can determine your voice is really yours. Great, let's do it.
So how would it fare in somewhere like this, a busy office maybe or
how about the BBC newsroom? Let's find out. Hello, this is Ben
Thompson. Hopefully this is going to verify my voice for the test of the
voice recognition system and will let me into my bank account. That
worked. How about somewhere with this with background noise that
could distort my voice. This is Ben... The really noisy one worked,
as well. What if someone is trying to get access to my bank account who
isn't me? Look who I have run into. Simon, let's see if you can get into
my bank account. My name is Ben than son. I would like to transfer all
funds in my account to the account of Simon McCoy. Not sure it's going
very well. It seems to work. Let's move on to other stories. ASDA has
seen its biggest drop in sales ever as the UK supermarket price war
rages on. ASDA says sales have dropped by 5. 8% in the final
quarter of last year after it was hit by rivals' heavy promotions on
beer and wine and fresh produce. The rise of the likes of Lidl and Aldi
continues to be a major problem for traditional high street names.
Looking at some numbers, it's staggering what's going on at the
moment. Some of the comments. I guess, lots of the analysts saying
the strategy for ASDA isn't working at the moment. They're saying that
the option not to go into things like the black Friday sales, for
example, have really come back to bite them. Compared to the year
before. When people went crazy for a telly. Unbelievable.
Our top story: In or out. Discussions in Brussels continue,
kind of going to the wire. We are looking at the question would
British trade suffer if it did come to a Brexit? In the meantime, let's
get the inside track on the oil markets. It's been a busy week for
the oil markets. In recent months we have seen the plunging price of
crude taking a heavy toll on governments and oil companies around
the world. This week there's been developments which suggest that the
slide in wholesale prices might be coming to an end.
Russia and Saudi Arabia have formed plans to freeze their supply to
global markets while an industry report has shown a surprise drop in
US inventories. Let's go straight to Andrew now and
can explain it better than some of that.
Andrew, good to see you, our economics correspondent.
At the beginning we had the meeting. Before the meeting oil price went up
because... Then it went down. Everybody was not going to come on
board. When the markets saw the conclusion of the meeting they took
the view it might not come to anything very much. The conclusion
was we freeze at January levels, don't cut. Freeze, provided others
do like Wise. Others being mainly Iran and Iraq? Those are the really
big ones, especially an issue with Iran. Iraq has already ramped
production up substantially, producing something in excess of
four million barrels a day. Historically Iran has tended to see
itself as a kind of - on a par with Iraq at least. They're producing a
good deal less. Something like more than a quarter below what Iraq is
producing. Of course, as Iran emerges from sanctions it's been an
absolute given that they would want to take advantage and start
producing more oil, selling more oil. The Iranian finance Minister
has been saying things that are vaguely supportive of the initiative
taken by the Saudis, the Russians and Venezuelans, but no commitment
Iran would take part. It's safe to assume Iran is going to take
advantage. OK. An agreement without all is in this case not an agreement
at all? It is striking in this episode of falling oil prices, which
really began back in June 2014, this is the first real tentative stirring
we have seen by producers at trying to take some co-ordinated action. We
have had meetings where you might have expected them to do something,
they have not. Norway, we have seen they have not. Norway, we have seen
Russia, and Saudi Arabia with oil price dipping into - Norway might be
dipping. It's worth about $800 billion. The Central Bank governor,
they're the ones who manage the fund, has been saying he reckon the
value might have peaked now. And he expects the Government to dip into
the tune of something like nine, ten billion dollars this year. They do
say they don't think at this stage they're going to have to sell assets
to generate this cash flow because asset sales by other Sovereign well
funds has been one of the things contributing to the volatility in
stock markets. They reckon in Norway they'll probably be able to do it by
finding cash out of dividends and so forth. Still it's a striking
development. We knew they would dip into it at some stage but it's been
sooner than we expected. Andrew, thank you very much. Now starting
with a few things, here is how to contact us.
We will keep you up to date with all the latest details with insight and
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We want to hear from you too. Get involved on the BBC business
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Business Live on TV and online, whenever you need to know.
We have Justin back and we will have a quick look at some stories making
the business headlines. I want to talk to you again about what's going
on with HSBC and this voice recognition. We saw this story about
Ben showing us that it tuz work. I am sceptical about this. Because
most voice recognition technology, you end up with people being angry
shouting at devices. You will have to test it on Jon Culshaw, an
impersonator and see if he can test it. It's whether it is fingerprints,
whether it's the voice. We have bad enough trouble with the supermarket,
at least I do. Unexpected item in the bagging area. I have an argument
with an inanimate object and expect it to speak to me. I get worked up
with it. I am sure it will work most of the time, except when you really
want it to work and you are under pressure. You are probably trying to
do something else at the same time and it's not working. At that stage
what do you want to do? Speak to somebody. It will be like one of
those, when voice recognition, find me Victoria's address and find me
Bob's address? No! It makes you wonder what he does in his spare
time! Let's move on, shall we. A story in the FT, this is the art
market. Apparently the big auction houses are facing a shortage of
masterpieces and it's a real problem for them. I have offered them all I
possibly can, I have none left! The walls are empty. It wasn't too long
ago when we had both Sothebies and Christies were being convicted for
illegally fixing the prices and so I am always suspicious. They make
money on the way in and the way out. Now you have a competition called
online. People can find commissions are cheaper and it's easy to use and
you don't go through the show. So also there is a change going on. In
China they don't want all these smart western goods, they want
Chinese goods and so the demand for these really is beginning to come
off and people realise I am not spending that fee for that sort of
service. As an investment, it has waned a little. It was big in the
financial crisis. People like a solid asset to deal with. It's not
very liquid. Therefore No time for the third money. Doesn't
Have a great weekend. Always a pleasure. That's it from us today.
More business news throughout the day and the web page and World News.
See you soon. Have a lovely weekend. Hello. We start the morning on a
cold, frosty start and bright with sunshine but gradually clouds
increasing across western areas and will bring wet and windy weather
across the UK. We could see gales across coastal areas