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This is Business Live from BBC News with Ben Thompson and Sally Bundock.
President Maduro orders a state of emergency as the United States
warns the country may be sliding towards revolt.
Live from London, that's our top story on Monday 16th May.
Amid food and power shortages, runaway inflation, protests
and political uncertainty, we'll assess what next
Norway's sovereign wealth fund says it will sue Volkswagen after the car
And here's how Europe has opened - in a big week for economic data.
And we'll get the inside track on new research into dementia.
More than a decade after the last new drug to treat the disease,
we meet the woman pioneering a potential new breakthrough
that could help millions of people around the world.
And as new photos show China's top tech workers sleeping at the office,
we want to know if you would ditch your daily commute and save on
travel time to bed down at work. You know what to do. Use the hashtag.
Hello and a very warm welcome to the programme.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has threatened to seize factories
that have stopped producing goods in protest of the government.
The country is in the grip of a severe economic crisis.
In a speech to supporters in the capital Caracas,
he said Venezuela had to recover its means
of production, to safeguard the country's economic future.
It has the world's largest oil reserves
but its economy has been severely hit by the fall in
The International Monetary Fund estimates that this year Venezuela's
inflation will rocket to 720 percent, that is more
And no surprise then that the economy will
There are now severe shortages of food, medicines and basic goods.
Our South America correspondent Daniel Gallas has more.
Average Venezuelans have grown used to getting by without some staple
food items and also some essential things like toilet paper. But now
they are having to ration water and electricity as well. The government
of President murderer it says the producers are the ones to blame.
According to him they are trying to sabotage the economy by halting
production and trying to drive production up. That is why Maduro is
trying to seize the countries and get them back to producing but the
people say it is the government that is to blame, with its price freeze.
One company, Poehler, has halted its production of beer. The government
says they are trying to sabotage the country but they say they cannot
import necessary ingredients. Venezuela is supposed to be one of
the richest countries in the world because of its oil reserves, but due
to the global fall of oil prices, this country is on the verge of
catastrophe. Jimena Blanco from Verisk
Maplecroft joins us now. Give us more perspective on what is
happening now. Nice to see you. It does sound extremely critical, very
much on edge. Explain the situation with regards to these companies that
are not able to produce goods and yet President Maduro is saying he is
going to take over and put the bosses in prison. It sounds very
dramatic. I think we are reaching a climax on a crisis that has been
developing for many years. We have reached a point where it is not just
the economic crisis, the high rate of inflation, as we have seen, a
lack of access to foreign currencies so companies can import their
primary goods to produce locally. This of course is combined with a
political gridlock that is preventing the government and the
legislature from working in a constructive fashion. And we have
mentioned the fact that the price of oil has crashed, well, not crushed,
but has been very low. It is recovering a bit. And terrible
drought conditions. Yes, in terms of the price of oil, given the spending
plans of the Venezuelan government, it is well of what it should be, and
for Maduro to maintain the spending levels of the Hugo Chavez there, it
should be $100 a barrel and it will not be there any time soon. The
drought is affecting power generation, which we have seen
translating into a shut down of the government for three days. What that
means is that basic services are not being delivered which in turn is
fuelling social unrest. At the elections at the end of last year,
Maduro's party lost its majority in the legislative body. So it is the
opposition that has the majority there, and yet he is still
controlling power. Well, Maduro and his party control the other branches
of government and there has been a very clear strategy from the
opposition in Congress to block every reform. The opposition have
tried to pass things that have gone against Maduro's government, but we
have seen the blocking of a law that attempted to release political
prisoners, for example, many of them opposition members. As the situation
continues, the opposition is going to find that its efforts to remove
Maduro from government democratically are going to be
blocked. We are in a situation where we can see an escalation of
protesting and civil unrest. Thank you for coming in and giving us
perspective as ever. It is a story we are keeping across right here on
BBC World News. Now the other business news stories.
Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the largest in the world,
plans legal action against Volkswagen over the rigging
Norges Bank Investment Management is one of VW's biggest investors
Volkswagen has already set aside $18 billion to pay for the
Nigerian unions have called for an indefinite general strike
to begin on Wednesday unless the government reverses
Prices have risen by 67% in the country, after the slump
in crude prices caused a shortage of foreign currency.
For months motorists have been waiting in long queues for petrol
while others have been forced to buy fuel on the black market.
Legendary investor Warren Buffett is reported to be backing
a consortium bidding for Yahoo's core internet assets.
The head of Berkshire Hathaway is among a group that
includes Dan Gilbert, the billionaire founder
Any bid would be a challenge to Verizon which is seen
as a frontrunner in the race to buy Yahoo's assets.
Today on the BBC we have special coverage, wherever you are watching
us, including in the UK. It is the BBC World On The Move Day. We are
looking at the issues of migration and how the world has changed and
what the future holds. This is on the Business Live. Page. Sarah
radio and television, is radio and television, is
broadcasting from Vietnam today. Lots of special reports from her on
the BBC News website as well and also special guests including
Angelina Jolie. The story you see there, disappointing sales from H,
rising by 5% but below the 9% that was forecast. Like many, the fashion
retailer is blaming the cold spring. They always blame the weather
because it is getting the right stuff in the right stores at the
right time and the weather doesn't help. I am glad I don't have that
job! Chinese investors have overtaken
Canadians to become the largest buyer of US homes according
to a new study. They've spent $110 billion
in the last five years. Talked us through the hotspots
because the Chinese have their eye on prime property. They do indeed.
According to the study it has been done by the real estate company Asia
Society. Of the $110 billion you are talking about, the majority has been
spent by Chinese nationals buying up residential properties in New York
and California. According to this report, buyers have been paying
substantially more on average than other international buyers. Chinese
buyers, large companies investing in commercial property in the US as
well. If you think investment level is high now, it is worth noting that
the records are predicting that it will almost double between now and
2020. By then it will be $220 billion, despite the talk of a
slowing Chinese economy and Beijing's attempts curb capital
outflows. Canadians until now were the biggest foreign buyers of
Chinese real estate and Chinese investors are buying up in Canada as
well. There is a lot of chat on social media among users right now
questioning how a Chinese student can afford to buy a luxurious
mansion with sea views in Vancouver just recently for $24 million,
reportedly. Some people have all the luck! Thank you. Quick look at the
numbers. Tokyo stocks closed higher
after news that Japan's government may postpone a planned sales tax
rise to avoid damaging We should stress that these are just
reports at the moment with no confirmation yet. Just to show you
what Europe is doing in the first hour of trade because it is set to
be a big week for economic data. Inflation figures in the UK come out
tomorrow, and unemployment, wages and retail sales data coming out
later in the week. We will look at what is expected at what is
happening in the US. But first let's go to Wall Street for the details of
what is happening there today. Another busy week in the US.
Highlights that we can expect coming this week. We will get some fresh
insight into the thinking of the US Federal reserve, when they released
the minutes from the April meeting. Also the US cost of living probably
went up a bit more in April as gas prices kept climbing after falling
since last year. Economic data being released this week will likely show
that both home sales and home construction increased. And finally
the US Supreme Court will issue opinions on Monday. One outstanding
case is Puerto Rico's debt crisis and the validity of a law that would
allow the US territory to restructure some of its debt issued
by public agencies in a bankruptcy type process. We have Tom Stevenson
with us, investment director at Fidelity International. So we have
just been through the things we need to keep an eye on. You are looking
at the inflation figures coming out of the United States tomorrow. Yes,
we have inflation figures on both sides of the Atlantic coming out
tomorrow but the US figures are so important because of the Federal
reserve meeting coming up in June. There is speculation about whether
that will be the second rate rise after the one that happened last
December. It seems so long ago. It has been a long wait for the second
one, absolutely. The other issue when we talk about rate rises is the
idea that they will go up consistently but very slowly, and
that has been the message from the Bank of England, which is yet to
make a move. There is so much riding on what the US Fed has said and what
they haven't said what the words indicate. Give us the longer term
outlook. Interest rates will rise slowly in the US and we only have to
look at the economic data to see why we have had the implement data
recently, which showed just 160,000 new jobs created in America and we
had expected 200,000. The economic data is sluggish, but on the other
hand, inflation is actually reasonably high. If you strip out
food and energy, inflation in the US is running at 2%. If it goes up any
more in tomorrow's figures, then I think the odds on a rate rise in
June will be increasing. And let's get your take on the news that
Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the biggest in the world, is looking to
sue Volkswagen over the emissions cheating scandal. They invest in
faults lichen. Interesting because traditionally the sovereign wealth
fund is very quiet in Norway and you don't know it is there. They are
traditionally quiet, $800 billion or so, but they have lost an awful lot
of money in false lichen. They have lost several hundred million as a
result and they are quite angry about it. In the recent report, they
singled out fault jargon -- VW for specific treatment. And I am sure
other people with money in VW will be taking note. Thank you. Still to
come on the programme: Defeating dementia. It is more than a decade
since the last dementia drug was licensed but one firm says they may
have made a significant breakthrough. We will meet their
boss. This is Business Live. From BBC News.
Before we dig deep into the brain with how it functions and
malfunctions, let's have a look at the UK economy.
The UK economy is predicted to grow at a slower rate this year and next,
that's the view of the business group the Confederation
of British Industry in their latest economic forecast out this morning.
The chairman of the CBI is in our newsroom. Good morning. Just tell us
the reasons behind your gloomy forecast. Good morning. We are
looking at a forecast of about 2% growth this year and next, down from
2.3% this year. Two key drivers for that. One, household spending is
down a little bit in recent times. And secondly, there is a rising
level of uncertainty, both at a global level, particularly around
trade from China and emerging economies, but also particularly
importantly in relation to Brexit and a lower level of investment
intentions as people are getting more cautious and dealing with the
uncertainty of that outcome. And of course the issue is that there is a
suggestion that the slow down would happen anyway, regardless of the
uncertainty related to the EU referendum. The economy is slowing
and we need to take action now, regardless of the outcome of what
happens on the 23rd of June. The one thing that we know in the
business world uncertainty reduces investment and reduces our risk
appetite and we do see an exit from Europe would reduce the level of
investment in the UK quite significantly in the short to
medium-term as people look to the best places in the world to make
their investments. Just briefly, Paul, obviously Brexit
we've discussed, but what other things would you like to see done to
help boost the UK economy? Well, I think the business community in the
UK are very focussed on growing their businesses internationally.
What we would like to see is an increase in exports, right across
the globe to Europe where we are already have 45% of our exports,
there is good opportunities, the USA is a great market, right across the
world, increase in exports would help the world enormously. Paul,
good to talk to you. A gloomy forecast for the UK economy
over the coming weeks and months, but one worth watching.
Our top story, Venezuela's President has threatened to seize factories
that have stopped producing goods in protest of the government.
The country is suffering from a deep economic crisis.
On Friday the country's leader declared
Now let's get the Inside Track on the growing global
As well as the emotional toll it takes on families,
it's also a growing financial burden on society and authorities
The estimated worldwide cost of dementia is $818 billion,
and it will become a trillion dollar disease by 2018.
In a developed county such as US, it costs
on average, close to $60,000 to look after a dementia sufferer
One company trying to bring down the cost of the disease
is Neuro Bio, they're in the process of developing a fast diagnosis
Their Chief Executive, Baroness Susan Greenfield,
Nice to see you. Nice to see you both. This is not a cure, this is
just a way of maybe being able to spot it earlier, take action earlier
and therefore, hopefully prevent some of the worst symptoms of it
further down the line? Yeah, the term breakthrough is used a lot and
I think one has to be very careful about what that actually means. On
the other hand, I think we are taking a new approach which in the
longer term could lead to an effective treatment. The dream would
be, not just to look at a so-called biomarker, that's to say a blood
test where early on you could see the problem was underway. We know
that Alzheimer's years takes 10 to 20 years underway before you get the
symptom. If you had that window to find out that something was already
happening perhaps you could intervene before the symptoms and
slow things down. The second strand we're pursuing is to stop anymore
cells dying. The medication slows things down a bit in the early
stages, that's not good enough. We need to say to someone, OK, you are
confuse and you have memory loss now and with we are going to give you a
medication and it won't get any worse. If you had a blood test that
everyone could have over a certain age, the doctor says good news and
bad news. The bad news is according to my chart in five years time, in
your case, you will probably get the symptom, but we have a medication
that stops anymore cells dying. So take it now, and then the symptoms
will never come on. That's what we are aiming to do. That would be a
breakthrough, but it is something that is not an instant one off, we
are looking at the biomarker and potential med carings and it will
take time in order to realise that dream. It takes time... It takes
time. It takes a lot of money. A lot of money. And a lot of investment.
Your history, you have been an academic all your life, you were at
Oxford University and a few years ago, neuro biothere and became a
limited company and you are with a privaty run company. It is a huge
change for you? One could devote a programme to talking about how
science is funding and the different agendas and the different
expectations and the pr and cons, but over the last three years, I
have learnt a huge amount about the private sector and what it has
allowed us to do is be really innovative. You have to take perhaps
more chances than you would if you were getting research cash.
The more you have, the more you can do in parallel and if you could do
things in parallel, you can pursue various avenues. We have had angel
investment which is in the hundreds of thousands, we can't go to big
pharmaceuticals yet because they are risk averse, they want to investment
large amounts of money for clinical trials. I think it has been called
the value of death by some pessimists. That's where we are bes
and that's where you want single millions.
Baroness Greenfield it is fascinating to talk to you. You have
to come back another day... I'm there. I'm there.
Thank you. Cable and Wireless -
one of the oldest names in telecommunications,
with roots going back to 1852 is being bought
by an American media giant today. Liberty Global have snapped up
what amounts to the remaining part of C, a business with a strong
presence across Latin America It is an acquisition vital
to Liberty Global's media ambitions. Earlier I spoke to Liberty Global's
Chief Development officer and started by asking
why they are acquiring Multiple reasons, it is a high
growth business which is well positioned to meet pent up demand
for its services across the region. Secondly, it adds tremendous scale
to our existing businesses in the region. We have two businesses in
Puerto Rico and Chile. Scale is important because in today's
environment, it is necessary for us to be able to do that, in order to
innovate and invest for customers. Obviously you are getting biggerment
you're sprawling across the globe in a more prevalent way. Many people
watching, customers might think, is that better for me or worse for me?
In terms of the competition, is there strong competition in the
markets you're going in? For our customers, hopefully it is exciting
news. We have tended to accelerate innovation and investment. Virgin
Media is a good example. We announced an investment programme to
expand our network. So hopefully more of the same and we can
accelerate things. The fact there is strong competition is important for
the customer, but in terms of your hopes of getting through into a
market where there is a lot of regulation and a lot of competition
issues, that makes it easier, presumably? No, if you step back and
look at it one of the primary reasons for us doing this, the
region actually has a lot of pent up demand for our products. When you
look at number of people who take a broadband product or the number of
people who have paid television, it is lower than the equivalent in
Europe, so over time we would hope they converge.
Tom Stephenson Investment Director
These are photos of Chinese tech workers who sleep at the office.
There is not always time to go home and rest. Some amazing pictures.
These guys bunked down in the office! I don't quite think the BBC
would approve of us doing that, but and they look very tall actually.
There you go, Ben, there is hope for you. Oh my goodness! No. That's so
not allowed. We asked our viewers to get in touch with us about this. A
viewer says, "Sleep in the office, oh no, home cures refreshes the
mind." You have got to have a break? I remember 25, 35 years ago when I
lived in Japan, long commutes and people having to work late so they
created capsule hotels! Literally, a coffin in which you sort of put your
body to sleep and came out and went to the office in the morning. I
guess, China is going to have to do something similar. Well, my team
works overnight for that early morning show which you saw a clip
of, they grab a power nap, but they are never in their underies at the
desk. This really is no work-life balance. You are at the office...
For a lot of people in China, that's their life. They move from the
countryside to the cities to get the jobs and they live in a dormitory
provided by the company. So that's their life. Tom, time is ticking by.
What do you want to look at next, the Financial Times, here comes
Jacksonville, what's that about? This is about costs. Financial
services, losing many jobs and the City of London and New York in
particular losing jobs, but interestingly the jobs are not
going, they are just leaving the City because the cost of running
back offices in big cities like London and New York has gone up 10%,
12% in the last 18 months according to this story. Unsurprisingly
companies are looking at moving out to cheaper locations and
Jacksonville seems to be the location of choice in America. The
technology means that you don't have to be in the busy place. Tom, that's
it from us. We will see you again soon. That's it from us. Have a good