19/12/2016 BBC Business Live


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This is Business Live from BBC News with Ben Thompson and Sally Bundock.


Panic buying and looting in Venezuela as the currency


Live from London, that's our top story on Monday, 19th December.


Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has been forced to delay


the withdrawal of the country's most widely used banknote


Also in the programme, can the EU strike a trade deal


with Japan amid fears of growing protectionism?


The market for looking like this. The Santa rally isn't happening.


More details later. And as Christmas fast approaches


we'll be getting the inside track Our very own Santa's little helper


is somewhere in London. Guess where I am. I am at the


world's oldest toy shop, Hamleys in London. Christmas is days away and


Father Christmas is pretty busy. Are you excited for Father Christmas?


Yes. We will be taking a look at this near $90 billion global


industry. And the question today, what was your favourite Christmas


toy? You know what to do, use the hashtag, hello, elves! Hello!


I wonder if Hamleys know what they have let themselves in for. More


later. And keep your comments coming in on what your favourite toy was.


Troops are patrolling cities where looting and protests have


erupted over the government's plan to withdraw the country's


largest denomination bank note from circulation.


A partial curfew is in place in the southern city


of Ciudad Bolivar, which has been most affected by the disturbances.


President Nicolas Maduro says more than 300


He has now postponed the withdrawal of the 100 bolivar


note until January and, seeking to calm nerves,


has said a first batch of replacement notes had arrived


So how did the country get to this state?


Venezuela's economy has been struggling for a long time now.


By the end of this year it will be producing more than 20% less good


One of the driving factors is the reliance on oil.


The black stuff accounts for 96% of exports but even before


the price collapse of the last two years the economy was shrinking.


That along with the way the government has managed


the economy with price and currency controls mean the International


Monetary Fund is predicting inflation of nearly 500%


And that's why the 100 Bolivar note which was supposed to have been


withdrawn on Friday is worth less than 2 US cents.


It was the most common banknote accounting for almost 48%


Diego Zuluaga from the UK based think-tank the Institute


-- as Ben outlined there, this is just the tip of the iceberg in


Venezuela, isn't it? But was it actually a good idea to get bigger


denominated notes on stream, but it has just been purely executed --


poorly executed? You have inflation, so you need to change the


denomination. The 100 Bolivar was becoming useless. It is 50% of the


money in circulation in Venezuela. And most people rely on cash to make


bank accounts. It isn't poorly bank accounts. It isn't poorly


executed, it is just the wrong way to approach the problem. If


something isn't done zero 's will just keep being added to the


currency. Interesting to hear the government's reason for doing this.


They were trying to stop money-laundering and gang activity.


Many were bemused by that. It is an issue of scapegoating. It is about


finding the external enemy. Colombia has been blamed many times for


holding the currency abroad. But if people are hoarding currency, taking


even more out of it does not seem to be a remedy. How is the economy


fairy, how are people getting along, because there was a lot of


discontent about the current government? Talk us through what is


going on and what might happen in the New Year. The economy of


Venezuela has been in chaos. Increasing chaos for the better part


of the past two years. The decline in the oil price, its main export,


has compounded problems. Venezuelan need something like $150 per barrel


to meet the market price. There is escalating unrest. Supplies are


short. There are no medical supplies. The productivity of the


economy has stalled. That is a result of the mismanagement which


has been taking place for the past two years. When do you think we


might see some political change? The main issue is economic change. The


government to change direction completely. Removing price controls.


And stop harassing private activity, which is at the heart of this...


Will we see that before political change? It is difficult to tell. The


government is set in its ways. It has established a network of favour


granting to particular groups in society. It's difficult to reverse.


The heart of the problem is economic and it is a direct consequence.


Unless that changes, problems will only escalate, and things will only


get worse on a political plane, as well. Thank you. Interesting


scenario and a difficult one, as scenario and a difficult one, as


well, we shall keep across it at the BBC.


Talks aimed at averting a strike by cabin crew at British Airways


Members of the Unite union are due to walk out on Christmas Day


and Boxing Day in a row over pay and conditions.


The industrial action, if it goes ahead, could


Apple plans to appeal against the European Commission's


ruling that it pays up to E13 billion to


EU regulators ruled Apple's controversial tax deal was illegal,


Ireland is also contesting the decision, claiming EU


regulators were interfering with national sovereignty.


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has taken nearly $291 million around


North America accounted for about half of the total


for the Star Wars spin-off - making $155 million.


That gave the film the second-best December opening weekend on record


Will you go and see it? No, I have heard mixed reviews, I


might just wait... I am pretty sure I will be going,


because I have three young boys. Yeah, you don't have a choice.


Finance leaders from Japan and the EU want to reach


an agreement on a free-trade pact this week.


It comes at an uncertain time for international trade,


as US President-elect Donald Trump speaks of protectionism


and the UK's decision to split from the European Union Mariko Oi


Bring us up to date. It's a fascinating issue because of all of


those things we've heard elsewhere. Trump, Brexit, really weighing on


all of this. That's right. Just as we thought free trade deals are


totally out of fashion, Asian countries have been pursuing their


own deals. If you remember recently it ratified their partnership, which


includes 12 countries, including the United States. -- especially Japan.


Trump said he would kill the deal on his first day in office. Canada and


the EU have been trying to reach an agreement. There has been talk on


the Tokyo side, whether there will be political pressure, just like the


EU Canada deal faced, but it seems that they are getting close to an


agreement. And that is a big thing over here in Asia. Thanks very much.


We will check with Singapore as we approach Christmas. I would like to


stay in Asia... Nintendo tumbled 7%


with investors underwhelmed Its new game Super Mario Run


received tepid reviews, a far cry from the global phenomenon


that was Pokemon Go Shares also hit by profit taking


and a stronger yen on concerns about China-US tensions


after Beijing seized a US Navy drone in international waters


in the South China Sea. In Europe, as we head


into the Christmas week, you'd think it might be quiet,


but amid industrial relations disputes and the threat of strikes


it's going to be anything but quiet. Joining us is Jeremy Cook,


Chief Economist at World First. Nice to see you. Then there's


touching on what is going on in a brand-new trading week. BP doing


well. Its shares our up half a percent, doing deals with Abu Dhabi.


It is no coincidence after those deals that we will see more


investment in the oil market and oil sector by big players, for example


BP. They've taken a 10% share in the Abu Dhabi all company. -- oil. This


will add access to the Emirates oilfields. It is a pretty shrewd


manoeuvre. And Abu Dhabi get 80% stake in BP. Around 2.2. They are


still wheeling and dealing even though we are heading towards the


Christmas week which tends to be quiet. It does tend to be quiet. But


the long-term scenarios for oil suggests prices will pick up. BB


stand to benefit from that. Oil is a low marginal cost per barrel at the


moment. No Santa rally yet. A couple of days still to go. -- BP stand to


benefit. The US have had an amazing run. You


sound disappointed. Everybody is still talking about Dow Jones. The


FTSE did well on Friday. Yes, and it is a continue of the stimulus from


the Trump administration. There has been activity over bonds. That will


continue into the New Year until the 20th of January when the presidency


of Donald Trump actually starts. And we find out if everything he said on


the campaign trail was true. How quickly does that translate? Will


the markets do something as soon as he is inaugurated? He said he would


do something with China on his first day in office. We will find out


whether he is actually going to start playing hardball with China.


We were talking about the EU Japan trade. The protectionism, the rising


protectionism of the presidency, in a post Brexit environment. These


trade deals which people are not really talking about at the moment


between some of the largest economies out there will keep things


going. What was your favourite Christmas toy? Are used to like


getting a new mountain bike -- I used. We always able to go out for a


bike ride before coming back for some turkey. Good stuff. Thanks very


much. Happy Christmas. You, too. Still to come, Aaron's making


himself useful for once I am bringing this back, Pride In


The Face for you. -- Pie. We are having a look at Hamleys. We're


going to talk about the Christmas trade and find out about their


expansion plans in, where else, China!


Thousands of Post Office workers are beginning strike action today.


The walkout by the Communication Workers Union is the latest move


in a dispute over pension changes, job security and closures.


Industrial action this week will also affect airports


and Southern Rail services as Keith Doyle reports.


This last week before Christmas is already busy and stressful.


But strikes and industrial action could make it a Christmas


On the trains, Southern Rail passengers face more disruption


as 400 conductors strike today and tomorrow.


It's not expected to cause the same level of disruption as last


week's strikes by drivers, however many routes


3,500 workers at Crown Post Offices are starting a five-day strike today


in a despute over jobs and pensions that may see the closure of larger


high street branches, although the Post Office says


disruption to the public should be minimal.


Airline travellers face double trouble this week as baggage


handlers working for Swissport are set to strike on


This will mainly affect regional airports.


But a strike by 4,500 British Airways cabin crew over pay


could also see flights disrupted on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.


There are efforts being made to resolve these disputes.


BA management and the union Unite will meet today and a meeting


tomorrow to resolve the baggage handlers' dispute is due to be held


but the Post Office strike is on and there seems little


prospect of an early end to the long-running dispute


between the RMT union and Southern Rail, meaning 300,000


If you are affected by the disruption, keep across the Business


Live page. This is the latest on Southern Rail for example.


Discussing what's going on there. There is more about what is


happening with postmen as well. Who is affected and where? Keep across


our Business Live page as we keep you up-to-date with the waves of


strikes that are happening across the country.


Full details on the website, of course:


Our top story, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has been forced


to delay the withdrawal of the country's most


widely used banknote following a period of public unrest.


Rampant inflation means that the Venezuelan 100 bolivar note


It is a really tricky situation there.


Let's get the Inside Track on a busy period for the toy industry.


With Christmas less than a week a way, it's a critical time


for the likes of Mattel, Lego and Hasbro.


Hundreds of others hoping their toy will be top of the present


wish-list. Aaron Heslehurst is at London's


world famous toy story Hamleys. What have you found there? Are they


for Sally? Ah. Yeah, they're for Sally or they could be for you Ben


if you want them. I'm like a kid in a candy shop. I have only been here


for 40 minutes and I don't know where to begin. This is the world's


oldest toy shop, it is called Hamleys. It was started by William


Hamley in 1760. He opened a toy shop in hold burn. You guys said it, it


is an important period of time. For all these toy makers, a third of


their annual sales are attributed to this Christmas period. It is


important they get it right and it seems like things are going well


because continued growth around the globe for the toy makers, it


continues to grow around the 7% mark. We have got a few of the hot


picks. This is the Hatchimals. This is the only one they have. I'm going


to try and nick it! No, not really. Lego, big Barbie dolls since they


introduced the different ethnicities to reflect our modern life. I'm


joined by the CEO of Hamleys. The doors are not open yet. Let's talk


Christmas trade. You opened the 100th store? We did. How is


Christmas trade going? Pretty positive. Down to three factors.


Firstly, we have seen an increase to our store in Regent Street. In the


last six months we have doubled the size of our UK portfolio and we are


bringing Hamleys to 12 locations throughout the UK. As you referred


to, last Thursday, we opened our 100th store in the largest shopping


mall in South Africa and our international portfolio continues to


trade strongly. I was looking briefly, I was looking at the


numbers here, you get five million people a year through the doors here


at your flagship store? More than that. Well, I was looking at the


tourist numbers, port Rica gets 3.5 million, you get more visitors that


countries get tourists. Indeed. I have got to talk to you about


Brexit. It continues to be a hot topic. The pound has dropped. It is


more expensive for you to buy your goods in? We saw foot fall growth.


Wur shoppers are getting a better return against sterling. However,


our job is simple. Every customer that visits our store, it is an


experience, the magical theatre and ambiance that Hamleys has to bring.


We are talking about this Hatchimal. I think it costs about 60 bucks. On


eBay, what was it on eBay $800 on eBay! I want to talk about the


internet and Amazon. I know it is about the experience. But the likes


of online shopping, that's got to give you a hit here and there? Well,


to some extent it does, but we don't directly compete with the internet


because the internet can't compete with our service proposition.


Hamleys is about building experiences, energy, excitement,


theatre, demonstrations and interaction with customers and


really bringing products to life. The internet cannot compete with


that. And can't compete with that, indeed, I was here a couple of years


looking at the big Christmas spend and the hot toys and since then


you're owned by the Chinese now. China is your market. One of our


markets. We operate in 26 different countries and China is a very


important market for us. You say one of them, but don't, Hamleys has


plans to open, you tell me. Well, since we have been acquired by the


Chinese, we opened our first Hamleys store in China. We have two centres


toe open in China and we have identified an additional 50 Chinese


stores which will open in the next two to three years. Wow. We


appreciate your time. Good luck with the rest of the Christmas period. It


will be manic today? It is. It is the second busiest trading day of


the year. That's what you have sent me down to, the second busiest


trading day of the year! Some of the hot toys. I mentioned Lego. Lego


continues to be a phenomena, it is one of the biggest, most profitable


toy companies in the world. A stark cry from a decade ago when Lego


nearly went bust! Barbie has been reinvigorated. She was a doll that


was dying, let's be frank until they introduced 23 different ethnicities


and the different sizes, double digit sales for the Barbie dolls and


the big Nerf gun, I'ming to bring that back! I'm going to take you on!


Bring two back. We could have such a good fight with that! That would be


the best stress relief ever. We could sell tickets!


I don't know how it works. Next time I talk to you I will have sussed


that out, OK? I'm sure you could figure it out! See you later.


He is having a great time there. Whenever I go there with my


children, you cannot move. You get dragged in every direction. And


you're trying to watch them so they don't get lost. Heather says a real


typewriter when she was 13. Mum refused to buy a toy one. Very


useful. That's why you work in tax. Neil Death Star, heavy duty


cardboard, it is still in the loft. Morgan says my favourite toy is


Lego. Getting more this year! Good stuff. Thank you for your messages.


My son gave me his third revision of his list for Santa last night and he


expects it to get there in time. You better get it sent. Put it on


e-mail. You can send them by e-mail to the North Pole. I will tweet it.


If Donald Trump can do it, so can I. The BBC's Dominic


O'Connell is with us. Your favourite toy? Lego. A command


shuttle. I was a seven-year-old. It is not what I want, it is what they


want. Were you into Lego when you were a little boy? Lego was out of


fashion when I was growing up. It was boring things like bicycles and


stuff like that, but these days, it is all digital, but you still can't


to Santa Claus. Financial Times talking digital and Apple, Dublin


claims Brussels exceeded powers over Apple tax. We were waiting for


there, weren't we? It dates back to August when Europe said that Apple


hadn't paid 13 billion euros in taxes and it should pay up. Ireland


said this morning it has given the reasons for the legal reasons for


its appeal. It says basically that to Brussels it said that Irish tax


rulings are none of your business and it says that no Irish tax law


was ignored when they toct decisions and also that sovereignty is


national, ie, it is Dublin that make the decisions, not Brussels.


We expect an appeal from Apple later today. Apple will say the same


things with a twist. It will say that tax should be paid in America,


not in Ireland. It is holding $2 billion off-shore. It says it will


take the money back on shore. It hasn't done so, but it will pay it


and pay it in America and not in Europe.


Let's turn our attention to food. If you are not looking forward to the


turkey and the trimmings, how about take-away, Deliveroo are doing very


well. Now we're going to have dark kitchens. Deliveroo are going to


build kitchens which restaurants can use. Good stuff. Thank you too for


your tweets today. It is very interesting to hear what people got


at Christmas, isn't it? See you tomorrow. Same place, bye-bye.


We're starting this week off on a quiet settled note thanks to high


pressure, but midweek


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