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This is Business Live
from BBC News with Ben Bland
and Samantha Simmonds.
It's a multi-billion dollar bonanza.
Black Friday sales have spread
around the world but how much extra
will we actually spend?
Live from London, that's our top
story on Friday 24th November 2017.
discounts started in America
but retailers are looking to cash
in on the holiday spending
Also in the programme...
China gives us the details
of its plans to cut import tariffs
so will it help the rest
of the world sell more
to the world's biggest market?
We will be keeping an eye on the
markets. A bit of a lacklustre start
on the European indices with London
being outperformed by Frankfurt,
Paris and Madrid.
And we'll be getting
the inside track on Britain's
productivity riddle and what the US
Fed's latest minutes tell us
about where the world's
biggest economy is heading
with our Economics
Correspondent, Andrew Walker.
One factory in Sweden has started
burning unwanted clothes to make
clean energy instead
of using oil and gas.
And as Black Friday sees people
grabbing bargains on new clothes,
what do you do with your old ones?
Let us know.
Just use #BBCBizLive.
Hello and welcome to Business Live.
Don't you say I should have burned
It's the Friday after
Thanksgiving and for millions
of Americans that means one
thing - shopping.
Black Friday has come to signal
the start of the Christmas shopping
season with big discounts
to tempt buyers.
And, as with so much else,
what started in the US,
the world's biggest economy,
has spread rapidly around
the world to become one
the busiest times of the year
for the global retail business.
There have already been queues
at US shopping centres.
Altogether 164 million
people are expected
to shop this weekend -
that's over half the
And that means make-or-break time
for the many US retailers who see
30% to 40% of their annual sales
come between Black
Friday and Christmas.
The spending has already
started here in the UK too,
where spending is expected to reach
the equivalent of $2.4
million per minute.
An increasing share
of that is being done not in stores,
but on phones and tablets.
Online spending today is predicted
to be up 15% on last year,
hitting $1.5 billion.
Joining us now is Maureen Hinton.
She's the Group Research Director at
the retail analysts Global Data PLC.
I don't know if you're going to be
doing any shopping, I think I will
be! Is it getting bigger and bigger?
$2.4 million every minute in the UK
we are expected to spend.
definitely getting bigger having
started about five years ago and it
has really taken off, one of the big
events now but it has pulled forward
the January sales into November so
it is challenging for some of the
Are there true bargains
to be had? It is not just one day,
it is over a week and one report
said that around 60% of items could
be found cheaper at other times of
the year. How do we know if we are
getting a deal?
I think some
consumers are getting a bit cynical
now. But the retailers are producing
true bargains, somebody like Dixons
the lexical retailer -- electrical
retailer, they are bringing in
products with low prices so there
are bargains to be had.
I have heard
it said by prominent business people
that Black Rider is bad for
customers and bad for businesses. --
It is bad for clothing
retailers. In the UK what would have
happened but for if we would have
had January sales after Christmas
and as consumers we would have been
willing to pay full price for
clothing and beauty and gifts and
toys but now all of those are being
slashed and they are not making a
profit they could do from before.
And the big thing seems to be
tablets and smartphones, I am using
these for work and not shopping! But
a lot of people are and that is
contributing to do it.
because it is so easy to compare
prices quickly, you can go into
store and asked if that is the best
price, maybe see if you could get it
somewhere else and then there is the
convenience of ordering online. It
is convenient for the consumer.
you see it continuing? It has been
going five years in this country,
but business insider were reporting
that they don't think it is going to
last much longer.
I think it is
going to take a while before it
peters out in the UK. It is quite
well-established now. Some retailers
would like it to peter out but it is
going to spread across the
Will you be doing some
The Billy Knott, I'm too
busy, but maybe this evening!
probably not. I have had my eye on
address for weeks and I'm hoping is
discounted! But this is another
point, I went into the shop and ask
them if it would be discounted! They
sit it was unlikely because it was a
top seller and that is the point,
they shift the stuff they cannot get
rid of! Your tastes are clearly too
You might have to wait until
It might have gone by then!
Maureen Tom thank you very much. Our
director said she did her shopping
on a smartphone on the way in that
she has not said what she bought
them in must have been our Christmas
present! Let's have a look at some
other stories now.
Uber has been given the green
light for its tie-up
with Russia's Yandex.
Reuters is reporting
that the ride-hailing merger has
been approved by the country's
if certain conditions are met.
Uber has spent more than $200
million on the venture with Yandex
which is Russia's biggest internet
Angela Merkel's hope of another term
in charge of Europe's biggest
economy have received a boost.
Germany's Social Democrats have said
they will now hold talks over
breaking the political deadlock
Mrs Merkel's former coalition
partners had said they wouldn't take
part in any new government.
A key part of YouTube's system
for reporting people who leave
sexualised comments on videos
of children has not been functioning
correctly for more than a year
according to volunteer moderators
with inside knowledge of the site.
A BBC investigation found a flaw
in a tool that enables
the public to report abuse.
YouTube has denied any technical
failure, and says content
that endangers children
is abhorrent and unacceptable.
The scandal around Mitsubishi
Materials demonstrates "a betrayal
of trust in Japanese manufacturing"
according to the country's
Economy and Trade Minister.
On Thursday the company became
the latest to apologise for faking
quality control data.
Shares in the company,
which is part of the same
group as the car firm,
closed more than 8% down in Tokyo.
China's government has unveiled some
of the details about its plan to cut
import tariffs for a range
of consumer products.
The changes could help companies
who want to sell to the world's
biggest consumer market.
Our correspondent Robin
Brant is in Shanghai.
Good news if you are
trying to export whiskey to China,
also some skiing products and
pharmaceutical products and maybe
some hats because they are among the
187 products that will see the duty
imposed by the Chinese government
reduced. On average it will come
down from around 17.5% to 7%. It is
more on some items, vermouth is
coming down, and whiskey has been
halved. The explanation given is
that these are products mainly in
demand among the wealthy middle
class that you cannot really get in
China because they are not made
domestic league and the government
wants to increase the supply of
these high-quality products --
domestically. Is it significant? I
don't think so frankly. It is a move
on the tariffs. We will have to see
if retailers pass it on. But if you
are Ford and you want to bring in
expensive cars to this country can
you still pay 25%, if you bring in
food that will still have 14%. And
these are not the big structural
changes that were talked about by
President Xi talked about. Come and
Baxter is coming here wanting to
make and sell cars, they still had
to do a joint-venture -- car
Robin in Shanghai,
Asian markets mostly rose
but investors moved warily on Friday
after a sharp sell-off in Shanghai
the previous day fuelled concerns
of fresh turmoil in China's
Chinese shares dropped
to three-month lows on concerns
about fresh government steps to curb
financial risks and rise
in Chinese bond yields.
US markets closed for Thanksgiving
and the euro extended gains against
the dollar after data showed the
Eurozone economy continued to
improve while job creation came in
at its fastest pace in 17 years.
This is how the European indices
look at the start of the day lacking
direction really having opened
slightly higher but now turning into
the negative. This is a look ahead
of what is coming up on Wall Street.
It's the Friday after
the Thanksgiving holiday
here in the US, and markets are open
for trading, but volumes
are generally light on this day
as many people have taken the day
off to recover from too much turkey.
The big business story for the day
will obviously be Black Friday.
It marks the beginning
of the holiday season of shopping,
and many stores will be offering
deals to get customers
through their doors.
There is also some economic news
to pay attention to.
The latest purchasing
managers' index, or PMI
numbers, will be out today.
Now, this is important
because it reflects the health
of the manufacturing sector.
And it's based on five
New orders, inventory levels,
production, supplier deliveries
and the employment environment.
Joining us is Sue Noffke,
UK Equities Fund Manager
Looking at the Chinese markets, they
are cooling off, what is your take?
We did see the biggest one-day fall
for 17 months on Thursday. It is
important to put it into the context
of how strong the Chinese stock
market has been in the last six
months. From early May it is up
nearly 30%. There were some profits
to be taken. And what did markets
take fright at? That was the
government indication that they
might be trying to tighten that
liquidity which is Willie Watt has
fuelled the economy and the stock
market. -- really what has fuelled.
Turning briefly to the UK budget, a
big statement from the finance
minister this week. It was rather
gloomy but the market did not seem
to take much fright and nor were
they particularly excited.
Definitely in the round this was
what was anticipated. I think some
of the forecasts were a bit stale.
Market forecasts had been running
ahead of the OBR and the Institute
for Fiscal Studies. The downgrades
we have seen to growth to the 1.5%
level were not a surprise, no
material impact on sterling or
interest rate or the stock market.
And what about oil prices? They have
They have been quite
robust. The six up week in seven,
and at levels not seen since the
middle of 2015 so pretty good. It
depends which price you want to use,
Brent is in the 60 or WTI is in the
high 50s. That is a much better
number for oil producers, whether
that is individual companies
particularly in the US and elsewhere
but also oil-producing countries
very much need those revenues.
they have suffered quite a lot, some
having to completely rethink their
reliance on oil and they might be
taking a bit of heart as a result of
That's right and there is also
support from Opec with another
meeting coming up on Thursday and it
is a question of whether they can
agree to prolong their cuts into
early next year.
Great to have you
with us, thank you for coming in and
we will see you later.
We'll get the Inside Track
on the signals the latest US Fed
minutes give us on the world's
biggest economy with our
Friday Editor, Andrew Walker.
You're with Business
Live from BBC News.
One of Britain's biggest brewers
has warned of economic
uncertainty in a "tough
and highly competitive" market.
Fullers owns hundreds of pubs,
largely in the south of England,
and brews the famous London Pride.
It's reported a 10% rise
in profits before tax
of £23.6 million in the six months
to the end of September.
But it's warning "economic
and political uncertainty"
could cause further challenges
on top of the rising costs
it's already facing.
Joining us from the London Stock
Exchange is Simon Emeny, the chief
executive of Fuller Smith & Turner.
So how worried are you about the
future of brewing as a business?
think none of us are approaching
2018 from an economic perspective
with stunning confidence, but we
feel that as a business we are in
exceptionally good shape. We have
continued to invest in our pubs,
people and processes. So whilst I
don't think that we will get any
favours from the UK economy, I think
there is a considerable amount that
we can do to continue to improve our
What's your reaction to
the alcohol price freeze in the
budget this week?
I think it has
been really reassuring that the
Chancellor is really listening to
the issues that the hospitality
industry faces. This has been a year
when the industry has faced with
unprecedented costs, and to give
reprieve to some businesses on
business rates was a good sign. He
needs to go further on business
rates, the system is outdated and
urgently needs reform, but it was an
encouraging budget for the industry.
We went through a stage where it
seemed like every week, almost every
day, we would being told that pubs
are closing, struggling to survive.
We pass that now?
I think it is
stabilising more. The industry, we
are still opening pubs, we have two
brand-new station site opening in
2018, and I think these pubs are
better equipped to cope with the
needs of a modern consumer,
particularly around fresh food,
craft beer and great service. So
whilst you still see some pubs
closing, you see fantastic new pubs
opening, and we will continue to
invest in refurbishing our pubs and
opening new ones.
Simon, thank you
very much, Simon Emeny there.
Lots of cat videos on Argos if you
are sick of Black Friday! Who
doesn't want to see those.
You are watching Business Live. Our
top story: Black Friday sales have
begun in the United States and
around the world. A quick look at
how the markets are faring at the
start of the trading day in Europe.
Seemingly lacking direction a bit,
they have opened slightly higher but
now moving into the red, fairly flat
in Paris, and that is what the pound
is doing against the dollar, just
above 1.30 three. -- 1.33.
Now it's our chance to look back
on some of the biggest business
stories of the week.
Here in the UK the budget gave us
another insight on the public
finances and in the US the clues
were in the Federal
Reserve's latest minutes.
Andrew Walker is our Economics
He's here to talk
about the main points
from the UK budget.
The Chancellor bases his predictions
on the office but it was the Luthi,
and they have downgraded their
forecast of economic growth, they
are expecting around 1.5% per year
over the next four or five years.
That compares with figures in excess
of 2.5% in the years before, in the
quarter of a century before the
financial crisis. What is behind
that downgrade is the OBR finally
giving up on the expectation that
there is going to be a really
decisive rebound in productivity
growth, which is essentially the
amount each worker produces, either
over the course of a year or just
one hour. And because it is not
expecting this long delayed recovery
in productivity to come through, it
does mean that it is going to have
adverse financial implications for
the Government, they are going -- we
are going to be paying less in tax
than we would otherwise have been if
there was this improvement in
And to clarify this
point. When they said productivity,
are they essentially saying that UK
workers are not working hard enough?
It is not
bad. It has economists are
scratching their heads about what is
going on. One factor is perhaps the
business investment has rebranded
quite weakly after the financial
crisis, nowhere near as strongly as
it recovered after previous
recessions. Very low interest rates
may be another factor. It enables
some low productivity businesses to
survive that might not have survived
had they had higher borrowing costs.
And there is also the possibility
actually that perhaps things are
little better than the data suggest,
because we are not measuring the
impact of technological change on
what we produce quite as well as we
should. Certainly there is some
evidence that that explains a bit of
it, but only a bit.
Let's move on to
the US Fed minutes. They seemed a
bit confused, and also divided. What
did we learn?
They certainly are
divided about just how worried they
should be about the inflationary
invitations of the very strong
American jobs market. The rate of
new job creation, they think, is not
sustainable in the long-term without
an increase in inflation. But at the
same time, there are some members of
the policy-making committee who
think that, who are getting worried
about the persistent level of
inflation being too low, and so that
is giving them some significant
divisions about just how quickly
they should be raising interest
rates. We are still expecting a rate
rise next month, but beyond that, it
is quite clear that they are again,
as we have been here in the UK about
other things, scratching their heads
about what the real state of the
American jobs market is.
can see some pretty jubilant scenes
in Zimbabwe, we can see some
pictures of that right now. A big
day as Emmerson Mnangagwa is sworn
in as Robert Mugabe exited the
stage. Some pretty heart-warming
views from the IMF for them?
no. The IMF is quite clear that the
Zimbabwe economy has, and I quote,
huge potential. But they do think
there is an awful lot of work to be
done to put right what they see as
the damage that has been done to the
economy under Robert Mugabe. They
think there is a lot of work that
needs to be done in sorting out the
public finances. Too much spending
on inefficient agricultural support,
civil service salaries. Crowding out
private sector investment,
politically difficult to deal with
those kind of problems.
thank you very much.
Andrew Walker is our
It seems that now there is a nap for
pretty much everything, and in Kenya
it is a matter of life and death. A
new app is making it a lot easier to
summon the emergency services.
You just take for granted that 911
exists. The average person in
Nairobi had no idea what number to
call. And when you ask them they
would say, that is a good point.
What will I do?
We have different ambulance
companies. We work together to make
There was once times that we have
seen has gone down from 162 minutes,
which was the average, which is
nearly three hours, which is insane,
down to 15-20 minutes.
Let's see what other
stories are being talked
about on social media.
The Bank of England have announced
that they pay a quarter more to men
than to women. Sue Noffke is with us
The Bank of England has been
the latest company to have to be
more transparent about its pay
rates. And we can see what the gaps
are. They are taking measures to
close that. They have made progress
in recent years. And they have set a
target as to where they want to be
to close further that gap in a
couple of years' time.
And a power
plant in Sweden burning unwonted
unused clothes instead of call and
oil. A genius idea?
It is a great
idea, and we are seeing fossil fuel
type power stations moving to
alternative fuel sources, so we are
seeing in Sweden but that can be
clothing that is mouldy or unfit for
use. It can be sustainable biofuels,
so it can be compressed pieces of
wood and shavings of wood. We can
see copy grounds, used coffee
grounds, powering London buses.
is a question we have been asking
this morning, what do you do with
your clothes when you are done with
them? We have had for quite a few
responses. One viewer says that she
makes patchwork stars. Jack says he
bends them, and Maisie says give
them to charities, homeless or free
cycle, depending on what it is and
the condition. Only suitable for
rags? Given to the local garage to
use as class.
And Ben just doesn't throw anything
And Ben just doesn't throw anything
away! Sue, thank you very much.
There will be more business news
throughout the day on the BBC Live