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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS

Mexico Ties South Africa in First Match of 2010 World Cup; Impact of Gulf Oil Spill on British Economy

Aired June 11, 2010 - 00:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ADRIAN FINIGHAN, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: The World Cup bursts into life, but Mexico tonight, boasts a winning start.

Beyond environmental, beyond industrialists, tension grows between the U.S. and British business. The BP crisis gets political.

And, cutting back on spending, U.S. retail sales drop.

Hello, I'm Adrian Finighan in for Richard Quest. This is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

Good evening.

Well, it was all looking so good for South Africa. The opening match of the 2010 World Cup and the host nation scored the tournament's first goal in a packed soccer city stadium, for a 1/nil lead over Mexico. Siphiwe Tshabalala was the man of the moment, but that lead was short- lived; 24 minutes later Mexico's Rafael Marquez equalized and that is how it stayed. For a 1 all draw.

Well, that first match has set the tone for South Africa's World Cup. A tone with a distinct buzz, the vuvuzelas that accompanied the whole 90 minutes of the game in Johannesburg will now be taken up by supporters of France and Uruguay. Those teams kick off for the day's second group game in Cape Town in less than 30 minutes from now.

That is were we find David McKenzie.

David, almost-almost a fairytale start for the host nation, then, in that first game.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INT'L. CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Adrian. I was in the fan park behind me. The party is still going on here at Cape Town. And when Tshabalala hit that left-footed rocket, really, into the back top left of the net, that was just unstoppable, the crowd went nuts. They blew on their vuvuzelas, they banged on their drums, they jumped around, it seemed like it was going to be the finest of finest days, but as you said quite soon after that the striker from Mexico, pulling one back. So, I think most people here think that one-one is not a bad start to the tournament. There were people saying privately to me that they feared the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) might loose some of the moment of this big World Cup moment, would come out of World Cup.

You know, Adrian, here people are just excited that this huge sporting event, the biggest sporting event in the world obviously has come their shores. This is Cape Town. This is the historic capital, in the way of South Africa, people here are really just wanting to be part of the celebrations, with the fun of the fun, win or loose, Adrian.

FINIGHAN: Yes, they are up for it, David. We'll come and talk about tonight's match, France v. Uruguay, in just a moment. But first let's show some pictures of the opening game there. And I think it is fairly safe to say that the atmosphere in that stadium was electric. And that noise. That-it sounds like a swarm of bees, constantly throughout the 90 minutes.

MCKENZIE: That's right, Adrian. A little bit earlier a fan came up and blew a vuvuzela in my ear. And I can't imagine how 80,000 of them sound in Soccer City, that cauldron of noise. You could see the Mexican players occasionally looking at each other, saying, I can't hear, or what was that call? Or what's going on? So, it is definitely a fixture of South African football. You can hear them behind me now, Adrian.

And as you say, the next game is France/Uruguay. And France is heavily favored in this match. But you know, they got here under controversial fashion. Thierry Henry using his hand, really, to get them into this game. So, it will be a big match tonight, at the stadium, near me, behind me, in Cape Town. And, really, people here from the state of France have seen a couple of French flags, a smattering of them through the day. But it is going to be a really big game in Cape Town. And as you can hear, Adrian, the party continues and will continue well into the night, regardless of how well the national team did, Adrian.

FINIGHAN: David, many thanks. Enjoy, it sounds like great fun there. If a little loud. We'll all be deaf by the end of the World Cup. Don't forget a little later on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS we will be doing our economic World Cup.

Right. Let's put our serious heads on for just a moment. From ecological catastrophe and corporate disaster to trans-Atlantic tit for tat, that oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is no longer just an issue for BP or even for America, it is not becoming international as leaders on both sides of the Atlantic are forced to weigh in. BP's Chairman Carl Henric Svanberg has been summoned to the White House to meet President Obama. Invited by Admiral Thad Allen, the incident commander. Allen asked BP to send any appropriate officials, but there was no mention of the CEO Tony Hayward. Hayward, himself, due to testify to Congress the following day.

Svanberg, today, has been in contact with the U.K.'s Prime Minister David Cameron, and Chancellor George Osborne. He said it is in everyone's interest that BP remains a strong and stable company.

Now, Prime Minister Cameron will speak to President Obama on Saturday. They'll discuss the spill and U.K./U.S. relations. There is criticism from some here in the U.K. about Brit bashing, which the U.S. has denied. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, today, tried to strike a conciliatory note.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK CLEGG, U.K. DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: I'm not going to start, uh, intervening in a debate, which clearly risks defending into megaphone diplomacy. I think everybody is united, both sides of the Atlantic, obviously, quite rightly understandably within the U.S. administration-and I'm sure, within BP itself, to deal with this problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FINIGHAN: Well, BP shares were up more than 7 percent in London today, despite growing doubts that BP will pay its interim dividend. There is a decision due on that in July. Tony Hayward says that no decision as yet been made. There have been reports today the board may meet as early as next week to discuss the issue.

Well, America's worst-ever environmental disaster is now believed to be twice as bad as previously thought. Researchers say that oil has been pouring out of the broken well at a rate of up to 40,000 barrels a day. That is double previous estimates. It is keeping the pressure on President Obama at home, as well as abroad. Dan Lothian joins us now live from the White House.

Dan, a lot of alarm on this side of the Atlantic today about the tone, the strength of the language that is coming out of Washington today.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And you know that is why so many eyes are being focused, and ears, perhaps, on this phone conversation that the White House said that they initiated between President Obama and the new British prime minister, Mr. Cameron. The White House really sort of downplaying any friction here, saying this call will focus on a host of issues from Afghanistan to Iran, the economy.

White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs even joking that they will probably talk about the World Cup as well. But no doubt, what everyone wants to hear about is BP and this perceived by some strained relationship between the United States and Britain.

What the administration will say is that this has absolutely nothing to do with any dual countries here over BP. But rather it is the administration trying to hold the company, BP's, feet to the fire. And that is why you have seen this harsh rhetoric from the administration. The president trying to show he's really engaged. He's been criticized here in America for not acting soon enough, or not being tough enough on BP. And so you have really seen a stepped up effort by the administration. First the president going to the Gulf some three times. Then, as you pointed out, inviting executives from BP to the White House next Wednesday, to sit down. This will be the first face-to-face meeting. And then the president headed to the Gulf, again, next week, both Monday and Tuesday.

No rift at all, from the administration's viewpoint. Again, just the president showing that he is in charge, that he is fully engaged and that he wants to get to the bottom of this, that oil leak is plugged and the clean up operation continues, Adrian.

FINIGHAN: Dan, perhaps people who are feeling pretty sensitive on this side of the Atlantic, should bear in mind that there are mid-term elections ahead, in the United States. And perhaps the president, under fire, as you said, has one eye on those elections.

LOTHIAN: Well, you know, when you are president I think everything is really all about the politics, but when you press aides here at the White House, they'll say this has absolutely nothing to do with the politics. That the president has been engaged from the very beginning is what they will tell you. That right after the oil spill, administration officials were quick to go to the scene. And now what you are seeing is the president even ramping up his efforts as well and that it has nothing to do with politics. But, yes, clearly anytime there is an election, a mid-term election looming, anytime there are any kind of potential political implications then people will say that what's going on now is in reaction to that. But the White House will deny that.

FINIGHAN: All right, Dan, great. Many thanks indeed. Dan Lothian live at the White House.

Now, John Hofmeister is a former president of the Shell Oil Company. He's also an author of a book called, "Why We Hate the Oil Companies". And he is the founder and CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy. And advocacy organization concerned with energy policy. And he joins us now live in the studio.

John, good to talk to you. Many thanks for being with us. I suppose, more than anyone you can understand what Tony Hayward is going through at the moment.

But this has become so much more than an industrial accident, an environmental disaster. There are cultural issues at play here now as well. It has taken on a sort of an "us and them" tone, hasn't it?

JOHN HOFMEISTER, FOUNDER, CITIZENS FOR AFFORDABLE ENERGY: I think they are exploiting the foreignness of BP. Everyone in America knows the company's name is BP and has been for a decade. And everyone in the Cabinet, in the White House, knows that this is a company called BP. To throw around the British Petroleum is for effect, its symbolically saying, they're not one of us. Therefore they should not be allowed to spoil our gulf. And they are taking advantage of that foreignness to really bully, I mean, seriously bully the corporate entity called BP.

FINIGHAN: On that last note, with Dan Lothian, there, I mean, they have politicized this and it is for the mid-term elections, isn't it? This is why, this explains the strength of the rhetoric, doesn't it?

HOFMEISTER: About three weeks ago, the White House realized that they had really not done a good job of staying on top. They were not well- informed. The president had been detached. The fact that they have never met with BP executives is shocking. That this would go on this long, almost two months and not meet the principles involved, is shocking to me. I would have made a headway to the White House right away, to explain what we're doing, why we're doing what we're doing.

But now it has become all about the politics. And the president pushed the political panic button when he, three weeks ago, went down to the Gulf to visit it the second time. And in the process of doing that, and shutting down the deepwater drilling, it wasn't just about BP it is a statement about the whole industry.

FINIGHAN: Right.

HOFMEISTER: No reason to shut down deep water drilling. Those rigs are as safe today as they were-they're shut down now-but they were as safe as they were before the Deepwater Horizon incident. It was about muscle. The White House is very frustrated. They had many uncontrollable that they are unable to make headway on, this is one that they didn't want, that they didn't need, so they have to demonstrate this in-charge nature.

FINIGHAN: There is a certain hypocrisy going on here, isn't there? When you consider just how involved in energy supply, in the United States, BP is.

HOFMEISTER: This could be the president's undoing in the following way: By reducing domestic oil production, at this time, calling it a six- month moratorium is mythical. Because the rigs will leave the Gulf of Mexico. They'll be gone a year, two years, maybe more. By the time the next elections roll around in 2012 the U.S. will be producing about a million barrels a day less oil than it was counting on these deepwater wells to produce. The consequence of that will be a rise in the crude oil price. And American going to polls in November 2012, paying significantly higher gasoline prices will be more impacted by that than they will by the memory of the Gulf of Mexico.

FINIGHAN: I can imagine that BP has passed safety record in the U.S. has not done it any favors in this crisis. What does BP need to do now, in terms of its relations with the White House, in terms of politicians, in Washington. In terms of the American people that it perhaps hasn't already been doing.

HOFMEISTER: I think there are two things. One, BP has to become known as a company that focuses on execution. It has been known as a strategy company. And they have done a good job of strategy. But in the oil industry you have to execute. You have to earn your license for execution everyday. The second thing, BP does not have some of the high level friends in the American context that might be coming to its rescue or its defense. And that is unfortunate. Every company has its friends in high places. Former officials, former appointed or elected officials, people that are well known, in the mainstream of the political dialogue. And those people are missing at the moment. They need to be found, the relationships need to develop. When it gets political it is about relationships.

FINIGHAN: Yes, yes.

HOFMEISTER: And the relationships aren't strong enough.

FINIGHAN: John, really appreciate your insight.

HOFMEISTER: Thank you.

FINIGHAN: Many thanks, indeed, for coming in to talk to us about it today.

John Hofmeister, a former president of Shell Oil Company, and author of the book, "Why We Hate The Oil Companies".

On "CONNECT THE WORLD" tonight, we will have more on the growing U.S./U.K. rift and how it could affect coalition efforts in Afghanistan of all places. Becky Anderson spoke today with a former British ambassador to Washington who says this is precisely the wrong time for the allies to be at odds over anything. "CONNECT THE WORLD", tonight, 2100 hours in London, 2200 hours, that is 10:00 o'clock, in Central Europe.

Now the devil is in the data. It has been a jittery session for investors on Wall Street. We'll help you read the latest economic signals in just a moment on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FINIGHAN: It is a jittery Friday on Wall Street. Contrasting reports on the U.S economy are making some investors nervous. Sales at U.S. retailers fell 2.5 percent in May. Not at all what the experts were forecasting. They were looking for a rise. Now it was the first monthly drop since September 2009. The weakest part of that report was tied to the housing market. There was a 9 percent sales drop for building materials.

However, even if consumers aren't actually spending more, they say they are feeling more confident. A Reuters University of Michigan index shows June consumer sentiment rose more than expected. The index is now at its best level since January 2008.

And on Wall Street those upbeat consumer numbers aren't quite offsetting the retail sales surprise. The Dow is in the red as we speak. Among the major fallers today, Home Depot and Proctor & Gamble. Let's bring in Brian Bethune, he is the chief U.S. financial economist at the economic consultants, IHS Global Insight. He is in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Thanks for being with us, Sir.

How do you explain this apparent disparity between retail sales and consumer confidence?

BRIAN BETHUNE, IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT: Well, the consumer confidence has been rising now for a number of months, and it is being supported by some gradual improvement in terms of the labor market conditions. We are seeing more hours worked, higher incomes, even though the employment gains haven't been terrific, there still is higher income. And also on top of that, of course, gasoline prices have come down in the last three to four weeks, which is a very high visibility plus for consumer confidence.

The retail sales numbers, they have significant distortions in them simply because in the months of March and April there were significant incentives for consumer to buy energy efficient types of building products, particularly appliances. So, we had a huge surge of these purchases of building products in April and May and they have come off now in the latest month.

FINIGHAN: Now, Nouriel Roubini and George Soros have both been warning that we are entering the second phase of the financial crisis, and that economies are in danger of slipping back into recession, the so-called double dip recession. What is your view on that? Are they right?

BETHUNE: Well, I don't think that is the case especially if you look at North America, both the U.S. and Canada have seen pretty strong growth, actually, since the recovery started. And that may see a slight slow down. But we don't see that-a sudden break in that growth pattern. The story is, of course, much different for Europe. Europe never really got a significant momentum going in terms of the recovery, growth never really picked up when (AUDIO GAP)

FINIGHAN: Oh, sorry about that. Someone pulled a plug somewhere. Isn't that annoying when that happens. Brian Bethune that was, chief U.S. financial economist at IHS Global Insight.

Most European stock markets ended Friday's session with gains, little higher in London. A rally for BP shares gave the FTSE a boost. Frankfurt's Xetra DAX was the only major index to close lower today. Siemens was the worst performer there. Down by more than 2 percent. Banks led the gains in Paris with Credit Agrico up more than 6 percent. And in Spain Santander gained more than 7 percent after the chairman says that he's optimistic about earnings.

Is there a way to pour oil on troubled waters? Because right now the tension across the Atlantic between the U.S. and the U.K. is almost palpable. We'll ask special advisor to BP, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FINIGHAN: All right. Let's get back to our top story, the political fallout from the BP oil spill. Despite denials from the White House there are concerns that the disaster is putting a strain on the U.K.'s so-called special relationship with the U.S.

Jeremy Greenstock is the director of the Ditchley Foundation, which works to promote Anglo-American understanding. I spoke to him by phone earlier. And he told me that Brits and Americans face disaster in very different ways.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEREMY GREENSTOCK, DIR., DITCHLEY FOUNDATION: They go grim on it. They try and keep a sense of proportion and say this is difficult and this is ghastly, but let's stiff-upper lip and all of that. It is almost a caricature but that is what we do. Whereas, the United States has a greater dynamism in its approach to things, it expects big things to be met by big answers, and therefore a quick solution ought to be found or people are being incompetent.

And I think, therefore, there a higher level of anger that is likely to come out of the American system when they have been damaged. And they truly have been damaged. So that there is a difference in national character on this, but there is absolutely no reason why that should affect or to fundamentally U.S./U.K. mutual interests, which of course also exist in the oil and gas industry.

FINIGHAN: Is the American attitude, do you think, short-sighted given the extent to which BP is involved in energy supply in the United States?

GREENSTOCK: Well, there are two things here. One, is I think that only BP can organize the best response, and secondly BP is organizing a hugely effective response, but only up to its capability, which is short of the actual accident that has happened. And if the result of this is that the frontiers of this for this kind of exploration must be moved back, closer to safety, and further away from cheap oil for the consumer, then that must happen. We'll all understand. But I think that it doesn't help BP as the main remedier of this, to be attacked in the emotive terms, by the American press, or by American citizens as though that will make things better. I think there needs to be a greater sense of partnership in this.

FINIGHAN: Do you think this politicization of the oil spill will, in the long term, damage relations between the U.S. and Britain?

GREENSTOCK: No, I don't think so. Not in terms of relationships, not in terms of the huge number of things we're doing together, in other fields. It happens that BP is no longer British Petroleum, it is BP, is a multinational, global company. It is 40 percent or so, U.S. shareholder owned. It is the largest gas company in the U.S. and one of the largest energy companies overall, in the U.S. It is not just a U.K. company. These are multinational global things and the U.S./U.K. bilateral business is in a different category, I think from this. And if language can reflect that a bit more once the concern and anger has been put aside, then I think we'll get back to an even keel.

FINIGHAN: American politicians are calling for severe penalties to be brought against BP which could have severe commercial consequences. What is your view on that?

GREENSTOCK: Well, I think it will be entirely relevant for the United States government or system of government to look at its policy on drilling offshore. That is absolutely right. And BP, like every other oil company operating in the U.S. will have to respond to that.

Second, if BP has broken the law, if other participants in this accident have broken the law, they must take the penalties for that. But it must be within the law. I hope it will not be retrospective within the law. And the reputational damage has already been done and BP have got to work, over the years to mend that by performing well. But it must be within a recognizable system of law and of policymaking and not emotive.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FINIGHAN: The voice of Sir Jeremy Greenstock, director of the Ditchley Foundation.

Now, as World Cup mania mounts we are bringing you our version, the economic World Cup. How well do the competing countries fare on the playing field of work, prosperity, and output. We'll bring you the latest scores in just a moment.

Then, the legacy of hosting the planet's biggest sporting event; Germany invested billions to upgrade facilities in 2006. We'll look at that and the more profound legacies left by the global event.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FINIGHAN: Hello again, live from London, this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS from CNN. I'm Adrian Finighan in for Richard Quest. Let's get a check right now on the main news headlines at this hour.

(NEWSBREAK)

FINIGHAN: Scientists are increasing their estimates of how much oil is flowing from the ruptured BP well. They now believe that up to 40,000 barrels a day have been spewing into the Gulf of Mexico for nearly two months. BP is capturing about 15,000 barrels a day.

The death toll from a new round of violence in Kyrgyzstan is at least 45, with 600 more people injured. Kyrgyz authorities say that the toll is likely to rise. A state of emergency is in effect after clashes erupted on Thursday between Uzbek and Kyrgyz youths. Police say the situation has stabilized, but remains tense.

And the kickoff match to the World Cup 2010 is in the history books, as Mexico and hosts South Africa played to a 1-1 draw.

In other Group A action, the match between France and Uruguay is just getting underway. A full schedule of matches are set for this first weekend in South Africa.

Well, South Africa is welcoming the world in grand style. On the opening day of the 2010 competition, billions of football fans are focused on the countries -- the country that's staging the finals.

This week, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS has been looking, though, at the economic legacy for the hosts of the last few tournaments. And we've come right up to 2006.

Diana Magnay reports now from Germany.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Happy sounds, glorious weather and almost flawless organization.

But did the feel good factor of Germany's World Cup last longer than the summer of 2006?

In economic terms, apparently not.

GERT WAGNER, GERMAN INSTITUTE FOR ECONOMIC RESEARCH: Germany has a large economy and such in, we went as a -- a very little, tiny one. It was from the very beginning very unlikely that there would be a big impact on the economy.

MAGNAY: So the World Cup was a boost to Germany's world image and to the nation's self-confidence. Patriotism, which, for decades, was a dirty word in post-war German society, showing itself in a million national flags.

TIM JUERGENS, 11 FREUNDE SOCCER MAGAZINE: I was a little bit afraid when I -- when I saw that, when -- when the flags came up in the first days of the tournament. But, yes, it seems to be that there's -- there are a new generation starts in Germany, in a way.

MAGNAY: But beyond the consumption of vast quantities of Germany's favorite drink and a boost for German businesses of around $2.6 billion in food, drink and sales of World Cup memorabilia, that new generation wasn't prepared to change the habits of the old -- cautious consumer spending.

WAGNER: So there was no negative impact. And it was just fun. And it was a great time this summer and people were happy and so it -- it did not last very long, but it was, for some weeks, a lot of fun and that's enough.

MAGNAY: Wagner says the two million visitors to Germany's World Cup kept non-football tourists away. One lesson from the German economists to South Africa this time around -- sit back and enjoy it, because the effects may be shelved.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Berlin.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

FINIGHAN: All right, let's keep the World Cup theme going for a few more minutes. But I'm going to ask you to forget about the football. This -- I mean look at this. This is the QUEST MEANS BUSINESS economic World Cup.

And so throughout the tournament, we're going to pitch the countries against each other in terms of their economic prowess. We'll be tracking the official tournament, of course, but we'll also be assessing the footwork that each nation has demonstrated in tackling the financial crisis.

CNN's Jim Boulden joins me now once again, just as Uruguay have kicked off against France, why don't we start there, then?

JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Uruguay is a small economy, 84th in the world. When you think of France, it's one of the G7 countries, fifth in the world. So you talk -- if you're talking about powerhouse...

FINIGHAN: Yes.

BOULDEN: -- then, of course, you can see a huge difference there.

However, you know, Uruguay has a very good economic growth going on right now. So, you know, in that sense, you know, these fast growing economies in Central America and South America have a lot to say about this.

And I think if you look at that and you were to say all the problems that France has had, all the problems the euro is having all the time...

FINIGHAN: Yes.

BOULDEN: -- that, you know, maybe Uruguay has an advantage there.

FINIGHAN: Yes.

You've got some figures on the screen now comparing the two sides.

BOULDEN: Yes.

FINIGHAN: I mean, tell -- tell us about this.

What -- what do you make of these figures?

BOULDEN: Well, you know, you can see that we -- and recently, Uruguay has tried to do a lot of things with its currencies, as well. And it's trying to do some intervening. And then you have, like I said, with the euro, you've got problems in France.

But the GDP growth, you know, I would say that Uruguay definitely has a measure of (INAUDIBLE)...

FINIGHAN: 5.7 percent.

BOULDEN: Yes.

It's fantastic, isn't it?

FINIGHAN: And otherwise, you were saying last night, well, this is where it gets difficult. And we -- we spoke about this yesterday, about -- on -- as far as the football league prowess is concerned, it's not -- it's not necessarily that the rich nations are the ones -- it's -- it gets -- sometimes the up and coming nations. But, of course, France are former champions.

BOULDEN: Yes, absolutely.

FINIGHAN: Yes.

BOULDEN: And you could -- you can't just dismiss that. You can't just say that -- though a lot of people think maybe France won't do very well this time around.

FINIGHAN: Yes.

We're going to take a look at one of the weekend's matches, as well, in -- in a few moments, England versus the United States. But first of all, tell us -- tell us about South Africa and Mexico then. I mean, two nations economically...

BOULDEN: I would say...

FINIGHAN: -- fairly well matched?

BOULDEN: I would say pretty well matched.

FINIGHAN: Yes?

BOULDEN: I mean we're looking at some of the numbers there. South Africa had a -- a decent amount of growth last year. But Mexico had even more growth.

FINIGHAN: Right.

BOULDEN: Mexico, in fact, is having a very, very fast economy, a fast growing economy and a lot of investors are very interested in Mexico.

FINIGHAN: Yes.

BOULDEN: And so in that sense, if you look at the -- the outcome, I - - I even said to my blog today, I thought Mexico might go quite far...

FINIGHAN: Yes.

BOULDEN: Then I got a bit worried.

Was South Africa one up (INAUDIBLE) no.

FINIGHAN: Yes, I mean with South Africa, I mean I'm -- I'm pleased -- don't be offended if you're watching in South Africa and you're -- you're South African fans right now, but they were outclassed by Mexico on the field, weren't they?

Not -- not so economically, though.

BOULDEN: No, except, you know, if you look at the unemployment rate, Mexico actually has, officially, a pretty decent unemployment rate, not too bad, where South Africa's is terrible.

FINIGHAN: Right. OK, so upcoming matches...

BOULDEN: Well...

FINIGHAN: -- at least the one that you and I will be at rolling our heads over this weekend.

BOULDEN: Yes. You've got (INAUDIBLE).

FINIGHAN: It's the United States versus England. And last night, of course, I plugged for -- for England to -- to win, given economic statistics that you are -- that you were talking about here.

BOULDEN: Yes.

FINIGHAN: Just because I think the nation is in need of a boost a little bit more than the U.S. was.

BOULDEN: Yes...

FINIGHAN: Of course, the U -- in terms of economies, I mean the U.S. should win -- win hands down.

BOULDEN: Well, the U.S. number -- number one.

FINIGHAN: Yes.

BOULDEN: Top economy in the world.

FINIGHAN: Yes.

BOULDEN: It is the biggest economy in the world, I should say.

FINIGHAN: Of course.

BOULDEN: England has very weak growth at the moment. It has higher interest rates. The U.S. has lower interest rates. Actually, 3 percent growth expected in the U.S. this year.

FINIGHAN: Yes.

BOULDEN: That's not too bad for a country that went through a deep recession.

FINIGHAN: Yes.

BOULDEN: Even its -- even its GDP debt ratio in the U.S. is technically better than the U.K, which is hard to say when everyone talks about such incredible debt problems in the U.S.

FINIGHAN: Yes.

BOULDEN: Actually, currently, the U.K. has it worse.

FINIGHAN: And hardly anyone plays football there.

BOULDEN: I wouldn't say that.

FINIGHAN: Right.

Really?

BOULDEN: No.

FINIGHAN: So but I mean do you -- I think mostly you would have -- if -- if they pull off the upset of the tournament tomorrow night and the U.S. beat England, nobody would care in the U.S., would they?

BOULDEN: It's on the front page of my local paper today.

FINIGHAN: Really?

BOULDEN: I had a look. The pub -- the bars in New York, one of the bars in New York tomorrow morning is opening up at 4:30 in the morning...

FINIGHAN: Yes.

BOULDEN: -- New York time, for -- in order to get everybody in.

FINIGHAN: Fantastic.

He and I are going to be at loggerheads throughout the weekend. Great. So may the -- may the best team...

BOULDEN: Yes, absolutely.

FINIGHAN: May the best team win.

Jim, many thanks, indeed.

And you're going to be coming back throughout the tournament?

BOULDEN: Yes.

FINIGHAN: And blogging, too, aren't you...

BOULDEN: Yes.

FINIGHAN: -- about -- about all of this, these -- the economics...

BOULDEN: But from an economic perspective...

FINIGHAN: From an economic perspective.

BOULDEN: Yes.

FINIGHAN: Yes. Terrific.

Jim, many thanks, indeed.

Our regular viewers will, of course, will be familiar with our World At Work segment. So let me introduce you now to World Cup At Work. We want you to send us your photos of how you and your colleagues are enjoying the World Cup in the workplace, especially if you put in you're putting your own decorations to -- to shame.

I mean, fantastic, wasn't it, we've got it here?

Can you see the flag?

Send us your -- your pictures and stories of your World Cup at Work. And you can find us on Facebook or e-mail us at quest@cnn.com.

Well, don't forget Twitter at -- Tweet, rather. Richard is on Twitter -- atrichardquest is his address.

Right. We'll be back with more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in just a few moments.

We'll take a look at what the weather is doing in your part of the world.

Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FINIGHAN: Welcome back.

Let's bring in a man who is really getting into the World Cup spirit.

Guillermo Arduino is at the CNN World Weather Center.

Did -- did you hear all those -- those people in that stadium playing the -- the vuvuzelas?

GUILLERMO ARDUINO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I did.

FINIGHAN: Which sounded nothing...

ARDUINO: And I...

FINIGHAN: It sounded nothing like when you were playing it yesterday.

ARDUINO: There you go.

FINIGHAN: And by -- yes. And -- and I've just had a Tweet, I must tell you, from -- from someone called Vuvuzela.

Do you know what it says?

ARDUINO: No.

What?

(MAKES HORN BLOWING SOUND)

ARDUINO: Very good. Everybody's so smart today.

FINIGHAN: There it is. There's that noise.

ARDUINO: It's good, huh?

FINIGHAN: Fantastic.

ARDUINO: Do you know what?

I think it's good exercise for lips, too. Forget about collagen and all that.

FINIGHAN: Yes.

ARDUINO: That's very good exercise. They're still tickling after my exercise yesterday.

OK, I'm going to tell you what's going on now in Africa with the weather. Of course, extremely hot and humid. The last time I checked in 3:40 it was like 42 degrees. But here into Johannesburg, conditions are fine. I get complaints of the cold. But the thermometer is saying 11 degree skies and they say that it feels like three.

No. It's you. It's -- you're wrong. It is actually 11 and it's not even Wednesday. So I don't get it. You know, when I see Pedro and all those people -- those macho guys there with scarves, I don't understand it.

All right, moving on. Well, we're seeing here that -- that London had a really nice day, though there are some warnings of rain in that part of England. Elsewhere, it's going to be fine. I think that stormy weather system is coming back. But Saturday and Sundays are going to be fine, I think. London we have nice conditions. The heat continues for tomorrow in the east. You see Vienna 30 -- 35 at Kiev; Bucharest 35.

We saw some severe storms in Poland and also Wednesday conditions in Germany. So we will see a little bit more of that. It is improving a little bit here into France, though the low pressure center over the Bay of Biscay continues.

So the summer is this. We are going to see some more of the same because of the extremely hot conditions. Hail we observed in -- I'm going to try the pronunciation of that -- Unterguren (ph) in Germany. We had 120 kilometers per hour.

Poland it's going to be fine, though the chance of severe storms because of daytime heating continues. That's why the warnings are still in place. You see this eastern section of Germany, where Berlin is, and the winds continue into the Baltics and parts of Belarus and Russia, too, and then all the way into Northern Spain, we are expecting some rough weather, as well.

The winds will gradually move into the Baltic Sea and they come back from the west again, from the Atlantic Ocean. A little bit of a respite for the North Sea.

But look at the satellite picture. Look at the Mediterranean, looking fine. Greece looking great. Still some storms in Turkey. So we think that probably you will find some issues in Copenhagen with the winds. Amsterdam maybe some rain showers. But we do not think it's going to be enough to effect -- affect your travel plans.

Also, into Turkey, you see here and there, Antalya may see some rain showers, but Greece appears to be fine.

Good morning. If you're watching from Australia, it is. Let me see, four more hours than us four to 16 hours more, so it will be in New Zealand 6:43 in the morning. Good Saturday for you.

It's going to cool down. I'm sorry to say that. It's 12 degrees in Wellington. It's zero in Cambret (ph).

Did you know, Adrian, that it was so early on Saturday in New Zealand?

FINIGHAN: No. I -- I didn't. I don't want to -- I don't even think about it. I'm not even (INAUDIBLE) yet.

Guillermo, my friend, have a great weekend.

ARDUINO: You, too.

FINIGHAN: Many thanks, indeed.

ARDUINO: Bye.

FINIGHAN: That is where we end this edition of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

In London, I'm Adrian Finighan.

Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, as the man himself would say, I do hope it's profitable.

Stay with us.

"MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST" is next.

END