Return to Transcripts main page
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Investors Are Reacting With Alarm As The World's Two Largest Economies Are Flashing Warning Signs; Deputy Chief Of Staff And Communications Director, Bill Shine Has Resigned; Five Years Ago Tonight, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-370 Disappeared And Nothing Has Been Heard Of It Since; Large Protests Continue Across Algeria; A Lawyer Says He Fears Shamima Begum's Baby is Dead; Theresa May: U.K. Risks Never Leaving EU if Brexit Deal is Rejected Again; Electricity Out Across Most of Venezuela; SpaceX Crew Dragon Returns from ISS; Senator Elizabeth Warren Calls to Break Up Big Tech; Norway's Sovereign Wealth Fund Cashes Out of Oil and Gas; European Stocks Fall on Global Growth Concerns; Activists, Protesters Advocate for Gender Equality; Australian Prime Minister Under Fire for Comments About Women; Trump-Xi Summit No Longer Expected this Month. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired March 8, 2019 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: We enter the last hour of trading on Wall Street, a sea of red. The market has been down for the
whole session but don't be too alarmed. The losses are actually quite small. Barely triple digits. And in the last hour or so, there is
something of a rally being attempted. It looks about day, but let's see what's been moving the markets. Blink and you miss it, the U.S. economy is
barely clinging on to the streak of job growth. We need to analyze the numbers.
A slump in Shanghai, as China's trade numbers turn nasty and Norway sent the oil sector spinning with a multibillion dollars sell-off. We'll
explain. It's Friday. It is the 8th of March. I am Richard Quest in London tonight, where of course, I mean business.
Good evening. Tonight, investors are reacting with alarm as the world's two largest economies are flashing warning signs. In the United States,
new numbers show hiring slowed to a crawl in February and in China, exports fell more than 20% and in both cases, the experts and economists are
wondering if these are blips and something deep and serious, or is it just a little bit of froth off the top.
In other words, temporary or the start of a lengthy slowdown? We start in the United States with the U.S. jobs report where the number of jobs added
in February is the worst since September of 2017, a fraction of what economists expected - 20,000. It's a miserable number. Unemployment at
3.8%. So that's holding steady and wage growth at 3.4% is considered to be good. However, as fewer unemployed people look for work and wages rose,
the growth was constrained and concentrated in certain industries. The president said the numbers were surprising for different reasons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The unemployment rate just went lower. We are down now to 3.8%, so we have very good news in
that. I think the big news really was that wages went up and that's great for the American worker. That's something for people -- I don't know if
they ever expected to see it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Diane Swonk, chief economist at the accounting firm, Grant Thornton, she joins us now from Chicago. Diane, if we look at these
numbers and which is the more seriously -- serious number, the fact that growth was down -- I'm sorry, job growth was constrained or that wage
growth actually is ticking up?
DIANE SWONK, CHIEF ECONOMIST, GRANT THORNTON: Well, they're both from the same survey, so they're both distorted a bit. The slowdown in job growth
was largely in part to really unseasonably bad, even unusually bad winter weather, big loss in construction employment that we do expect to come back
a little bit.
Also, we had some losses because some of those government workers had taken on a second job to make up for their lost pay. They got off that second
job, so that came out of the numbers and we had some teacher strikes as well. That's one side of it.
The wage gains were -- are picking up. That's a good news. They're up a tenth from the high we had hit in December, but they're also distorted by
the composition of jobs created during the month, only 20,000 net jobs dominated by high paying jobs and professional services that helped to buoy
those wage gains from a year ago.
QUEST: So if you had to give this an interpretation on this report, bearing in mind that the revisions on the previous months were very small,
which suggest that the trend of the slowdown is taking its toll.
SWONK: The slowdown is taking its toll. I look at this on sort of on a moving average basis. The three-month moving average is about what we had
seen in 2018. The first two months of the year are slower and I expect that to continue because the economy is slowing. The first quarter is
going to be a lousy quarter. We're going to bounce back a bit in the second quarter.
But overall growth in 2019 will be slower than 2018 and with that, we'll see a slower pace of job growth as well. A much slower pace over the
course of the year.
QUEST: Stay with me because at the moment, as you'll be aware, Wall Street is marking ten years of the bull-run. So 10 years ago, I was sitting in
this very spot when with hindsight, what we now understand, stocks hit bottom. Listen to that and I'll come back to you in a second, Diane.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Good evening to you. I'm Richard Quest. This is "Quest Means Business." We are starting a new week and I'm afraid it's a new week but
the same old story.
QUEST: Susan, they are so mixed at the New York Stock exchange, Susan, when I just looked a second or two ago, it looked like we were best part of
a turn down on the market, has it come back a bit?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Well, we know the market did come back, look at how it has improved. The S&P, by the way, Diane Swonk, you have 300% gain over that
period. So how much, Diane Swonk is because cheap money from the central banks made the bull market inevitable?
SWONK: Well, it certainly was a major factor. There was also a major announcement right about we're going to see on 60 minutes, Chairman Powell,
Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen, former Chair, Janet Yellen come together and talk about what happened ten years ago.
Ten years ago, at this time, it was when the Fed first did their quantitative easing. They announced that they would buy in the mortgage-
backed security market and just that announcement alone started to turned things around. Before they ever bought one mortgage backed security, the
market started to come back, and I think that's very important.
It's not just the fact that the Fed, fed financial markets. Financial markets took down the economy. The only cure was to fix financial markets
and that gave an uneven kind of growth and then we missed the fiscal stimulus later in the expansion and that was taken away.
QUEST: So on the basis of the economic scenario, the landscape that you see now, are we good for a few more years of the bull market?
SWONK: I'm very concerned. My biggest concern is China. We have seen more bad data come out of China and it's not just contingent on a trade
agreement with China. The weakness in China hit before the tariff hits in China. They've got a structural problem, second largest economy in the
world. They've been a major push on growth of the global economy. You're seeing weakness in Europe. You've seen the ECB react to it this week.
These are thing that concern me that tell me we're losing some of our stamina.
QUEST: Diane, thank you and we will continue with on the thought that you've raised for us, the issue of China because of the soft U.S. numbers
weren't enough to shake investors; there more warning signals in the world's number two economy.
Chinese stocks fell by more than 4% on Friday after Beijing revealed that exports had fallen to their lowest levels in three years. The 21% slide
coincides with the Chinese New Year holiday. It was driven by the trade war with the U.S. and slowing global economies.
David Dollar was the Treasury's Economic Emissary to China, joins me now. This very sharp falloff in exports, at the same time as the U.S. of course
had some very bad trade numbers, too. But what do you believe is driving the China's numbers?
DAVID DOLLAR, FORMER TREASURY EMISSARY TO CHINA: Well, February is always a weak month in China. It's either the New Year festival or sometimes it
comes right after the New Year festival. So February numbers, we have to be a little bit careful about. But this really caught most observers by
surprise as you said, Richard. Exports were down 21%, and that's February on February. So you're comparing two Februarys. That's a lot more than
I was also disturbed that their imports fell by 5%. That's usually a pretty good indication of what's happening with domestic demand. That's
important for a lot of countries around the world that are selling to China. So those are bad trade numbers, and as you said, Shanghai market
fell 4.4%. It also didn't help, there was an interview with the U.S. Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, and he pointed out the obvious that
the two sides are still pretty far apart for a trade agreement. There's no concrete planning for a summit meeting at Mar-A-Lago and that I think also
affected the market.
QUEST: Is it your gut that China is in deep trouble? The government has already, a couple of months ago, it played around with bank reserve limits.
It's now done some other financial finagling to try and give a stimulus to the economy. Is China in trouble?
DOLLAR: My gut is that they're not in trouble in the sense of the proverbial hard landing. They've rolled out some modest stimulus measures.
They're going to increase their fiscal deficit a little bit, a little bit additional borrowing by local governments, but it's all rather modest, and
I think they have pretty good information about what's happening. If they were alarmed, they would be coming in much more strongly with measures, but
they're coming in with modest stimulus.
So, I think they're probably going to be okay and if I'm wrong about that and things slide more in the next couple of months, they'll come in with
further stimulus. So pretty safe bet they're going to get to their 6% target for the year.
QUEST: You heard Diane Swonk just a moment ago, if you take the U.S. situation on the trade numbers, the U.S. having the worst deficit in some
years when it should have been getting better, the U.S. dollar remains extremely strong which of course is a negative on the imports and if you
look at that trading relationship between the U.S. and China, there's no evidence that it's improving.
DOLLAR: Right. I mean, you're absolutely right about that. Last year, U.S. imports from China went up $34 billion despite the trade war. Our
exports to China actually went down for the first time in many years. Now, I would say you wouldn't normally expect a trade war to improve the U.S.
trade balance because what the U.S. is doing reduces imports, but it also reduces exports and so no presumption that it's going help the trade
QUEST: Have a good weekend, sir. Lots to talk about and we'll talk more about it in the future. Thank you.
DOLLAR: Thanks a lot.
QUEST: We go to the White House now where the week is ending with a surprise shakeup. The Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director,
Bill Shine has resigned. It was very unexpected. He is the fifth person to serve as Communications Director under President Trump. A statement
from the White House says Shine will serve as a senior adviser to President Trump's 2020 re-election campaign.
Sarah Westwood is at the White House, so Sarah, was he pushed or was about to be pushed?
SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, CNN: Well, Richard, we've been looking into this and it appears a combination of those things. Sources
tell CNN that the President had started to sour on Bill Shine's performance. Bill Shine, the former executive at Fox News was brought on
board in large part to help improve the press coverage of this White House. That did not happen over the eight months that Shine worked here and the
President started to grow dissatisfied with that.
Aides said that they couldn't discern what Shine really did here at the White House beyond just the lighting and focused the cameras at White House
events. At the same time, though, it's really unclear what Shine will be doing on the re-election campaign. Sources affiliated with the campaign
say they were notified this morning that Shine would be joining them as a senior adviser. They haven't really been informed what exactly it is he
will be doing. This was all hastily announced today as you mentioned, a very unexpected departure coming after a tough week for President Trump,
QUEST: Some will claim this is more evidence of confusion in the White House.
WESTWOOD: Well, certainly you don't have to look far to find plenty of evidence of that. This particular position in the White House, the
Communications Director position, has been done by five people, six people have been named White House Communications Director, one of them resigned
before actually taking the position.
So this has been a notoriously difficult job for this administration to fill in part because President Trump likes to act so much as his own chief
spokesman, and so it's difficult for someone to come in and try to direct his communications and Shine also, like his predecessors, struggled with
So, Richard, it will be interesting to see who the White House selects, if anyone, to hold this position moving forward.
QUEST: We'll watch it. Have a good weekend. Thank you.
WESTWOOD: You, too.
QUEST: Sarah at the White House. Coming up next, breaking up big tech, in the words of Neil Sedaka, it may be hard to do, but presidential hopeful,
Elizabeth Warren is game to have a go. Big tech on the block in a moment.
QUEST: Five years ago tonight, Malaysia Airlines flight MH-370 disappeared and nothing has been heard of it since except some debris that washed up
some months later. Family members of the Chinese nationals on board are now calling on their government to continue the search, a search that was
called off in January 2017, after two years.
The plane disappeared with 239 passengers and crew on board. It was going between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. Now, that is pretty much all we know
about what happened to MH-370.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
QUEST (voice over): It is the aviation the mystery that transfixed the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR, CNN: Air traffic controllers in Southeast Asia have lost contact with a jumbo jet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST (voice over): The Boeing 777 was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it vanished. Two hundred and thirty nine people on board
missing. Five years later, and aviation experts believe it's still possible to lose a passenger plane somewhere over the world's oceans.
Currently, air traffic controllers track planes through a patch work of radar, ground radio and satellite communications. The satellites have
limited range. Now, a new system coming on line next month will for the first time allow the planes to be tracked in real-time anywhere they fly.
Also airlines will be able to subscribe to live tracking services that share location and other data.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARY SCHIAVO, AVIATION ANALYST, CNN: Not only will these tracking systems save the world from losing another plane and the heartbreak of five years
out still not knowing where the people are, but every month it will save a state, a country, another jurisdiction from having to search for small
planes that go missing all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Also, under development, a new generation of black boxes. Airbus is introducing a flight data recorder that ejects itself during a crash.
While Honeywell is working on a cockpit voice and recorder that constantly streams data via satellite. None of this technology is currently mandated
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID SOUCIE, AVIATION SAFETY ANALYST, CNN: It's up to the airlines, it's up to the states themselves, the countries that fly aircraft to pay the
extra dollars that it takes. And it's not a lot of extra dollars, maybe ten cents a ticket or so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST (voice over): What hasn't changed of course is how families are treated during the most difficult experience of their lives. There are no
uniform worldwide standards for immediate assistance and families are given no mandated access to the crash investigations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIAVO: They are intentionally kept out and what does that do? That makes the entire investigation suspect in the eyes of the families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST (voice over): Incidents like the disappearance of MH-370 involve families, investigators and regulators across many different jurisdictions.
Bringing them all together is and direct common framework is what the authorities are trying to do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOUCIE: There's no body that says you can't fly and charge for tickets and expect people to fly and fly on your airlines without a standard of safety
that is worldwide. It can't just be state to state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST (voice over): As to the whereabouts and discovery of the final resting place of that 777, it may be many years when more sophisticated
searching methods are devised that we'll ever find the wreckage, recover the remains and finally find out what happened to MH-370.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
QUEST: After the official search for MH-370 was called off, there was a second search led by the U.S. exploration firm, Ocean Infinity. The
company says it's ready to launch a new effort. Ocean Infinity's Chief Executive, Oliver Plunkett joins me now.
Thank you, Oliver for being with us. What is stopping you from just saying, "I'm going to put the ships out. We've got the technology. We've
got the ships. It's a find or no fee. I'm going out tomorrow."
OLIVER PLUNKETT, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, OCEAN INFINITY: We want to make sure firstly that we've properly analyzed all of the theories and know that
we're looking exactly the right place. Minister Loke from Malaysia actually makes a very serious point when he says that the government
doesn't want to engage unless there's a credible reason to do so. The other way of thinking about that is he says, "I don't want to expose the
families to the emotions of hope on a wild goose chase." And we feel that that's very important because ultimately, it's the families who are at the
center of all of this.
QUEST: Right. The first principle's report which identified the most likely area which you then took as the basis, I'm simplifying, obviously,
but you then took as the basis for the most likely area to search, well, did you complete that area in that last search? Are you comfortable that
you searched the most likely area, and if so, then, yes, where do you go next?
PLUNKETT: I think with any ocean search, the idea that there is a pinpoint location can be nothing more than a starting point from which you go north,
south, east and west based on the evidence which draws you in one of those four directions.
We started in the point where the original search finished and traveled north because that was most consistent with what was in the first
principal's report. Inevitably, the southern Indian Ocean is an enormous body of water and whether it's near there or somewhere else requires some
QUEST: So are you saying that we don't know where the plane went down? I mean, because at the end of the day, quite a lot of the ocean -- quite a
lot of the area where the plane is believed to have gone down was searched very thoroughly in the first part. Your organization did an extremely
thorough search using newer technologies of the most likely area. But do - - does the evidence still seem to together it is off the western coast of Australia?
PLUNKETT: When you look at the combination of the satellite data analysis and the ocean drift analysis that's been reviewed and carried out by
various organizations from around the world, the preponderance of the evidence points you to the southern Indian Ocean off the west coast of
But it's a large area. And as I say, the idea that there's a pinpoint in this particular search just doesn't make any sense. There might be other
searches where there is that evidence that it's very, very -- and you find the thing you're looking for exactly where the evidence suggests it should
be. This isn't one of those.
QUEST: So I expect much of the day answering the questions to my colleagues about would they ever find it? And my answer has always been,
yes, it will be found one day when the sophistication or sophisticated search tools are able to do that, and we're not there yet. Do you
subscribe to that?
PLUNKETT: I also believe that it will be find one day. At the moment -- and this was the point I made to the families last weekend, I think we have
got the tools to find it. What for me has made me feel that since we left the site of the Indian Ocean in June of last year, is that we found the
Argentinian submarine, San Juan, and we found the Korean boat carrier, Stella Daisy.
The San Juan in particular, was an object of a similar size to MH-370, except it was designed not to be identified by sonar.
PLUNKETT: So the fact we can find that tells me that if we look in the right place, we can find MH-370.
QUEST: Right, and finally, in a sentence, so what do you need - who's permission do you now need to go back out and search?
PLUNKETT: The Government of Malaysia. I think it's important to remember that it isn't -- this is a -- it's an airplane that is subject to police
investigations and it matters to the families, I think it's important to not just go out and do things without having that buy-in of all the
QUEST: Good to see you sir. Thank you very much for joining us. Much appreciated.
PLUNKETT: Thank you.
QUEST: And of course in future programs, we will be asking the government of Malaysia exactly when and why they will allow some people like Ocean
Infinity to go back out.
Coming up next, breaking up big tech. The big names are huge, but Senator Warren takes on the three most valuable companies in the world.
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. There is more "Quest Means Business" in a moment when you'll hear from Elizabeth Warren who thinks breaking up big
tech will help her get to the White House, or at least promising to do it, and big oil companies have taken a big hit after one of their biggest
investors says it is having a rethink on fossil fuels. As we continue tonight, this is CNN and on this network, the facts always come first.
Tens of thousands of people turned out again on Friday demonstrating across Algeria. Protestors are demanding that the 82-year-old President,
Bouteflika, withdraw from next month's election. Despite suffering a stroke in 2013 and having rarely been seen in public since, the current
President is moving ahead with his candidacy.
The lawyer for the so-called ISIS bride Shamima Begum says he believes her new born son has died. Begum is being held at a camp in Syria and gave
birth to a baby boy last month.
She left the U.K. to join ISIS four years ago. She recently said she wanted to come back to Britain. But British officials say they would strip
her of her citizenship because she supports a terrorist organization.
British lawmakers are getting ready to vote again on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal on Tuesday. Brexit is only 21 days away, Theresa May
said a short while ago that if parliament rejects her deal, in her words, no one knows what will happen and that the U.K. might not leave the EU at
Parts of Venezuela has been without electricity since Thursday. There was a widespread power outrage that led officials to close schools and suspend
other public services. President Maduro's government says it's due to sabotage of the country's main hydro electric power station. Critics say
crumbling infrastructure and corruption are to blame.
So to SpaceX now celebrating the return of the Dragon. It's Crew Dragon capsule, that is, it came back to earth early on Friday and it capped off a
historic test flight. SpaceX is developing commercial spacecraft to carry American astronauts to the International Space Station.
It's time to break up big tech according to U.S. presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren. She wants to take a saw to Amazon, Google and
Facebook. It's all part of the bid to promote competition in the sector, she says. Now, of course, the senator's campaigning like a trust buster of
When we think of Amazon with its vast holdings across many industries, its tentacle remind you of images such as those of the early 1900s. Now, back
then, the idea was that of an octopus and it was the perfect metaphor for monopolies of oil and railroad companies and how they extended their reach,
strong arming their way to the U.S.
And the analogy of the octopus -- as you can see Capitol Hill over there, you can see Wall Street over there, the analogy of the octopus and the
company by the way of course, they talk about is Standard Oil which was broken up into SO as we now know today.
Now, it works just as well today of the analogy -- look at --
Amazon, there's Amazon web services and the amazon.com. All the tentacles going deep into the economy. With groceries at Whole Foods and shoes at
Zappos, or as any book you can think of is audible or a candle. Amazon is now of course in the world, it's vast and it's strong and Elizabeth Warren
wants to break it up piece by piece.
MJ Lee is in New York and joins me. Now, the idea of what -- I mean, it's not a new idea, but she's backing herself. This is turning into one of
her touch-stone policies.
MJ LEE, CNN U.S. POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And Richard, I'm actually just returning from Harlem where Elizabeth Warren had a campaign
event and we got some time to talk to her about this new proposal to break up the big tech companies like Amazon, like Google, like Facebook.
So, let's actually listen to what she had to say. She was talking about this in the context of Amazon's failed bid to start a new headquarters in
Long Island City and then we can talk on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I want to make clear, I cheered when New York City said we're pushing back just a little bit on everything
that Amazon is asking for. Because here's the problem, these giant tech companies have so much power, so much economic power and so much political
power that they go all around the country saying, bribe me to come be where you are.
And it's like a giant hunger games of some kind. What I believe is for it to have more competition in the marketplace and to level the playing field
a little bit for small businesses and entrepreneurs and start-ups. What we've got to do is take those platforms, you know, how you order on Amazon
or you do a search on Google, and break them off from the additional businesses that they're running and those additional businesses are where
they're getting a comparative advantage on their information because of the information they get from their platforms.
The way to think about this right now is Amazon is like the umpire in the baseball game. It runs the marketplace, and it also has a lot of teams on
the field because it's actually competing with the other businesses on that platform and giving special advantage, putting them on page 1 and
somebody they don't like back on page 6.
[15:35:00] So my notion is, you can be an umpire or you can own a team, but you can't do both at the same time. And that's how we should break up
Amazon, it's how we should break up Google, customers, both like you and me, we can still do our searches, we can still do what we want to do, but
we want to break these up and get more competition in the industry.
LEE: Would you have been OK with it being in Boston, the second headquarters?
WARREN: So what I'm not OK with is the fact that cities are put into this competition against each other, and that they're asked to give up tax
revenues to build special goodies. Because you know, here's the deal. A small business that's just getting started, no city is saying to them, hey,
we're going to give you the same deal that Amazon is getting.
You're going to get a big lop off your taxes or we're going to hand out some special goodies to you. Every time the giant goes around the country
and says give me something special, they help increase the concentration of the American economy. That's bad for our economy, it's bad for workers,
it's bad for competition, it's bad for small businesses, and ultimately, it's bad for our democracy.
Just over the past few years, a handful of the top giants have already gotten $10 billion in special breaks from towns, counties and states. You
know, that's a special break that gives them a leg up in competition. It's just not fair for small businesses and that's not right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: MJ, is this going to be a central plank of the senator's manifesto if you like. Is she going to run hard on this because it's perceived to be
LEE: Oh, absolutely, and when you think about Elizabeth Warren and sort of what her campaign stands for so far, this goes to the root of it, right?
She is running on getting money out of politics, weakening special interests and wealthy interests in politics, and this is really just the
sort of core of her message.
And if you think back to what her actually first policy proposal of the campaign was, it was to tax the wealthy, the wealthiest Americans and she
said that other proposals that she puts out will actually --
QUEST: Right --
LEE: Be paid for by those taxes. So all of these policy proposals come together, and I think what is going to be really fascinating to watch is
how her competitors, the other Democratic candidates feel like they have to respond to this, right? Now that Elizabeth Warren has put out this
proposal, you can be sure that the other Democratic candidates in the field are also going to be asked about this and asked do you support this
or do you have another --
QUEST: Yes --
LEE: Or better idea to deal with this?
QUEST: She has put the issue into play, good to see you, thank you, MJ, thank you for getting --
LEE: Thanks --
QUEST: And thank you for getting that interview back to us so promptly, I appreciate it that it's just taken place. As we continue tonight on QUEST
MEANS BUSINESS, over three decades, oil money has funded Norway's trillion dollar sovereign well fund; the largest in the world. Now also, wants to
turn away from energy to secure the country's financial future.
[15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
QUEST: Norway wants to hedge its financial future no longer being quite so tied up with energy and energy stocks. The company -- of course, the
Norwegian government's trillion dollar sovereign wealth fund has revealed it's cashing out of most of its oil and gas investments. Now, the idea is
-- or the worry is, bearing in mind that most of Norway's sovereign wealthy and most of the country's economy comes from oil and gas exports.
But they want to hedge against a permanent oil price decline because what's the point of having all your money in a hedge fund, and the hedge fund
owning oil and gas companies, in other words, eggs in one basket. You see what I mean there, $7.5 billion is already in exploration and production,
and those parts of the economy, $7.5 billion.
Now, the fund is going to keep investing in big oil companies that works on renewables. So, those that are high on renewables can still expect to
receive investments from the fund. Look what happened to the oil market in terms of the price, not the crudes.
BP down at 1 percent, ExxonMobil up one-three quarters, for good reason, for good reason, one of main investors or large investors I should say is
about to withdraw. And the news, Norway sent shockwaves through the market. Matt Egan is in New York, joins me now. It's somewhat inevitable
that the prices were going to fall, but does the market or is the general view that the policy is the right one?
MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS LEAD WRITER: You know, Richard, that's a good question. I think you really nailed it, Norway is really concerned that it
is overexposed to oil. It is worried about what will happen if there is some sort of a permanent decline in oil prices. And so you noted that the
energy sector was down broadly today.
But what I think is really interesting is some of the EMP companies that Norway Sovereign Wealth Fund owns, they're down even more. We saw a Apache
and Adaco, Chesapeake, EOG Resources, Occidental Petroleum, they're all down more than twice the amount that oil prices are today, and that's
because they are worried that one of their biggest investors is going to gradually cash out.
But you know, it is important to note that Norway Sovereign Wealth Fund is not getting out entirely. They are still going to hold on to their
investments in some of these oil majors. The likes of Exxon and Shell and BP, and they're all hoping that some of these oil majors would start
investing even more in renewable energy in the future.
QUEST: Now, Matt, I don't know too much about the Norwegian Sovereign Fund, although one, it's hard to look at the various points over the years,
but I do know it is widely regarded as amongst the most respected in the world.
EGAN: Right, we're talking about a trillion dollar fund, it's the biggest of its kind and it is looked at as ahead of the curve and forward-looking.
And so, you'll recall that in 2015, Norway Sovereign Wealth Fund actually divested from coal. It did that ahead of other large institutional
And so if you talk to, you know, some of the climate activists, they're still really chalking this up as a win and they say that it's a clear sign
that slowly, but steadily, some of these large institutions are trying to back away from fossil fuels. Now, there's a bit of irony here because as
you mentioned, Norway got its $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund by of course producing oil.
It is still the largest oil producer in western Europe, and it's going to continue to produce more oil.
QUEST: Right --
EGAN: The hope is that it just won't be quite as exposed to oil prices going forward.
QUEST: Fascinating, sorry, good to see you, have a lovely weekend.
EGAN: You too.
[15:45:00] European stocks closed out with the week with another day of losses. Stocks were dragged down by continued concerns over slowing global
economy. Look at the numbers, they tell their own story, the FTSE closed lower as the Brexit stalemate drags on, Theresa May is warning Britain's EU
exit may not happen at all if her deal is rejected on Tuesday.
We continue now. It's International Women's Day, one reporter put the Prime Minister to the test.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Prime Minister, only one question from a woman reporter on International Women's Day, it's pretty for a show, isn't it?
THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: If you weren't able to hear the answer, well, the answers came from a woman Prime Minister, she said that every Prime Minister has been
applauded for their comments on this International Women's Day. We'll explain next.
QUEST: Friday marked the celebration of International Women's Day, and all across the globe, we were taken to the streets to champion gender equality.
In Spain, many women are hosting a feminist strike ahead of the upcoming parliamentary election.
More than 500 street demonstrations are planned according to the newspaper "El Pais". In France, demonstrators marched to call attention to the
gender pay gap and discrimination. At the same time, the Australian Prime Minister is telling women your empowerment shouldn't come at a cost to men.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT MORRISON, PRIME MINISTER, AUSTRALIA: Gender equality isn't about putting girls against boys. See, we're not about setting Australians
against each other, trying to push some down to lift others up. That's not in our values. That is an absolute liberal value that you don't push some
people down to lift some people up.
And that is true about gender equality too. We want to see women rise, but we don't want to see women rise only on the basis of others doing worse.
We want everybody to do better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Scott Morrison's comments sparked a backlash on social media. The Senator Sarah Hanson Young tweeted, "men who are threatened or worried of
women achieving equality is the problem." Morrison's party service on gender imbalance, only 22 percent of liberal party members in parliament
Now, Mr. Morrison's predecessor Julia Gillard was on a panel with Meghan Markle this morning. She also published a column in "The Guardian"
newspaper, saying "gender equality isn't a women's issue, it's good for men too." Julia Gillard established the Global Institute for Women's
Leadership at King's College last year.
[15:50:00] Back in September, she told me more progress must be made.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIA GILLARD, FORMER PRIME MINISTER, AUSTRALIA: We're just putting a simple case that we want to strive for a world of gender equality. That
merit is equally distributed between the sexes, that we live in a world where whether it's politics or leading corporations or the law or news
media or technology, less than 30 percent of leadership positions in all of those fields are held by women and we can do better than that.
And we can do better in how we evaluate women's leadership which shouldn't include streams of horrible stuff on social media.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Get out your phones, your tablets, your devices and join our conversations, and go to cnn.com-slash-join. The question tonight is are
quotas the answer for equality in corporate leadership? In other words a specific number, for example, 30 percent perhaps.
Brenda Trenowden is the global chair of the 30 Percent Club and the head of the Financial Institutions Group at ANZ Bank. She's also an adviser to an
independent review into upping the number of women in senior positions at FTSE companies. She's with me now, good to see you.
The -- we can deal quickly with the Australian Prime Minister's -- was it - - what was it that he said that was so objectionable? Because most women in professions would agree, yes, we got here our own way, but not just on the
back of pushing somebody else down.
BRENDA TRENOWDEN, GLOBAL CHAIR, 30 PERCENT CLUB & HEAD, FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS GROUP, ANZ BANK: Right, I think all the women that I know and
work with would certainly say the same thing and we certainly think it's not a zero-sum game. You know, I didn't hear his whole speech, so I think
when you take one sentence out of context, sometimes, you know, things are misinterpreted.
So, I would agree that we don't want to be pushing other people down to bring people up, we want everybody to be rising up. We want everyone to
benefit from greater inclusion actually.
QUEST: And what is the -- what is the biggest issue bedeviling now women in senior positions, do you believe?
TRENOWDEN: Well, I wish there was just one issue, Richard, that it would be easier to solve, but it's a multi-variety problem and therefore requires
a multi-variety solution. But there are lots of things, there are definitely unconscious biases. You know, there are stereotypes and norms
that everyone has in their heads about what leadership looks like, that I think holds women back.
You've certainly got lack of sponsorship. You know, you've got culture. I think the big thing that the 30 Percent Club is focusing on this year is
really looking at the inclusion side of the DNI equation. So we've spent a lot of time trying to create a lot more diversity, hire more women or
under represented candidates.
But we haven't spent enough time thinking about how to make culture more inconclusive for everyone. And so I think that is part of the biggest
issue is one type of dominant culture --
QUEST: And yet in the workplace, most companies have a veritable forest of policies, you know, pages on the website, mission statements galore about
it and are still seeing to somehow fumble in the final hurdle.
TRENOWDEN: So policies are great, and words on a website are fantastic. But what we see is that, first of all, the leadership of the company, the
CEO has to take this seriously because it's good for their business, and they have to communicate that authentically.
They then have to do a diagnostic of where the challenges are in their own company because every company is different. But I think one of the biggest
challenges we see is that all of this has to be implemented by managers.
QUEST: Yes --
TRENOWDEN: You know, a lot of the problem comes into that middle management layer. And certainly in my experience, companies don't value
management the way they used to, they don't train managers as much. And if you think about it, when people have bad experiences -- nearly if
companies, they tend to leave managers, they don't leave companies.
QUEST: If we take the United States, surely, the biggest example of just the difficulty that the -- of gender issue is taking the idea of maternity
leave in the United States which you'll be aware of course, is -- you know, you're lucky if you get a few weeks pay and back to work or you're in
If you have a society that doesn't recognize that only half the population is genetically capable of having the next generation, then it's going to be
very difficult to introduce other policies that will facilitate that.
TRENOWDEN: So I think a lot of people think that, you know, maternity leave and having babies is one of the big issues, it's one part of the
problem, but it's not the whole problem. And I think --
QUEST: But I guess what I'm saying is, if you don't deal with something as big as that, then you're --
TRENOWDEN: It's a critical piece --
QUEST: Starting, you know, it's much more difficult to start to deal with the other areas.
[15:55:00] TRENOWDEN: So you're right, the U.S., I think is far behind in that space, and happily in the U.K., a lot of companies are now introducing
equal, you know, parent leave for both women and men. And so, I think you're right. I think once we see, you know, men taking leave as well --
QUEST: Yes --
TRENOWDEN: And sharing with their wives or with their partners, then, you know, we'll start to see more equality definitely.
QUEST: Looking at the result of our poll tonight, it's a very -- it's a -- you know, 75 percent say quotas are not the answer. Would you agree?
TRENOWDEN: We would, the 30 Percent Club is against quotas. We believe that, you know, voluntary business-led targets have a better result. So
I'll give you an example. For those of us --
QUEST: Right --
TRENOWDEN: With children, if you force your children to do things, you don't get the same sustainable result that you do if you talk to them and
you convince them to do it because they want to do it.
QUEST: Thank you for coming in and on a Friday night, good to see you --
TRENOWDEN: Thank you very much --
QUEST: Thank you very much. Few moments left on Wall Street, we'll have a great look at the numbers, the Dow is well off the lows of the day, despite
worrying news on the trade -- look at that, that is what you call a serious rally. Even though Chinese officials are no longer planning for President
Xi to visit Mar-a-Lago for a trade and signing summit, it doesn't matter, the markets is only off 22 points now. We'll take our profitable moment
after the break.
QUEST: Tonight's profitable moment, five years ago tonight, MH-370 went missing. For some inexplicable reason, the Malaysian government will not
authorize a new search even one by Ocean Infinity that is privately funded on a no find, no fee basis. It is inexplicable.
It's no, you're simply saying, well, we will do it if there's a credible reason, we don't want to get people's hopes up. I tell you, those
relatives of those who perished, they don't mind, they'd rather you're out there searching on the off chance and the possibility than sitting at home
and thinking well, is it credible enough?
The reality is the Malaysia, China, Australia, the politics of MH-370 have been dreadful at most throughout the time. And now there's still an
opportunity to go back out and search in the areas most likely at somebody else's cost. I cannot see why you wouldn't get that search underway again
on the 5th anniversary is a good opportunity to do it.
And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight, I am Richard Quest in London. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it is profitable. The
weekend is upon us, the Dow barely down, the bell is ringing, the day is done.