Return to Transcripts main page
First Move with Julia Chatterley
The Federal Reserve Holds Firm on Stimulus; The E.U. Drug Regulator to Present its AstraZeneca vaccine fin dings; Super Nintendo World Opens in Japan. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired March 18, 2021 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, FIRST MOVE: Live from New York, I'm Julia Chatterley. This is FIRST MOVE and here is your need to know.
Powell's perma-patience. The Federal Reserve holds firm on stimulus.
AstraZeneca answers. The E.U.'s drug regulator to present its vaccine findings.
And Mario's moment. Super Nintendo World opens in Japan.
It's Thursday. Let's make a move.
Welcome once again to FIRST MOVE this Thursday where we focus on central banker caution, U.S.-China deliberation, and a major E.U. dosing decision,
all of these things potential drivers of sentiment and the price action today.
We are lower premarket in the United States after the Fed's soothing monetary message strengthened stocks yesterday. We'll call it
consolidation, but it's bigger than that.
Europe also mixed, but Asia did pick that baton from yesterday. The Nikkei and the Hang Seng gaining over one percent in the session today now known
as persistently patient Powell. The Fed Chair reiterated that they are looking for a complete recovery, so growth upgrades and temporary, they
call it inflation risks aren't enough to justify reducing or pulling back support any time soon.
We've got to remember the United States still down some 9.5 million jobs since the pandemic began, and the latest jobless state issues 770,000
people filing for first-time benefit claims last week, still higher -- just to give you some perspective -- than the worst point of the great
recession. Just one of the reasons perhaps why most Fed members, though not all, and that's important, too, believe Central Bank's set rates should
stay rock bottom levels through 2023.
Now Powell may be patient, bond investors increasingly impatient. Yields on the rise again today to fresh 14-month highs for that U.S. 10-year yield.
They are now, in fact, predicting a hike overall in bond markets in 2023.
Tell you what though, not all Central Banks have the luxury of patience. Inflation battle hard in Brazil. Hiking rates today as prices there rise to
Turkey, meanwhile raising base rates to 19 percent. Testing times for Central Bankers, but that's nothing compared to the struggle for those that
they are aiming to support.
Let's get to the drivers. Christine Romans joins me now. Christine, I have to say, you could have written the script yesterday for Jay Powell. You
could have also written the script for the bond of market response, too.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I know. Babies in the bond market, right? They're so worried about inflation and
higher rates down the road.
I would remind everyone that rates are still historically very, very low, but look, the next move is likely going to be an interest rate hike, and
that's because the economy is recovering. COVID will be vanquished. Vaccines will do their job eventually.
And in fact, Jay Powell, the Fed Chief is forecasting for this year, I guess, the best economic growth since the 1980s. If it comes true, more
than six percent economic growth which was what the Fed is looking for later this year.
So that's the situation at the moment, and we're all kind of adjusting to this -- this new reality. A new phase I would say, right, Julia? A new
phase in this fight against COVID.
It has been really 52 weeks of just terrible, terrible data, and the Fed Chief, Jay Powell, he said yesterday essentially until the recovery is real
and they can see it, right now, they're not changing anything. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE: We've said that we would continue asset purchases at this pace until we see substantial further
progress, and that's actually progress, not forecast progress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Actual progress, we did not see, and those jobless claims numbers. I mean, I find it hard to kind of -- you and I both have been covering
these weekly numbers, the high frequency data for months now.
A year ago, I don't think I could have imagined that it would be 52 weeks in a row of numbers, each week worse than the most painful, painful period
of the Great Recession, but that is the -- that's normality for the American working people.
So the Fed stimulus, the American Rescue Plan, which is really skewed to low income and middle income working people, these are -- I guess that's
the vaccination for the jobs market. We have to see how soon we get immunity there.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, and this is such a good, important point, I think, Christine, and I think it plays to the uncertainty because even as we see
those payroll numbers on a monthly basis net adding jobs back, what these numbers suggest to me is a degree of uncertainty churn. People can register
for these jobless benefits for the first time even if they don't end up getting them.
It just shows that they are afraid of perhaps losing their jobs or the fear that they are going to lose a lot of hours, too. It's a reminder.
ROMANS: And now, we've been 52 weeks in. It is. Fifty two weeks in, I mean, there's also the end of a benefit year, which is kind of a technical,
I think you're going to start to see some technical noise around these numbers, too, which is really important to watch.
But now, I mean, our eye has turned to inflation data, hasn't it, and the 10-year bond yield. That's really where the focus has been. Jay Powell says
no, no, my eye is right on the job market still.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, exactly, and to go back to the point as well about higher yields as well, if they don't slow the economy down, if they don't upset
the stock market. If they don't upset risk taking then they can rise and to your first point, babies of the bond market, get over it.
ROMANS: Be a good band. We should start a band, babies of the bond market.
ROMANS: Playing at a venue near you.
CHATTERLEY: I love these phrases. I love it.
CHATTERLEY: Christine Romans, thank you. We'll be making some enemies as well.
All right, let's move on, Jay Powell may have the luxury of patience, but some countries where they know the risks of rising inflation, well, they
Turkey and Brazil hiking interest rates today. John Defterios joins us live with all the details.
John, I want to hone in on Turkey specifically. These are countries that know the risks of higher inflation, but there's also a credibility issue as
well perhaps for Turkey, too. If you're going to go do it in size and show the market that you're not going to mess around.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: It's a good way to put it, Julia, sometimes you have to pull out the monetary arsenal, if you
will, to rebuild credibility and that's been in short supply in Turkey.
So Naci Agbal, who is the former Minister of Finance years ago now the new Central Bank Governor tacked on another two percent after doing so four and
three quarters percent the month before and we have interest rates hovering at 19 percent.
What I thought was interesting, and to your point that you're alluding to here, that less than a month ago, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of
Turkey made a plea, a pledge to the Turkish people saying I will have two objectives here. Number one is to restore confidence in the Turkish lira,
which has been under pressure down 23 percent in 2021 alone, and I will put a spear through inflation which spiked up to 14 percent last month.
I think the target -- realistic target is to try to get below 10 percent, 9.4 percent, I think is their official target by the end of this year.
But this is a story that's been going on for a while, Julia. I was on the ground in Turkey on assignment on this story in the summer of 2018.
President Erdogan got into a fight with Donald Trump over weapons purchases from Russia, tit-for-tat sanctions, a currency war broke out and Turkey
lost it very badly at the time, and they haven't recovered since.
CHATTERLEY: No, absolutely, and it's not just about fighting inflation as well. It's about strengthening the lira, which has lost significant ground
I do remember back in the day though where this was a President that said hiking rates caused inflation, quite frankly, but clearly that was a bygone
It's not just a test of the new central banker, though J.D., as well. It's also perhaps for the President to do some clearing out of the Treasury
Department. Would you agree or disagree?
DEFTERIOS: I, one hundred percent agree. He has done some clearing out already, but he was very unconventional to your point. He thought there was
an interest rate lobby against Turkey, so he refused to raise interest rates.
Around elections, he had stoked the flames of inflation by boosting spending to get re-elected. He always liked growth of seven to 10 percent
at that time. He had two very credible Deputy Prime Ministers who ran economic policy. I knew well, Ali Babacan, and then Mehmet Simsek. They
both have told me at different occasions, they really couldn't take that unconventional approach and eventually left.
His biggest mistake, probably in retrospect is he appointed his son-in-law -- sounds like Donald Trump, doesn't it -- Berat Albayrak as the Minister
of Finance, who had no economic experience, and in the two years he sat in that job, he burned through $130 billion. That's a lot of Turkish lira to
try to defend the currency, and that didn't work.
There's even hints he is going to bring him back as an Energy Minister. He has a Party Congress, which is going to be a big test of what he does on
that front, but when it comes to monetary policy, this is the right turn of events and providing that Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance some
independence going forward -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, at this moment in time with U.S. bond yields rising as well, credibility, everything.
John Defterios, thank you so much for that.
All right, the U.S. and China holding their first high level face to face meeting under the Biden administration. U.S. Secretary of State Antony
Blinken is expected to take a tough stance when he meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Alaska later today. It comes after his visits
to key U.S. allies in Asia, Japan and South Korea, and Ivan Watson has been with us every day this week describing those meetings.
They've certainly laid the groundwork ahead of this meeting, Ivan. We will call it an Alaskan Chill. I guess the fact that they're even meeting at all
is a positive, but expectations here pretty low.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think both sides, Julia, have been lowering expectations since we spoke yesterday. The
Chinese Ambassador to Washington who is now in Alaska, he spoke to journalists and said that he doesn't have high expectations for this
WATSON: You've heard the White House say that this meeting could be difficult. Recall that the U.S. government imposed sanctions on 24 high
level Chinese officials over claims that Beijing was further eroding Hong Kong's democracy -- democratic freedoms and autonomy, and China is firing
back saying it's going to have counter measures in the works. We still don't know what they are just yet. So you've got that tension there.
That said, the Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. said there were some hopes that maybe they could find some common ground, that they could work through
some of these differences with dialogue, and both sides do continue to throw barbs at each other.
You've had Antony Blinken accusing China of using coercion and aggression. You've had Lloyd Austin, the U.S. Secretary of Defense saying that the goal
is to maintain a competitive edge over China and China in turn accusing the U.S. of violating international norms with these sanctions of interfering
with China's internal affairs and taking some stabs over the fact that these American officials have been going around the world meeting with
allies in in Tokyo and in Seoul and talking about China.
And Biden also talking last week to the leaders of the so-called quad -- India, Australia and Japan -- which is being perceived as a kind of
coalition challenging China. The Chinese Ambassador had this to say about that. He said, quote: "Some people may think that having conversations with
other countries before meeting with China may help to put pressure on China. I don't think this move is necessary or useful. It's just like
someone who walks alone at night and sings to give himself courage. It actually doesn't help much." Those are the words of Ambassador Cui Tiankai.
Thank you, Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Ivan, I've seen somebody describe this relationship between the U.S. and China as a marriage where both sides want to divorce, but
they're staying together for the children, and it sort of struck a chord with me, the children, this case being things where China and the United
States can't help but have to work together, whether it's on climate change is a huge issue for both sides, particularly prevalent now with the Biden
administration in the Paris Accord, but also things like economic recovery, trade, vitally important that these two countries get on, even if it's an
WATSON: You're right. They are still huge trading partners and still rely on each other even though there is talk of decoupling the two economies,
and I think a big question here is when you have these two diplomats from both governments meeting in Alaska, and you know, it is kind of symbolic
that this first face-to-face meeting is taking place on U.S. soil, will they be able to compartmentalize the different agreements?
Look back at the Trump administration. He triggered a trade war and tariffs. Biden so far has not signaled that he is going to step back from
any of those tariffs. And if anything, he's ramping up pressure on human rights here in Hong Kong and China's record in Xinjiang and in Tibet and
its territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Can they kind of talk about trade, but not talk about human rights? The Chinese Ambassador in Alaska was making it clear that there is no room for
compromise or concessions. I don't know if that is kind of bluffing ahead of the meeting or trying to kind of perform for the domestic audience in
China, and the U.S. side is probably guilty of some of that as well -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, political posturing on all sides, but there still has to be a relationship and they have to work together.
Ivan Watson, thank you so much for that.
The E.U. now. The European drug regulator is set to announce results of an emergency review of AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine shortly. The European
Medicines Agency has been investigating reports of a blood clot in a small number of people who have had the vaccine.
Jim Bittermann joins us now. Jim, the medical agency have been pretty clear up to now. They've said, look, the benefits still outweigh the risks as far
as this vaccine is concerned. What are we expecting them to say today as a result of this investigation? And I guess the most important part is how
the E.U. nations that have been sporadic in their response, then react?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is going to be something to behold, I think, Julia. In fact, this has really kind of a
real debacle as far as the Europeans are concerned rolling out the vaccines and especially AstraZeneca.
This all started a couple of weeks ago when doubt was expressed by Angela Merkel of Germany and by President Macron here in France, over whether or
not it was effective over the age of 65. They cast some doubt on the AstraZeneca vaccine.
BITTERMANN: And then in a very sudden move that kind of surprised everybody on Monday, the Germans said they were going to suspend the use of
AstraZeneca temporarily until they got some kind of a ruling on this question about blood clots from the European Medicines Agency, which is
meeting in an emergency meeting right now.
There was a cascade of countries after that, including France immediately thereafter, and other countries who suspended the use of as the
AstraZeneca. It was suspended so quickly that in fact, some doctors said that they had syringes filled with the vaccine and ready to go, ready to
inject in people's arms, and in fact, they had to throw them away because the government ordered them to be suspended, ordered the campaign to be
suspended, at least temporarily.
Since then, they've tried to roll this back because here in France, for example, they took a public opinion poll, and they discovered that only
about 20 percent of the French had confidence in AstraZeneca, after all of this publicity surrounding it.
So since then, they've been trying to roll it back from what they had on Monday. On Tuesday night, the Prime Minister said he was happy with
AstraZeneca and he happily had himself on TV being vaccinated with it, and the head of the European Commission said the same thing, that she basically
felt that she thought it was okay.
So we're expecting the drugs -- the Medicines Agency to rule that it's okay. But in the meantime, the drug skepticism, vaccine skepticism has only
grown in this country and probably in other parts of Europe as well -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Wow, Jim. That was a shocking statistic, vaccine hesitancy and a reduction in the amount of trust in any vaccine at this critical moment,
desperately, I'm sad to see quite frankly, particularly at the moment and I have a minute for you to explain.
Now, we are expecting France, in addition to other E.U. nations that have already stepped up restrictions this week. France expected to do the same
BITTERMANN: Absolutely. That's what we are waiting for, just two hours after the Medicines Agency has their press conference, we are getting a
press conference from the Health Minister and the Prime Minister here and we're expecting them to talk about new restrictions, because the numbers
are just exploding in France.
Overnight, Tuesday night, they had 29,000 new cases and then overnight last night, 38,000 new cases. So the numbers are just really going through the
roof in terms of new cases. This disease is spreading, and I think particularly in the Paris region, and that's what we're expecting to see in
this news conference from the French is that they'll lockdown maybe on the weekends, or movements in the Paris region, maybe some parts of the --
other parts of the country as well. We're not real sure.
We'll have to see what the Prime Minister says about -- well, in about three hours from now.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, Jim, we will look out for that. Great to get your insights as always, and stay safe, please.
Jim Bittermann there. Thank you.
All right, let me bring you up to speed now with some of the other stories making headlines around the world. Russia reacting after U.S. President Joe
Biden said he thinks Vladimir Putin is a killer. The Kremlin is recalling its Ambassador in Washington, saying Mr. Biden's remark about the Russian
President is "unprecedented," quote, and relations with the United States will be discussed once the Ambassador is back in Moscow.
More questions surround Tuesday's deadly shootings at three spas in Atlanta, Georgia. Six of the eight people who were killed were Asian women.
Investigators say it's too early to know whether the attacks were racially motivated. The Atlanta Mayor says it's hard to ignore the fact that the
targets were all Asian massage parlors.
A man has been charged with four counts of murder and one count of assault.
The creative head of Tokyo Olympics has stepped down after making derogatory remarks about a female performer. Hiroshi Sasaki's departure
comes after the President of the games Organizing Committee also had to resign after making comments many found sexist.
All right, still to come on FIRST MOVE, tire maker, Pirelli's plants stay open despite new COVID crisis. The CEO keeping the wheels turning during a
And how Shopify simplified e-commerce and revolutionized retailing. The President of one of the past year's success stories joins us later.
Stay with us, that's coming up next.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE live from New York where the volatility and rate sensitive technology stocks continue. The NASDAQ on
target for a drop of more than one and a half percent, all this as 10-year U.S. bond yields rise again on higher growth and inflation expectations.
Look at that, the NASDAQ off some 1.7 percent premarket.
Blue chips though, holding up on a relative basis. The Dow beginning of the session still at record highs, soaring past 33,000 for the first time ever
in Wednesday's session. Talk about a reversal of fortune. The Dow now the big gainer of all the U.S. majors in 2021, up almost eight percent so far
thanks to strength in economic reopening stocks.
Reopening concerns, meanwhile, persist in Europe. Morgan Stanley today warning that fears of a third COVID wave and slower vaccine rollouts
imperil Europe's hopeful summer rebound.
Italy tightened COVID restrictions earlier this week. France as we discussed in the show earlier is expected to announce fresh lockdowns later
The European industry doing its best to work around the curbs. Italian tire maker, Pirelli says its sites in both countries remain open. It has
experienced operating some of the toughest COVID hotspots with 19 plants in 12 countries including Brazil and China.
And joining us now Marco Tronchetti Provera, he is the CEO of Pirelli. Sir, fantastic to have you on the show with us. Just talk about your operations
both in hotspots like Brazil and in Italy, how are you managing to remain open despite the challenges? And obviously, how are you protecting your
MARCO TRONCHETTI PROVERA, CEO, PIRELLI: First of all, there is a strict control on temperature, masks, distances, temperature continuous control.
And until now, all the factories are open. And even in Brazil, where the situation is getting worse and worse, we continue to have quite a good
control. The number of people affected by the virus under control. Zero in China, few in Europe, and a few hundred in Brazil.
CHATTERLEY: So you're managing -- you're managing to manage it. You've also announced that you want to make vaccines available to your workers. It
was an announcement made in the last couple of days. What does that mean in practice? How are you going to manage that?
PROVERA: We already organized the spaces where doctors can vaccinate people. We are waiting the authorization from the Lombardy region and
Piedmont region where we have our factories, and we are ready. So spaces are available, all the chain is under control. And doctors are in agreement
with us from hospitals are ready to start, so as soon as we have the clearance, we start.
CHATTERLEY: But it's voluntary. You're not going to force your employees to take the vaccine if they don't want to.
PROVERA: No, no, no. It is voluntary. But for the tests, we made until now, in Italy large majority of employees and workers are ready to be
CHATTERLEY: And that's a good sign. All right, let's talk about your business because 2020 was pretty devastating for the entire car industry
wherever you look in the world. And it was already going through a period of disruption, whether it is electric vehicles, ride sharing, electric
Marco, can you give us a sense of what your expectations are for 2021. We're seeing recovery in some parts of the world, challenges in others.
PROVERA: We see that we are recovering fast in 2021. China is back on track. Europe with some difficulties because of the virus and the pandemic,
but there is also in Europe a recovery. U.S. is doing better and better. Latin America is still weak, but we were expecting a couple of months also
in Europe, the situation will improve.
And also for the automotive industry, electrification for us is positive, because our technologies are fitting very well with the new requirements of
the electric cars.
CHATTERLEY: Explain that to me, please, because we've been talking a lot over recent weeks about the development of electric cars, and there's
clearly a lot of excitement about the proliferation and the growth of that market in particular.
Tires, given trying to reduce the weight and the pressure or the effort it requires for the battery to move the car around is also a critical part of
reducing the weight of the entire vehicle, I believe. Why are your tires specifically useful in this regard?
PROVERA: Our tires, because we have technologies that allow us to produce lighter tires with better volume resistance. So that means a reduction in
the consumption of energy. And more than this, we are also able to cope with the acceleration of the electric cars that they go much faster, the
torque momentum is more difficult to be handled, and being used to work with the high end cars.
We are improving our technologies, the performance of electric cars, and more than this, we are introducing sensors inside the tires that are
providing information for safety and environment.
We launched the first sensor link to the electronic of the cars with the new McLaren, the first a car that is full supplied with sensors inside the
CHATTERLEY: How do they compare in terms of cost, Marco, relative to ordinary tires?
PROVERA: Electric cars, the top cars, the difference in price can be around 10 to 15 percent because of technology. When we include those sort
of sensors, obviously the price goes up, but the service, it's very useful for consumers.
CHATTERLEY: Absolutely. You announced this month that prices in the United States will be rising by around seven percent in tires, that's the second
price increase we've seen in the space of 14 weeks. You think the market can sustain those kind of price increases? And what about the prospect
potentially of announcing price increases elsewhere in the world?
PROVERA: First of all, it is a must because the raw materials are increasing in prices. Prices were very low. In 2020, the market was very,
very, very low level, and so prices went down. Now, we are just recovering. That is not -- we don't see an inflection effect on this. It is just
recovering from the previous reduction and from the raw material's price increase.
CHATTERLEY: Okay, good to know. Sir, great to have you on the show. Thank you so much for your insights and fingers crossed for the recovery you were
PROVERA: Thank you. Thank you for your hospitality.
CHATTERLEY: Great to chat with you. Marco Tronchetti Provera there, the CEO of Pirelli.
The market opens next. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. U.S. stocks are open for trade this Thursday and it's a tough one for tech already, reversal from
Wednesday's post Fed gains.
Fed Chair Jay Powell assuring investors Wednesday, that the Central Bank is data driven, and will not pull support until we get a complete U.S.
recovery. Something we don't expect for some time.
Powell saying he is not sweating the big moves in the bond market, but today's rise in the 10-year is perhaps catching his eyes, certainly
catching investors' eyes. Look at that yield, a 14-month high on expectations of higher growth and rising inflation.
And unlike the Fed, the bond market reacting fast to the changing economic landscape. That growth optimism evident in just released U.S. factory
numbers, too. Manufacturing growth in the Philadelphia region now at a 50- year high, more than doubling this month alone.
Now, for evidence of the e-commerce boom, look no further than Shopify, the platform for web stores. It is reporting jaw dropping revenue growth of 86
percent in 2020. Shopify now has 1.7 million sellers, representing 40 percent of the total value of goods sold on Amazon's third party
Wow. That makes it the largest provider of software and services for merchants to run their own online stores.
And Harley Finkelstein is President of Shopify. Wowsers, Harley, great to have you with us. Those are some stunning numbers, and I think it is
evidence of the fact that lots of small and medium sized businesses recognized last year that they needed to be online during the pandemic, and
a lot of them came to you for help.
HARLEY FINKELSTEIN, PRESIDENT, SHOPIFY: They did. Thanks for having me, Julia. It's actually -- I mean, there's a lot obviously to be anxious about
in terms of being in the middle of a global pandemic, but there's also a lot to be optimistic about and I think that everyone, you know, one year,
almost to the day post the pandemic starting, I think everyone wants to know, what does the future of retail and commerce look like?
And I think the 1.7 million merchants and the brands on Shopify, but more generally, independent and direct to consumer brands, in general, will
establish the blueprint for that future.
And so it's actually from a retail perspective, it's a very interesting time to watch consumer behavior shift and watch consumers vote with their
wallets to support these local independent brands.
CHATTERLEY: I've seen them -- Shopify described as arming the rebels, and you mentioned it with this enabling independent retailers to survive and
what is an incredibly challenging time.
It's a time great opportunity, too, to your point, but also a challenging time when so many people flood to big players like Amazon, for example. Do
you see yourselves as arming rebels?
FINKELSTEIN: Yes, in many ways, I think the big marketplaces are trying to build these empires. And so if you use that metaphor, then what Shopify is
doing is trying to give the rebels or the small businesses the same tools.
Remember, for a very long time, independent entrepreneurs just did not have access to very simple things like building a very beautiful, scalable
online store. They didn't have access to payment rates or capital, or shipping and fulfillment services.
And so what something that is missed about the Shopify story is that if you were to think about Shopify as a retailer, just for a moment, we're not a
retailer, pretend we were for a moment, you would realize that we were the second largest online retailer in America.
The reason I use that analogy and that example is because when you are the second largest retailer in America, you get these massive economies of
scale. But instead of keeping those economies of scale for ourselves, we actually get to disseminate them to those entrepreneurs or small
businesses, so that the rates they get on shipping and payments, we've given them more than $1.7 billion worth of capital.
Their ability to do two-day affordable shipping, we can help them do that.
And so now that the supply side, you have these independent retailers having this incredible, scalable online experience and offline experience,
you also have the demand side where consumers are saying, well, we prefer to buy from independent retailers, and that's why you see companies like
Allbirds and Bomba and Loungewear and Tommy John underwear and Beyond Yoga start on Shopify, very, very small businesses and grow to be category
leaders in a timespan that is super short relative to retail in the last couple hundred years even.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, it just expands the marketplace so dramatically when you can sell online. I mean, you're operating now in or you're powering
businesses in more than 175 different countries, and to your point about being effectively the second largest retailer in the United States. It's
why I wanted to make that point about the scale versus what Amazon is doing in terms of their marketplace. You're huge.
What are you seeing internationally? And what are the opportunities for growth in some of the international markets, too? Can you get to the same
kind of relative scale that you have in the United States, do you think?
FINKELSTEIN: Yes, so let's start with the international markets. First of all, what do they buy? So international consumers, we have watched them in
2020, and even into 2021 shift their behaviors in the pandemic in response to the stay-at-home orders.
I'm now talking to you from Canada. We are in code red right now. There's a curfew in place in Canada and in some provinces and so we very much are
still in the pandemic.
But from what they're buying, we see in places like France, sales of mobile phone cases were actually down more than 650 percent whereas lotion and
moisturizers are up more than 90 percent.
In Germany, we've watched watch sales, like watches decreased by about 120 percent, where hair products rose more than 220 percent.
In Japan, earring sales have increased more than 1,100 percent where pen sales have decreased more than 130 percent.
So that's what they're buying.
Let's talk about sort of how they're buying. They are buying unequivocally more than ever before from these independent direct consumer brands. Half
the consumer that we surveyed tell us that they look for independently owned businesses to support because they want to support entrepreneurship.
They want to buy unique products, but they also want to support their local economies.
And whenever possible, consumers are choosing to shop at a locally owned business because they believe that will strengthen the economy. It's going
to help create jobs. It'll help support job creation, and they believe in investing in their community.
And the end result for Shopify is that we have actually seen triple digit growth in new store creations in places like the U.K. where we have 106
percent growth, Germany 126 percent growth, and Japan more than 228 percent growth on Shopify.
So again, when we talk about arming the rebels and getting those independent brands to compete with the largest of retailers, that's only
happening, it's happening at a disproportionate rate and consumers are voting with their wallets to support that change.
CHATTERLEY: Do you think that's sustainable? Even post pandemic? Because this is, for so many reasons, fascinating, this idea that consumers have
shifted their behavior, but they are trying to support local domestic businesses. Do you think that continues after the pandemic?
FINKELSTEIN: Yes, so two things will continue. One is this idea of omni- channel is no longer going to be a fad. If you're going to be a great brand that's going to have longevity, that's going to be important in the future
of retail, you have to sell wherever your consumers are.
And so the reason that Shopify is becoming more of a retail operating system, as opposed to just an e-commerce provider is we want to help
merchants sell from Shopify on places like Instagram and Facebook and walmart.com and Pinterest and anywhere which are sort of the digital main
streets, the digital town squares of the future. So that is not going away.
But the second thing is this appetite from consumers to buy direct, that's not going away. The reason consumers did not initially buy direct from
these independent brands was it wasn't that convenient.
So for example, the idea of one click checkout which was so you know, proprietary to these big marketplaces that's available on Shopify with Shop
Pay, which we know is now 2x as fast -- excuse me, 4x as fast and converts 2x as well as a regular checkout.
FINKELSTEIN: So by giving the tools that traditionally only the biggest companies and the biggest brands can afford to small businesses, you really
do level the playing field.
And here's something else that's really neat. What we saw during the pandemic was a lot of bigger brands, like Heinz Ketchup or Lindt Chocolate
or Schwinn bicycles, they also came to Shopify and began acting more entrepreneurial.
And in some cases, for the first time in the history of these century old companies, they started selling direct to consumer as well.
So there is no going back, direct to consumer will be a mainstay and will be the future of retail.
CHATTERLEY: This is so fascinating. I always come up with some questions that I want to ask before an interview and I abandoned them all because
what you were saying, which is taking me off in completely different directions. Harley, come back soon.
FINKELSTEIN: I am sorry about that.
CHATTERLEY: No, no, I love it. Come back soon, because we are going to talk again. There's loads more to discuss, but fantastic to have you on the
show and to see what you guys are doing.
And I have to say, evidence of the fact that I was never effectively locked down is I went through four phone cases in the last year. That was quite
fascinating, too. Harley, great to have you on. Thank you so much and congrats on what you're doing.
FINKELSTEIN: Thank you, Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Harley Finkelstein there, the President of Shopify.
All right, coming up after the break, who can resist a trip to the Mushroom Kingdom where they're serving up cartoon food that you can actually eat.
Selena Wang tries out everything on offer at the New Super Nintendo World in Japan. We are there next. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. It has cost half a billion dollars to build and suffered multiple delays because of the pandemic, but now the
doors of Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios in Japan are finally open with plenty of safety measures, of course.
Selina Wang has been road testing the attractions and trying out the food, which I saw on social media and I was very excited, Selina. At all the
toughest jobs. Tells us more.
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Julia, yes, it was an exceptionally fun and special topic to be covering especially during these COVID times and
honestly, at opening day today, there was so much energy and excitement that even with the masks and COVID-19 measures, they kind of felt like a
pre-pandemic time sort of atmosphere.
I spoke to a lot of the attendees who had been playing these Nintendo games since they were kids and some of them even said that they felt emotional as
they were walking into this life size creation of the Mushroom Kingdom.
Now, this theme park was supposed to open last year ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Of course, both had been delayed by about a year and it was
expected along with the Olympics to drive an influx of tourism to boost economic activity, but capacity limits are limited inside the Super
Nintendo theme park and Osaka state of emergency here was only recently lifted.
While COVID cases in Japan have fallen from peak levels, they are still dealing with a growing number of coronavirus case variants from abroad and
vaccinations in Japan quite frankly have been very slow.
But Julia, none of that dampened the excitement at the theme park today.
WANG (on camera): Here we go entering Super Nintendo World through the warp pipe. Follow me.
And here we are, a life-size replica of Nintendo's most popular games. You've got Yoshi's Adventure, Bowser's Castle and Peach's Castle and all
the iconic characters.
After nearly a year long delay because of COVID-19, this theme park in Osaka's Universal Studios, Japan is finally open to the public.
We're getting a sneak peek before the big crowds come in.
But this is how things look during COVID. Your temperature is taken at the entrance. Hand sanitizer is everywhere. Masks are required at all times
except for in mask-free zones.
So I can interact with Mario and Luigi, but there are rules again -- touching. And one of the few places in this whole park where I can take my
mask off or in this photo op area with Mario and Luigi and actually on the ground here there are markers to prove that I need to be a certain distance
away from them, so I am being socially distanced from Mario and Luigi.
Park officials say that this all cost about half a billion dollars to construct and more than six years to develop. Now, the gaming industry and
Nintendo especially got a big boost during the pandemic as more people were stuck at home inside playing Nintendo games.
Games have become real life in this part, the whole park is interactive. You can even compete against other people here. And just like in the Mario
video games, I've got this power band on my wrist and I can just punch up on these blocks and I get points in the Mario app on my phone.
And this is what many fans are most excited about, Koopa's challenge, a real life Mario Kart race through Bowser's Castle.
All right, I'm about to get on a real life Mario Kart ride. I've got to put on the augmented reality headset here. Clip it in. All right, let's go.
The augmented reality headset got a little bit of getting used to, but I was racing through the Mushroom Kingdom next to Princess Peach, Mario and
I'm not great at the video game version of Mario Kart, I think I might have fared slightly better in the real life version.
For Nintendo, this is an important step beyond his core business of video games and consoles. It's cashing in on its treasure trove of intellectual
property and iconic characters here in the store and in the restaurant.
Kinopio's Cafe. We're here in the Mushroom Kingdom and mushroom themed food is everywhere. It looks like cartoon food, but it's edible.
WANG (voice over): She told me, "When I saw all this, I got emotional. I've been playing Nintendo games since I was small." "It's not exaggerated
to say that Mario Games raised me."
"This is all beyond my expectations," she told me. "I feel like I'm in the Mario World."
"I get worried about COVID when I take off my mask to eat," he said, "But the park is taking safety protocols, so I feel safe."
WANG (on camera): Japan's borders are still closed, so international travelers aren't allowed in this park yet, but there are plans to open
Super Nintendo World in Florida, California and Singapore.
Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto says he wants the world to come visit when the pandemic is over.
WANG (on camera): It was a joyous celebration today, but this opening does come as the global theme park industry is struggling and as parks around
the world are opening in a patchwork.
In fact plans to open some Super Nintendo World in Orlando have reportedly been delayed until 2025. But what we are seeing here, analysts say is a
transition for Nintendo from a video game company into an entertainment one, taking a page out of Disney's playbook.
Now earlier today, I also spoke to the CEO of Universal Studios Japan and asked him what Nintendo games he plans to bring to life next. He didn't
give any specifics, but did said that they are continuing to invest in the park.
And it's also worth mentioning that a Comcast executive recently said that Nintendo is one of the biggest drivers of attendance potentially of any
intellectual property up there with "Harry Potter" predicting that this Super Nintendo World is going to be a big driver for its theme park
business -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Fantastic. So much in there, and it looked like you were having a lot of fun. Did you actually try the food? I'm really preoccupied
with this. Did you actually try that food?
WANG: Okay, so that big table of food you saw, I did not get to try all of the food but I didn't get to try some of the mushroom shaped burger, which
is pretty good and the block tiramisu. It was pretty delicious.
Oh, and I must not forget there was a very sweet star jelly drink I had, too, so a very difficult day indeed -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: When it opens up in the United States, the jelly drink -- it is all about that jelly drink and the head wear as well, some of those
people wearing -- and the false moustache. Love it.
Selina, great job. Thank you so much.
WANG: It was amazing.
CHATTERLEY: I can tell. All right, coming up on FIRST MOVE, as we await the results of AstraZeneca's vaccine review, how countries in Asia are
handling the vaccine rollout. Full details, next.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. As we await news from the European drug regulator on its review of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine, many nations
across Asia aren't hesitating. Across much of the region, they are continuing to use the vaccine including in Thailand, India, Cambodia, and
The AstraZeneca vaccine also plays a critical role in COVAX, the vaccine program aiming to have two billion doses available in 2021 for developing
Kim Brunhuber has all the details.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): To the sound of snapping cameras, Thailand's Prime Minister becomes the first person in the country
to get AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine. His shot in the arm kicks off its use across the nation.
PRAYUT CHAN-O-CHA, PRIME MINISTER OF THAILAND (through translator): I've been ready to get vaccinated for quite a while. I'm thankful for all the
medical staff who have been working to get the vaccine for the Thai people.
Today, I'm boosting confidence in the vaccine for the general public.
BRUNHUBER: Thailand is continuing AstraZeneca's rollout after a brief pause following European reports of bleeding, blood clots and low platelet
counts found in a small number of those who received the vaccine.
While it's been suspended in more than a dozen E.U. countries, most of Asia seems to be deeming it safe. Indonesia is the region's only nation to say
AstraZeneca's vaccine is currently suspended.
But from Thailand to India to South Korea to Australia, vaccination campaigns continue in the fight against coronavirus.
PAUL KELLY, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, AUSTRALIA: In any large vaccine rollout, we do expect to see unusual events and we monitor very closely and
carefully for those. But this does not mean that an event that happens after vaccination has been given is indeed due to that vaccine.
KELLY: So we do always take it seriously. We do investigate, but in this situation I can absolutely say that I remain confident in the AstraZeneca
vaccine that it's safe.
BRUNHUBER (voice over): AstraZeneca, meanwhile, is doubling down on the safety of its vaccine. It says that of the 17 million people vaccinated in
the E.U. and the U.K. so far, blood clots were, quote, " ... much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population."
The World Health Organization said in a statement Wednesday that it believes, quote: "The benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh its
That may be especially true in countries like India, where COVID deaths continue to rise in a pandemic that's claimed more than two and a half
million lives worldwide.
CHATTERLEY: And the update from regulators due 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, so we'll be watching for that.
And that's it for the show. If you've missed any of our interviews today, they will be on my Twitter and Instagram pages in the coming hours. Search
In the meantime, stay safe and "Connect the World" is next.