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Quest Means Business
Merck Shares Soar on New Antiviral Drug Data; Australia to Ease Strict International Travel Rules; Joe Biden Tries To Break Stalemate on Infrastructure Bill; Australia-E.U. Trade Talks Delayed Amid Submarine Spat; E.U. Trade Chef: We Decided To Postpone Australia Talks; Venezuela Turns "Digital Bolivar" To Fight Inflation. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired October 01, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: It is Friday. We have an hour left of trading, and the Dow starts with a triple digit gain, so the quarter, the
last of the year is looking, I wouldn't say good, particularly by what we've been through this week, but one and a half percent up is better than
down if you're long in the market.
The markets are frothy, and these are the main events, and this is one of the main events as to why. The drug company, Merck says low and middle-
income countries will get its new COVID drug, and the company's shares are up nine percent.
After more than a year in isolation, Australia is ready to open its -- reopen, I should say -- its borders.
Inflation in Europe hits its highest mark in 13 years. The Commission's Executive Vice President is on the program tonight.
Live from New York. It's Friday, first of October, payday, I am Richard Quest, and I mean business.
Good evening. We begin tonight with a possible significant breakthrough in the fight against COVID, and it's in the form of a pill. The pharmaceutical
giant, Merck says it has developed a pill that may cut a patient's risk of hospitalizations or death by a half.
Molnupiravir it is called and it could fight the virus early on before a person gets to hospital. The company said it is planning to adjust the
price of this medication to a country's ability to pay. We've seen that before, of course with things like HIV. It says manufacturing deals are
already in place to make the pill available to more than a hundred lower and middle income countries, and it plans to apply for EUA, emergency use
authorization with the F.D.A. as soon as possible.
Merck's shares are up strongly. Needless to say, Pfizer and Moderna are down. If Merck's pill works, then vaccinations might not be as necessary,
as they are now. All of which is grist to the mill for discussion this Friday with our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, who is with
So, you've got the symptoms, you take a pill, and what? You get better, or you don't get worse?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It depends, and I'll get into that in a minute, Richard, but I want to just address something
you just said. Vaccinations are still going to be so necessary even with this pill, I can't emphasize it enough. Vaccinations keep you from getting
infected and getting sick. This pill treats you once you get sick. You don't have to be a genius to know that prevention is better than treatment.
So what they did with this pill is they looked at more than 700 people who did not have COVID, half of them got this antiviral pill, half of them got
a placebo, and at the end of the month, eight people in the placebo group, the folks who got sort of like a fake pill, eight of them died; at the end
of the month, none of the people who got the pill died. And hospitalizations were also cut dramatically between the drug group and the
This is important data, it went so well, in fact, Richard that a monitoring board that was watching all these results have come in, they said, hey,
guys, hold on a minute, we need to stop this trial, because we need to give Merck a chance to apply for emergency use authorization. Ethically
speaking, we need to stop it because it's going so well, so we can get this pill out there.
QUEST: And also, of course, ethically speaking, the poor eight people on the placebo side who died as a result of it, they've been able to -- so
this is fascinating. If this pill -- I mean, they're going to get EUA or something similar, it will come along all things considered. So when do you
COHEN: The folks in the clinical trial, they took it within five days of getting a positive COVID test. That is very, very soon. You have to act
quickly with this drug. As a matter of fact, they tried this drug in hospitalized patients, it didn't work so well.
But if you take it early, it can work well or at least that's what we're hearing in these results. So again, within five days of getting a positive
COVID test, so very quickly.
QUEST: All right, and who benefits? I mean, we're getting into the sort of the ethics and the morality in the sense of those countries that can't
afford it, buying the pill to give people who once they've tested positive, but as you say, it requires a test to know when to take it; otherwise, you
could be taking it somewhat liberally and unnecessarily.
So it's -- I need you to help me understand, how does it benefit those developing world countries who do not have medical infrastructure say for
COHEN: So those countries might decide, and I don't know how they do it, but they might have already decided with treatments. You know what, we
don't need to see a positive COVID test. If you've been exposed to someone who has COVID, and you have all the symptoms, we're going to assume you
have COVID. It is possible that there are places if you don't have testing widely available, that they're just sort of making a diagnosis without the
testing. That may be the way that this works.
But Merck says that they are committed to tiered pricing based on the country's income, and there's a second thing that's really, really
important. They say that they are committed to allowing generics in these low-income countries, and that's huge, because once you get a generic in
there, the price comes down and the price is already low relative to sort of the other treatment that you can get early on in COVID, which is
monoclonal antibodies, so the price is already relatively low compared to this other treatment.
QUEST: We will watch it closely. Please come back when there is more to report on this particular one, thank you. Elizabeth Cohen.
And there is more interesting news on the COVID front tonight as Australia says, it will relax some of the world's toughest rules for international
travel, and it could happen as soon as next month. Then, the government will reopen its borders and allow vaccinated citizens and permanent
residents to quarantine at home, not at a hotel, bearing in mind, the extremely expensive, limited form of COVID quarantine that they've had in
It's another sign of the country is moving away from its zero-COVID strategy. The vaccination rate in Australia has now caught up with the
United States. CNN's Angus Watson reports from Sydney.
ANGUS WATSON, CNN PRODUCER: An announcement that tens of thousands of Australians around the world have been waiting some 18 months for as the
coronavirus pandemic has raged. Those Australians going increasingly desperate to get back home as Australia has persisted with a system of caps
on the numbers of Australians and residents allowed into the country each week.
On Friday, Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison said those caps would be scrapped. The borders of the country would be thrown over open, inviting
Australians from overseas back into the country, as well as residents, but only if they've been double vaccinated.
Those people will be allowed to quarantine for seven days at home, and vaccinated Australians and residents can still come in, but there will be a
cap on that number and they'll have to quarantine in state managed isolation as people do now.
Now, this shift from the government is a reflection of the Australian government's desire to live with the virus, instead of pursuing this COVID-
zero policy, which has seen the borders closed. The Australian government says that that saved many lives and isolated Australia from the pandemic as
best it could, but it has hit the economy and it's kept people away from their homes and from their loved ones.
So some weeks to go perhaps until we find out whether tourists will be invited back to Australia in the coming months. For now, November is the
time that so many Australians around the world will set to be able to return home for the first time perhaps in the pandemic.
Angus Watson, CNN, Sydney.
QUEST: It seems like we've reached the endgame for the pandemic in many cases. Zero COVID strategies have been abandoned. Vaccinations are keeping
cases down and now the announcement from Merck's pill could radically change the way it is being managed.
Shares in the vaccine maker Pfizer and Moderna are down very sharply. Well, not so with Pfizer now, it was off earlier, Moderna particularly, but that
is a one horse -- one trick pony, Moderna. So if vaccines aren't so significant or has significance, then Moderna will hit it much more than
Dr. Saad Omer is the Director of Yale's Institute for Global Health. He is with me from New Haven in Connecticut. Good to have you doctor on a Friday.
Now, so judge for me the significance please, or assess for me the significance of the Merck pill and this idea of now, basically, because if
you take the Merck pill, and you add in Australia's announcements, you basically get to have a view of we're living with COVID.
DR. SAAD OMER, DIRECTOR, YALE INSTITUTE FOR GLOBAL HEALTH: I think this is a very good day in the pandemic world. Obviously, this is not the end game
right now, but this is significant progress. And the fact that this is an oral pill means that it can be delivered in places where intravenous
therapy is not possible. It can reach more people earlier in their disease course et cetera.
So this will have substantial impact. One thing I should clarify that this is a complimentary strategy to vaccination. It doesn't replace vaccines,
but it is a pretty substantial tool in our new toolbox.
QUEST: If most of the world is not going to reach the Holy Grail of herd immunity, 80 to 90 percent, then we end up with the sort of life we've got
at the moment. And I not sure I see a way out of that, Doctor.
QUEST: I mean, I go about my life here in New York. I go to restaurants. I go to cafes. I get on the subway. Sometimes I wear a mask, sometimes I
don't have to wear a mask. Is this the future for the foreseeable?
OMER: Fortunately, no. It will be a dimmer switch, it's not going to be, you know, bright, all of a sudden, and things will be normal. Things will
improve if we do this right. It's not a given, but there is a path out of this. And the path out of this is that the virus is likely to become
endemic in the sense that through vaccination, and plus through immunity induced by infection, there will be a significant number of people that do
not provide sufficient levels of protection to eliminate the virus, but enough that it appears in terms of these flares that attract attention, but
they do not disrupt the life at the national or global level.
QUEST: Okay, but what about this sort of panic crisis when somebody you know, or you've been at dinner with tell you a day later, turns COVID, and
you then have to self-isolate or this that or the other. At what point do you think -- and I'm talking about vaccinated, fully vaccinated people --
at what point will we be in a position where we have a dinner guest, the next day says, I've come down with the flu, you just wish them well, but go
about your business?
OMER: I think we will be at that level of certainty and mental comfort when the rates go down to levels approximately around early summer in the
U.S., for example. And then you know, so the bottom line is when the rates go down, and these are the mechanisms to get there.
The other thing is today's news adds another layer of protection that even if a small proportion do get sick at that level, we have another more
convenient and unreasonably effective tool to take care of them. So all of this will help us get there. We are going in that direction. I am a little
bit concerned about a winter flare up in a few countries. But overall, I think that the long term outlook looks good.
QUEST: I was going to say, don't pour water just yet. Let's leave on a high note for a Friday. It's a good day with the pill and with Australia,
with its announcement, and it's good to have you, sir. I wish you well for a good weekend. Thank you.
President Biden is not having a good day. He is not having a good several days actually. He is still trying to rally support for his infrastructure
bill. And so the nuclear option is off to Capitol Hill to try and get the bill over the line. If you can't do it on the phone, turn up in their face.
QUEST: After a tough September, Q4 is off to a good start on the Street. The Dow is higher. We're off more than one percent for the week, but just
look at that, straight the way up. By the way, it is Merck that is dragging this thing up. Merck is up 10 percent. Admittedly everybody else is up.
So you've only got Walmart and J&J. Obviously, J&J is down because it's the other vaccine. But it is Merck that's dragging. And Disney is doing really
well as well. So strong day --financials are up.
The big heavyweights, Boeing, Merck, and the like, they're the ones that are dragging the market up over 600 points nearly two percent.
At the same time, Fitch has warned that the U.S. could lose its AAA rating if the debt ceiling fight goes to the wire. President Biden is going to
meet with House Democrats on Capitol Hill, he has gone there, and that'll happen a few moments from now. The goal is to break the stalemate on a $2
trillion infrastructure bill, the top priority of the administration at the moment.
It has passed the Senate, but it doesn't have support from progressive House Democrats because they're worried it doesn't do enough for climate
change or expand the safety net. The House Speaker is Nancy Pelosi, and she believes Democrats can make a deal and there will be a vote.
Phil Mattingly is with me from the White House. Well, if you're a betting man, Phil, unfair question, deeply unfair, but it's Friday, if you're a
betting man, do they get this over the line?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: What's your timeline? I mean, I think --
QUEST: Good one.
MATTINGLY: Yes, I will hedge until there is no more hedging left to hedge. Look, Richard, here is kind of the way things stand right now, right? There
are two proposals. There's the $1.2 trillion infrastructure proposal, the Senate has passed it. The House will have the votes for it as soon as they
get the second proposal, and that is a roughly $2 trillion to $3 trillion economic and climate package. Those two are interconnected whether people
want them to be or not. That is what progressives want.
And until they get a very clear signal from a couple of moderates in the Senate who are a little more wary of that piece, they are not willing to
support President Biden's infrastructure package.
Here's kind of the state of play as it stands right now. As of the course of the last 24 hours, things have absolutely started to kick into gear
moving towards some type of resolution, some type of guarantee or commitment that would get those progressives on board for the
infrastructure bill. Well, they're very not there yet. That is exactly why the President is heading to Capitol Hill.
That said, it's still going to take a while. It's still going to take a while.
QUEST: Every time I hear the President going to Capitol Hill, I think of Jed Bartlet, in the "West Wing" walking up the mall to Pennsylvania Avenue
in that famous edition. You're probably too young to remember that one. But is it like that? Is he going there to knock heads? Or is he going there to
cajole? Is he going there to do a deal?
The President doesn't often go to the Hill.
MATTINGLY: This will actually be the President's first visit to talk to House Democrats. So, a good baseline particularly over the course of the
last four to 12 years is absolutely nothing that happens in Washington is like what you saw on the "West Wing" pretty much ever.
However the President's weight, what he brings to the table, kind of from between the bully pulpit and what he represents for the Democratic Party is
very, very real, very substantive and does have power, and I think that's what the White House is going for right now.
They're not going to have him twist individual arms, they're not going to - - for him to berate Democrats and tell them it's time to get in line. What I've been told is the President wants to go there really more, elevate the
conversation, take the temperature down and make clear, this is about my agenda. This is what we ran on. This is what we can deliver on. And there
are real tangible benefits for the people that elected you if we are able to move forward on this.
QUEST: I'm not playing poker with you, Phil Mattingly. You have brilliantly managed to avoid giving away anything in terms of your views on
when this is going to end.
Good to see you, sir. Thank you. Have a lovely weekend.
The U.S. Labor Secretary says corporate greed is responsible for a worldwide increase in child labor. A new report from the Labor Department
says that for the first time in decades, the problem is getting worse.
The pandemic has forced schools to close. And of course, many parents have lost their jobs. Yes, Marty Walsh told me it's companies who deserve much
of the blame.
MARTY WALSH, U.S. LABOR SECRETARY: Quite honestly, in a lot of ways, it comes down to, in my opinion, greed, corporate greed, by taking advantage
of these young people. This is a horrible situation, and we have a lot of work to do in this area.
QUEST: It's not only in the developing world, is it? Because there are many -- I mean, we know from the CNN Freedom Project, there are many
examples in the developed world, the advanced economies, including, of course, the E.U. and the United States.
WALSH: Yes, I know it is. And that's where I think the corporate greed comes into play. I mean, the fact that we have little kids that should be
in school, getting educated, getting an opportunity to be able to fulfill their life and all of their dreams, and to see a report like this, I mean,
obviously, in my last role as Mayor of Boston, we didn't have a lot of conversations around child labor.
There were a lot of laws and protections in the City of Boston in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but when I assumed this role as Secretary of
Labor, that's one of the areas that I was really alarmed by and shocked by.
I had seen these reports before, but now, I have hopefully a real opportunity to make a significant difference around the country. Yesterday,
we talked about the report. And the next step now is how do go back? Move this pendulum back the other way again?
QUEST: Corporate greed. I'm focusing on this because I do sort of believe that corporations are a large part of the answer because if they didn't pay
for the product, then it wouldn't happen.
WALSH: No, that's true. And when I say corporate greed, I'm talking about the end result, the end product, the product that's on the shelves, the
product that's being sold, and many of these companies are making good revenue, good money with these products, and I don't begrudge them. Many of
the top echelon people of these companies make good money, I don't begrudge them either.
But I want them to be cognizant of the fact that their product, some part of their product is made by child labor or produced by child labor and they
have an opportunity, a real opportunity. And I think we have to bring these corporations to the table with us because they can be the biggest influence
in changing this form of abuse quite honestly to our kids.
QUEST: If we look back, finally at child labor. It's been with us for centuries. There have been so many numerous attempts to deal with it. I
guess, I'm asking is there some hope, bearing in mind the steps that if things went backwards last year, so is there hope?
WALSH: There's always hope, and I think that we have to keep that at the forefront. This is going to be a big challenge for us in the world. It's
not just an American issue. It's a worldwide issue. But I think that we have to be -- we have to continue to move a day at a time to push back and
combat on child labor.
QUEST: The U.S. Labor Secretary. The shortage of semiconductor chips is hurting auto sales in Europe, and companies are struggling to meet demand.
In France, new car registrations were off 20 percent year-on-year. That's after back-to-back months of drops in sales because of shortages of chips.
The CEO of Citroen says the problem is a very complex crisis that will last into next year.
The CEO of Citroen is Vincent Cobee. He is with me now from Paris via Skype. Sir, it is very complex, but what is the problem?
VINCENT COBEE, CEO, CITROEN: Oh, first thanks, Richard, for having me. The problem has been long in the making. So it might be a bit long in the
solving if I could say. You know, we've experienced the pandemic worldwide for the last 18 months and a number of things took place during that time.
First, consumer electronics have gone up volume wise. I mean, people have been continuing buying every type of consumer electronics. At the same
time, investment into industries and including chip industries have been put on hold.
So first, you have a growing mismatch between demand and supply. Second, some of the plants mostly in Southeast Asia have been locked down due to
COVID at a time where the market demand was still going on in the Western world.
So it is that immediate --
QUEST: If you then have that scenario for somebody like yourself who needs chips and lots of them, what do you do?
COBEE: Yes. The first thing you do is you bypass tier one, tier two suppliers and you go straight to the chipmaker because as you realize, we
talking to equipment providers would in turn talk to another type of secondary supplier and then comes the chipmaker as a third level, so we
went straight into the chipmaker and tried to straighten their production plan, the visibility of what we're doing.
COBEE: Second, we're trying to optimize our use. We're trying to change technology to fit our demand to the actual variable, type, and quantity of
chips. So it's a bit of a daily battle, right, as you probably know, we've been on crisis management for a number of years in the car industry
QUEST: You may have been on crisis management, but you've still managed to come up with some interesting concepts on urban mobility as part of the
Urban Collectif if we look at the car that you have sort of been coming up with.
Now, you know, on the one hand, I look at the idea of this platform for a vehicle or this platform for transportation that you've come up with, and I
also think, oh, hang on, look at it. It's got more chips -- chips everywhere.
COBEE: Yes, but I think we should not confuse the short term with the long term with chips. The chips is a crisis that will last, nobody knows, but
two quarters, three quarters, maybe a year, but it is not going to last forever.
The concept you're talking about is basically a very radical innovation brought forward by Citroen and some other partners, namely Accor and
JCDecaux to say, we could get to urban transport to a better footing if we were to separate the technological costs. So electric mobility and
autonomous mobility from the customer experience.
So you have those cages that embark technology, the pods, that could be an infinite combination of pods, and this cage would come and pick up the
pods, even when needed, so you could transport goods at night, transport people to the office in the morning and during the day.
QUEST: How important are these concepts? These platforms? I always look at them and you know, particularly at auto shows, at car shows, and you see
them. You see these sort of the wild and the wonderful ideas.
But I often wonder at what point do the bean counters and the realist get involved and say nice idea, it won't fly and we can't make money at it?
COBEE: You know, we -- as you say, concepts are basically a physical transformation of creativity. We are testing waters, we are creating new
shapes, we are creating new modes. So a traditional concept car in a Motor Show, the point is to express styling ideas to try new body types to get
the reaction of both consumer and professional and media about okay, should we go in that direction?
So you never see them translate in reality, but you get a feel about, does this have traction? Does this have legs? Is that something on which I
should invest money?
The one you're talking about, this urban mobility concept is actually a call for discussion. If you say to the city operators or transport
operators, you know what, together we could do better. This onslaught of scooters, mopeds, bicycles, ride-hailing, car-sharing is fairly
disorganized, not so efficient and potentially dangerous sometimes.
QUEST: Vincent, it's lovely to hear you talking about these bigger issues because there has been a major reset for all of us in our mentalities in
the post-pandemic world, and we are grateful.
Sir, we look forward to having you back. Thank you.
COBEE: Thank you, Richard.
QUEST: Now, as we continue on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight, who called off the deal? Who -- or the trade talks, I should say -- was it the
Australians? Was it the Europeans?
Now, when we come back, I'll ask the E.U. Trade Commissioner what happened on why the E.U.-Australia talks are postponed.
In a moment.
QUEST: Trade talk in Australia and the E.U. have been delayed. For some reason more fallout over the orcas deal on submarines. The Australian trade
minister referenced the spat between his country and France over nuclear submarines when he announced the delay. Now, the Australian will now meet
the E.U. trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis in November, not 1this month as scheduled. The commissioner joins me now. He's with me in New York.
Commissioner, who did delay or postpone the talks? Was it the Europeans or the Australians?
VALDIS DOMBROVSKIS, E.U. TRADE COMMISSIONER: Good afternoon. Indeed, as regards EU, Australia negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement. We decided
to postpone as a negotiating around for one month, so we'll do it rather in November instead of October because on the E.U. side, we need to reflect on
the implications of the (INAUDIBLE) arrangement and what it means for so to say as the base and substance of our further negotiations.
And another important element is -- what I would like to highlight is an our new trade policy strategy published already some time ago, we outlined
as it will be also seeking commitment to the carbon neutrality, notably from G20 countries when negotiating new free trade. It's also important
element to see how Australia is moving concerning the question on carbon neutrality.
QUEST: But just one more on this question. The E.U. now seems to be having an all full one on one for all approach. Bearing in mind this was a major
military bilateral matter between France and Australia that the union has now decided it concerns them as well.
DOMBROVSKIS: Well, first of all, indeed, there is a solidarity between E.U. member states. And there are a number of issues where Indeed, we are
supporting member states when they are facing one way or challenges or another. And as regards trade, trade is E.U.'s exclusive competence. So we
are negotiating as a bloc of 27 countries who are not negotiating Free Trade Agreements so to say each country separately.
QUEST: On its -- continuing this idea of talk, here in the U.S. with the U.S. talks, the new U.S.-E.U. tech council. Now the -- you decided to go
ahead with those talks and despite the ISOC argument, and I'm guessing that's because these U.S.-E.U. talks were significant because essentially,
the two trade blocs are hoping to set the future trade agenda for the developed world. Is that fair?
DOMBROVSKIS: Well, indeed. So this week in Pittsburgh, we launched a trade and Technology Council between E.U. and U.S. And indeed as both E.U. and
U.S. are trading superpowers if we are coordinating our approaches on trade, on new technological developments. We can influence this negotiation
also globally. And we can shape technological standards, for example, in line with our Western Democratic values and the human centric approach to
QUEST: Now, Commissioner, you're also the chair of the group on the economy working for the people. Now, one of the things that's interesting is
Europe's energy crisis has sent inflation soaring much higher. Let's take a look. And you'll see inflation was 3.4 percent in the Eurozone in
September. And that's at levels not seen since the 2008 financial crisis. Energy prices were up more than 17 percent. How worried are you about that?
DOMBROVSKIS: Well, indeed, inflation in recent months how picked up. We basically sees that most of those effects are temporary due to the supply
chain disruptions, due to substantial stimulus which is provided to the economy and correspondingly strong demand side. So what we see as we
restore the functioning of supply chains, we can actually address also as inflation. So as regards energy, we also see mainly temporary factors
driving energy prices but there -- important element I would like to highlight.
So the main reason is high natural gas prices. And we are now discussing as a European Green Deal, how we will actually been phasing out fossil fuels
to be less dependent of these kind of fluctuations.
QUEST: We're talking indeed, your colleague Greg Hanley joined us earlier in the week. The European Energy Commissioner. I wish you all, sir. Thank
you for joining us this evening, and a safe journey back to Europe to you and your team. I know you're leaving straightaway for the airport. Thank
To Venezuela next where the government is turning to digital currency to address its problems with hyperinflation. The new digital bolivar is worth
a million sovereign bolivars. It's equivalent to 20 U.S. cents. It's the third time in 15 years when as well as issued new currency. Basically,
you're just lopping off zeros along the way. Stefano Pozzebon is with us from Bogota. I've heard it all now, haven't I? Let's lop a few more zeros
Let's redo the currency. But if I understand you right, there is no change in the economic policies. Therefore, we'll be back to square one.
STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Frankly, Richard, you couldn't have said it better. That's correct. Venezuela has resorted yet again, to the
traditional practice of chopping of zeros of their currency. Think about it that since Maduro's predecessor, Hugo Chavez, took power in 1999. There
have been three new currencies in the last 15 years. Meaning that one of the new digital bolivar that is launched today is worth 100,000 billions.
One, followed by 14 zeros of the very first bolivars that used to be circulating in Venezuela in the early noughties. The government is calling
this new currency a bolivar digital. A digital bolivar is a way as a tactic yet again to combat hyperinflation to discourage people from using cash and
instead rely on electronic payments because you don't -- you don't need to keep printing up new cash to keep up with the pace of inflation, Richard,
in that case.
But we know Venezuela is plugged by many economic problems, including a chronic shortage of electricity blackouts occur on a daily basis in that
Caracas. And frankly, 60 percent of Venezuelans do not even use the bolivar for their everyday economy. Most of them rely on U.S. dollars to get by and
do their everyday purchases, Richard.
QUEST: So, thank you. Can it be long before they go the El Salvador route and try something weird with Bitcoin? Good to see you. Have a good weekend.
Thank you. I want to show you the markets very quickly. Good viewer wrote, we're saying that we weren't telling you enough about what's happening with
the markets. There they are. There is the triple stock. We are strong gains across all which is interesting because I think it's more of a reflection
on what's the recent losses rather than a change in any fundamentals that's happened.
But we are now seeing the Dow, the S&P and the NASDAQ both up. And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'll be with you at the top of the hour. Together
we'll make a dash for the closing bell. But that's only after you've enjoyed Africa Avant Garde. This is CNN.
QUEST: I'm Richard Quest. Let's have a dash to the closing bell. We're just a minute or two away. A new drug discharges a potential breakthrough in the
fight against COVID-19 has fueled optimism on Wall Street. It's from Merck, who's behind the new antiviral pill and it's led to Dow higher. The Dow as
you can see is up by more than 500 points and it's rising for all boats. The Dow, the S&P and the NASDAQ up a strongly, oak strong start to the
quarter for all the averages.
The E.U. trade commissioner has admitted the E.U. postponed the latest round of trade talks with Australia. Speaking around QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Valdis Dombrovskis said the recent spat with France over nuclear submarines was hanging over the talks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOMBROVSKIS: As regards E.U. Australia negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement, we decided to postpone as a negotiating around for one month, so
we'll do it rather in November instead of October because on the E.U. side, we need to reflect on the implications of the (INAUDIBLE) arrangement and
what it means for -- so to say as a base and substance of our further negotiations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: And to the Dow as we start the new quarter, and if you look at the demoed the Dow 30, strong, Merck is obviously up at the top but Merck
actually is only not that much in terms of the percentage. The percentage is great, but not in terms of the weighted average of the Dow. So Merck is
not dragging the market up. Say for example, as much as Boeing which is up 2.8 percent.
But you have this swathe of green with big gains, eight percent, four percent, three percent, three percent and you look at the losses P and G,
Johnson and Johnson obviously it's on the back of the opposite sides of the Merck stories for there. And Wal-Mart which is off 1-3/4 percent on issues
of its own. As the markets are looking as we come to the end of what's been a turbulent week.
Volatility is back at least for the time being and property until Washington sorts out its mess. And that is our dash to the bell. I'm
Richard Quest. Whatever you're up to in the weekend ahead, I hope it's profitable. On Wall Street the closing bell is ringing. And "THE LEAD" with
Jake Tapper starts now.