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Quest Means Business
Reports: Amazon Plans To Lay Off Thousands Of Workers; Crypto Execs Try To Ease The FTX Collapse Fallout; Biden Meets Xi For The First Time Since Taking Office; Zelenskyy Claims War Crimes Committed In Kherson; Ukraine Facing Winter Humanitarian Crisis Amid Power Issues; Ukrainians Living With Blackouts Amid Damage To Power Supplies. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired November 14, 2022 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS HOST: After a choppy morning, the Dow is now up. You can see the lift after some midday comments from the Fed Vice
Chair, the Dow is up about a quarter of a percent or 85 points. Lael Brainard, saying that it may soon be time to slow rate hikes. Those are the
markets and these are the main events.
Jeff Bezos tells CNN that he plans to give away the majority of his fortune.
The US and Chinese Presidents kind of thaw frosty relations in a face-to- face meeting.
And the CEO of Ukraine's steel giant, Metinvest is with me. We'll talk about the struggle to operate in the current power crisis.
Live from New York, it is Monday, November 14th. I'm Rahel Solomon in for Richard Quest, and I too mean business.
Tonight, Amazon is reportedly planning the deepest job cuts in its 28-year history. "The New York Times" says that the e-commerce giant intends to
layoff around 10,000 people starting this week.
The company's founder, Jeff Bezos spoke exclusively with CNN on Saturday, he said that shoppers should hold off on big ticket items, and companies
should reduce their risk in the face of a likely recession. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF BEZOS, EXECUTIVE CHAIR, AMAZON: I don't know whether we're technically in a recession, you know, economists argue over that and they have certain
technical definitions. What I can tell you is, the economy does not look great right now, things are slowing down.
You're seeing layoffs in many, many sectors of the economy, people are slowing down. The probability, say, if we're not in a recession right now,
we're likely to be in one very soon. So my advice to people whether they're small business owners, or you know, is take some risk off the table.
If you were going to make a purchase, maybe slowdown that purchase a little bit, keep some dry powder on hand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOLOMON: And Bezos sat down exclusively with CNN's Chloe Melas. She joins me now.
Chloe, it was a great interview. It was wide ranging from football to space travel. We're going to talk about the economic threats in just a moment
with our next guest, but one thing that I think is getting the most attention is this pledge to give away most of his wealth, and it is a lot
of wealth. It's about $124 billion. What did he tell you? What do we know about that?
CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Yes, well, look, Rahel, he has been criticized for not coming out and signing the Giving Pledge, and we
have seen a very high-net worth individuals like Warren Buffett, Elon Musk sign this, which states for those of you that don't know that they are
going to donate half of their wealth to philanthropy in their lifetime.
And Jeff Bezos sitting down telling me that he intends to give perhaps even more than that. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELAS: When you go, when you look at your net worth, it's too much money to even spend in a lifetime. Do you plan to give away the majority of your
wealth in your lifetime?
BEZOS: Yes, I do, and the hard part is figuring out how to do it in a levered way. It's not easy. You know, building Amazon was not easy. It took
a lot of hard work, a bunch of very smart teammates, and I'm finding and I think Lauren is finding the same thing that philanthropy is very similar.
It's not easy. It's really hard. And there are a bunch of ways that you -- I think, that you can do -- and effective things, too.
So we're building the capacity to be able to give away this money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELAS: So that interview was done at their Washington, DC home over the weekend, the first time that Jeff Bezos, and his partner and Vice Chair of
the Bezos Earth Fund sat down together, Lauren Sanchez.
And, you know, again, like you said, we talked about a wide range of topics, but one of those other topics was space travel. And I had to ask,
do you believe that all of us are going to be able to get a ticket to space sometime in our lifetimes?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEZOS: She is a future astronaut.
LAUREN SANCHEZ, VICE CHAIR, BEZOS EARTH FUND: Yes, I am ready to.
BEZOS: She is ready. She wants to go.
SANCHEZ: I am ready.
MELAS: Are we talking in 2022? Or are we talking soon?
SANCHEZ: Well, that's pretty quick. Not by the end of 2022, but 2023.
SANCHEZ: No, he's already been.
BEZOS: We'll see. I think she has some ideas about who she wants to go with. We'll see.
SANCHEZ: I think it will be a great group of females.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELAS: Okay, so we're hearing here first that Lauren Sanchez plans in 2023 to go to space with Blue Origin, an all-female crew. It doesn't sound like
Jeff is going to be taking to the skies with her again and then again like I said, he also told me that he believes that space travel will be
attainable in our lifetime. He referenced the Wright brothers and how far that has come with airplanes in just a hundred years.
So he said, if that can happen in a hundred years, imagine what the next fifty to a hundred years could look like.
So, Rahel, it sounds like you and I, we will be going to space someday sooner than we think.
SOLOMON: Well, we'll have to see because thus far, the tickets have been very expensive. So, we'll see if they can bring it back down to Earth. But
Chloe, while I have you, we have time for one more question. Speaking of back down here at Earth, we know that things are still very expensive
because of inflation.
And also, these warnings that Bezos made about a recession. He is also causing quite a bit of a stir with those comments. What did he tell you
about his thoughts about whether we're entering a recession?
MELAS: He said that even the best economists in the world would not be able to say either how long a potential recession could last and he says he is
not sure if by the technical definition if we are in a recession, like you heard.
But he said on Twitter recently, batten down the hatches. He said, you know, don't go out and spend money on big extravagant items because you
really need to keep some cash on hand right now. And so look, very tough economic times. We're seeing so many layoffs in the tech industry,
companies and the reported layoffs at Amazon. It is a tough time across the board, especially as we enter the holiday season.
And you know, he gave some advice that made him feel very human and empathetic and I really enjoyed that.
SOLOMON: Well, I think, look, with inflation at 7.7 percent, I think a lot of people would agree with you, Chloe, that times are tough economically
It was a great interview. Thanks for bringing it to us, Chloe.
MELAS: Thank you so much.
SOLOMON: You're welcome.
And Amazon would be the latest tech company to announce major layoffs. Last week, you might remember, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, said that
it is cutting more than 11,000 jobs. Elon Musk slashed Twitter's workforce in half after taking over the company.
Lyft, Snap, Microsoft, and Stripe have all announced layoffs in recent months. You might notice something though, these are all tech companies.
Stephanie Roth is a senior economist at JPMorgan, and she joins me from New York.
Stephanie, thanks for being with us today.
So, I want to start there. I mean, we have heard from quite a few tech companies that have announced layoffs, and the question for me is, is this
a more ominous sign about what we might see in the broader economy? Or is this just a tech specific story?
STEPHANIE ROTH, SENIOR ECONOMIST, JPMORGAN: As of now, it appears to be mostly tech specific. It appears to be a bit of a silo there.
That said, we do you think that the economy is likely to tip into a recession in the middle part of next year. So, it is really being felt
right now in the areas that benefited from the pandemic, but as interest rates really filter into the economy, and it broadens out, we do think that
we'll see broad based layoffs. Still a little early, we don't think the economy's in recession now, but the recession talk will be in big picture
in the middle part of next year.
SOLOMON: Do you feel comfortable giving an estimate? I mean, we're at 3.7 now for the unemployment rate, any forecasting of where you expect
unemployment to go in 2023 or beyond?
ROTH: We think the recession will be a normal looking one. We don't think it'll be severe, nothing like the financial crisis, but we do think
the unemployment rate could tick up towards that six percent. That would be on track with the similar type of increase that we've seen historically,
especially when monetary policy is the driving force behind the recession.
So, that's kind of what we're anticipating. We think that core fixed income is really attractive right now. You could have a nice return with rates
likely to rally on the back of that, you get a nice yield, and then on top of that, you can have equity-like returns.
SOLOMON: It's interesting, though. I mean, I think when we talk about unemployment rates from 3.7 to six, as you just said, I mean, that does
imply millions of people, millions more people losing their job. And so, it's a pretty stark forecast.
Stephanie, one thing that got my attention in some of your notes earlier is that when you talk about the Fed and inflation, you say, the Fed needs to
bring down service inflation, which is really what matters at this point.
When I think of service inflation, I think about the impact of labor, wages and that sort of thing, and so I wonder what would it take to bring down
service inflation with the labor market still very strong, you still have 1.9 open jobs for every American looking.
ROTH: That's exactly the challenge the Fed is facing right now. The layoffs right now we're really just concentrated in the tech sector. Until it
broadens out, we're not going to really see enough of a relaxation on the service sector inflation.
So once you start to see companies paring back the hiring, once you start to see more broad base layoffs, service inflation is really going to come
down. That said, the CPI report that we got last week was an encouraging sign. You are starting to see the disinflation out of the goods sector. And
some areas, even within services are starting to cool, so that's starting to happen, but we're unlikely to see core inflation back down to the Fed's
target of two percent until the economy is really weakening more significantly and we see the labor market slack start to pick up.
SOLOMON: What's interesting, Stephanie, as you know I'm sure is that although consumer spending has slowed, consumers are still spending, right,
and it's such an interesting time in the economy, of course, because of what the pandemic did to balance sheets and checking accounts, people still
have quite a bit of pad.
And so I wonder, I mean, does that mean that we are much more likely for a soft landing? Or do you think that at some point, it is inevitable? We'll
work through that pad and we will start to see a more typical recession?
ROTH: We are starting to work through some of those excess savings, so they were previously well over two and a half trillion. Now, it is down
towards a trillion dollars' worth of savings. It is probably just a matter of time. This is just prolonging the slowdown that we're seeing.
Eventually, we do think it is likely the economy will tip into a recession. Of course, is a soft landing possible? Yes. It's just a really challenging
needle to thread. The Fed hasn't historically had done this before. So, we think it's a really challenging one with inflation that is high.
SOLOMON: And I think even for the most optimistic of economists, I think, you know, folks are becoming less than less optimistic as time goes by and
each rate hike begins.
Stephanie Roth, thank you. It's good to have you.
And CNN has learned that Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating collapsed crypto exchange, FTX. It comes as the wider industry attempts
Internal document show FTX's balance sheet only had $900 billion in liquid assets that is to backup billions of dollars' worth of liabilities, and
that is sending crypto.com CEO on the defensive. He is reaffirming to investors, the strength of his exchange's balance sheet.
Binance's CEO is also working to try to calm the market. Changpeng Zhao says that his company, Binance is starting a recovery fund to help other
crypto companies that are also facing liquidity issues and he is also calling for more regulation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHANGPENG ZHAO, CEO, BINANCE: There is a lot of risks. We're in a new industry. We've seen over the past week, things go crazy here in the
industry. So, we do need some regulations. We do need to do this properly. We do need to do this in a stable way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOLOMON: Matt Egan is with me now in New York.
Matt, good to have you. So, this THIS started with an FTX story. That was the story, that was the headline, but what you have started to see as the
days have gone by is this has really become more of a concern about crypto, I think, at large and some of the other crypto exchanges, and I think the
question and the concern here is does this become a defining moment for the industry?
MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Rahel, I think the industry would certainly hope not, but it is clear that the FTX bankruptcy has really set off an
earthquake here and we're still experiencing these shockwaves right now. I mean, remember, FTX is a huge player. It was just a very popular place for
both individual investors, but professional investors as well to invest in crypto.
And so the fact that they are now bankrupt, at a minimum, that is tying up billions of dollars in customer funds, but ultimately, legal experts say it
is possible that customers end up getting very little or even nothing back in this recovery process, and that can have all of these knock-on effects.
There can be this cascading impact, where one party loses money and they ultimately have to sell elsewhere, and it can really be hard to get out of
that. But also, the point that you're getting at Rahel here is that this is really undermining confidence in the crypto industry at large.
And so, you know, hearing the Binance CEO go out and talk about the need for regulation, launching this basically as a bailout fund, I think it
really speaks to the level of concern here. And now, we have a situation where authorities are investigating, regulators are swirling and
politicians are searching for answers.
SOLOMON: And I think to that point, Matt, it certainly won't help with confidence, let us talk about that. Now, you have prosecutors in New York
who are apparently looking into this. You have authorities in the Bahamas who are investigating potential misconduct. What do we know about the legal
ramifications of this?
EGAN: Well, you know, just within the last few minutes,. a source familiar with the matter told our colleague, Kara Scannell that Federal prosecutors
are investigating this bankruptcy of FTX. This investigation is being led by the US Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York. FTX has
not gotten back to us with comment nor has a lawyer for Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX.
But we also know over the weekend that authorities in the Bahamas, they're also investigating here. They say that they have a team of financial
investigators looking for potential criminal misconduct, and I think that this is really just the beginning here.
There are a lot of signs that other regulators are looking at this. It is easy to see why we're going to see lawsuits out of this and ultimately,
people want answers, they want to understand how is it even possible that one of the biggest, most well-respected, backed by very famous investors
and celebrities, how could a player of this size and scale collapse in a matter of just days?
And, you know, how was this allowed to happen? And so, I think that we're going to see a lot more pressure on regulators to come up with answers.
SOLOMON: Well, Matt, I think to add to your attributes there, well- respected and well-connected, absolutely. So, a lot more to come here.
Matt Egan, thank you.
EGAN: Thanks, Rahel.
SOLOMON: Now to a handshake that's been years in the making.
For the first time since he took office, US President Joe Biden came face- to-face with China's leader, Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali. They spoke for more than three hours and there was plenty to get
through with tension strains at historic levels over issues, including trade, climate change, North Korea, and Taiwan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We were very blunt with one another about places where we disagreed or where we were uncertain of each
other's position, and we agreed we'd set up and we did mechanisms whereby we would meet in detail with our -- the key people in each of our
administrations to discuss how we could resolve them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOLOMON: And while there was no major breakthrough, the US President announced that Secretary of State, Antony Blinken would visit China and so
that officials from each country will begin to work through issues together echoing a similar mood from China's leader.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
XI JINPING, CHINESE PRESIDENT (through translator): A statesman should think about and know where to lead his country. He should also think about
and know how to get along with other countries and the wider world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOLOMON: And Phil Mattingly joins me now from Bali.
Phil, look, I want to start with this comment from President Biden. I'm not suggesting this is Kumbaya, but I do not believe there's a need for concern
here. There are lots of areas of tension as we just listed there. I mean, what area would you say the most progress has been made.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Man, if you want to know how low the bar was for today, and I'm not minimizing it at all, it
was a meeting that absolutely had to happen and it is one that is incredibly important, probably the most consequential moment of President
Biden's first two years in office.
It's the sound you just played from President Biden, where he detailed that one of the key takeaways from this meeting was that the senior officials
from both sides would be communicating with one another.
Think about that for a minute, the two most powerful countries in the world, the two largest economies in the world, and your top economic
officials are not in regular consultation, your top trade officials are not in regular consultation, your top national security officials are not in
That has been the reality of the last two years, and so just to unlock that piece of thing, to kind of unfreeze just the regular kind of to-and-fro of
diplomacy is a big element here. I think the other one people are very much looking at is on climate change. There were some very real tangible issues
that the US and their Chinese counterparts thought they could work through on that front. That became one other issue that was essentially frozen over
the course of the last couple of years.
The door seems to be unlocked, or at least kicked open a little bit on that front as well. So, those would probably be the two primary ones, with
obviously a myriad of issues that have a lot further to go where they may never find consensus on anything.
SOLOMON: Thank you, Phil Mattingly in Bali. Thank you.
And coming up, a new report from Oxfam finds billionaires are playing an outsize role in global pollution. The CEO of Oxfam Great Britain, talks
with Richard Quest about how to resolve the problem. Stay with us.
SOLOMON: Welcome back.
As the last week of the COP27 Climate Summit gets underway, the world's richest people are facing increased pressure to help fight climate change.
Billionaire Jeff Bezos says that he is trying to do his part. In his interview with Chloe Melas, he spoke about where the Bezos Earth Fund fits
into his philanthropic goals.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEZOS: There are so many places where philanthropists and anybody who wants to donate to charity can put their money to work. I feel like you
have to do things at two timescales. You have to work on the urgent, here now, the immediate and you have to work on the long term.
So the Bezos Earth Fund is sort of about this, it is a 10-year commitment to work on these really big problems that we have on sustainability and
conservation and restoration.
The Day One Fund where we work on the here and now, the urgent -- food security, homelessness, transient homelessness, There are all kinds of very
important problems in that arena, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOLOMON: But according to Oxfam, that might not be enough. Its new report investigates the outsized role that billionaires play when it comes to
pollution. And it finds that they emit a million times more than those outside of the top 10 percent.
Oxfam Great Britain's CEO told Richard Quest why they emit so much more.
DHANANJAYAN SRISKANDARAJAH, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, OXFAM GREAT BRITAIN: Well, their investments emit a lot of greenhouse emissions because they are
choosing to invest still, in industries that are polluting.
Of those 125 billionaires, we could only find one in the public records anywhere who is actually investing in sustainable energy. So you know, as
you say, this is a group of people who are responsible for huge volumes of investment and the decisions they make have huge impacts on the
sustainability of this planet.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": Besides the investments, what else? What are the reasons, I suppose corporate jets and
a high lifestyle emits considerably more.
SRISKANDARAJAH: So one of the things we've discovered is that the role of the super-rich in supercharging climate change is rarely talked about.
There is almost no data, and so my colleagues have had to go and scrape through what's publicly available, whereas we know that the consumption
patterns, the investment patterns of these people does have a huge impact, and we need to start holding them to account.
In fact, if you look across the world, even in the poorest countries, the rich are consuming well above their carbon budgets, and so although it is
important to look at the fair share for carbon across countries, it's just as important to look within our societies and look at the role of the rich
in each of our countries.
QUEST: Danny, I can hear viewers saying, "Oh, for goodness sake, typical Oxfam, there you go, off you go with your socialism. Bash the rich. Higher
taxes, that's all you know."
SRISKANDARAJAH: Well, it's not just us. I mean, one of our partners is called Patriotic Millionaires and it's a group of billionaires and
millionaires, who are themselves calling for higher levels of taxation. And of course, you know, let's not forget that the two and a half thousand or
so billionaires on the planet have seen their combined wealth increase more in the last two years than the previous 14 years put together.
And so, here we are in a moment of world history where the vast majority of humans feel less well off, feel more uncertain, but the super-rich are
seeing their wealth skyrocketing. And of course, at a time when the public purse is struggling to raise resources including for climate action.
QUEST: Now, obviously you're not going to solve the climate problem on the back of this one area. It's a component, isn't it?
SRISKANDARAJAH: It certainly is, but it is a component that is just ignored at the moment, and I think if we want action, meaningful, quick action on
climate change, then regulating the behaviors of these rich people, and ideally also raising resource from them, you know, as their wealth
increases, and as the public purses suffer, it's time we think to look at things like a global wealth tax, which could raise hundreds of billions of
dollars, the sort of resources States need, governments need to fund adaptation, to fund loss and damage.
QUEST: John Kerry said to our correspondent, it will take trillions of dollars every year to sort this out. And no one country obviously can pay
for it, but where does the money come from?
SRISKANDARAJAH: The first thing that needs to happen is that governments need to actually pay up on the pledges they've made to fund adaptation in
poorer countries. But then we need to get clever about how do we raise resources at the global level to pay for these global interventions. And
there's no shortage of good ideas on how we can do that, we just need the political will.
SOLOMON: And coming up next, an emotionally charged visit. Ukraine's president makes an unannounced trip to the newly liberated City of Kherson.
We are there live.
Stay with us.
SOLOMON: Welcome back.
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy made a surprise visit on Monday to the newly liberated City of Kherson. He says that officials have uncovered evidence
of more than 400 Russian war crimes. He says that the situation there remains dangerous despite the retreat of Russian troops.
The Kremlin meantime, declined to comment on Zelenskyy's visit, but says that the area is Russian territory.
Nic Robertson is in Kherson and joins us with the latest. Nick, look, your reporting has been incredible to see these videos and pictures. On the one
hand you have the euphoria and the joy of the people there. On the other hand, we're also learning what life was like under Russian rule.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. One of the interesting things that President Zelenskyy today and there was a lot that
was interesting, but one of them was quite personal. He said he'd come here to sort of get a sense and a feel for that energy, the energy of
liberation, the freedom that people have been expressing because he said that would help motivate him. Motivate him to help lead the country.
And he spoke about that, where the country is going that this is a wave of liberation that's continuing that will continue. But it really is against a
backdrop here of that sense of celebration, of sense of freedom but also of the price that this city has paid.
The joys of Kherson's liberation keep on giving.
How are you? She says. I survived her friend replies. But the Russians kicked my door in and stole everything.
This city once home to more than a quarter million people is still celebrating its freedom. But beginning to count the cost of the eight-month
brutal occupation they endured. The city's phone and internet connection cut, residents crowding around soldiers communications in desperate hope of
contacting loved ones. On their way out, the Russians crippled almost every vital service, electricity off and water too.
This pump close to the river bank, giving water to polluted to drink.
The water stopped when the power went off, he says. This is the fourth day without water. But what can we do? We need to survive somehow.
The Russians even felled the city's main T.V. transmitter.
ROBERTSON (on camera): They blew it up just before leaving. A final act of punishment for a population that until days earlier, they said was part of
Russia and would be forever.
(voice over): That same message, Kherson and Russia together forever plastered on hundreds of billboards around the city is already being torn
Wai Platton (ph) says because eight months of occupation is not very nice. I didn't feel very good living in fear that any moment a car could pull
over near you and bring you to a very unpleasant place.
Olexander (ph) was unlucky enough to be taken to one of those unpleasant places and shows us around the jail he was in. He says the Russians beat
him daily. They abused everyone, kept us hungry, use this as free labor to repair their military vehicles, he says. They were beating us whenever they
(on camera): This is where they say Russians kill people for simply shouting out Slava Ukraine, glory to Ukraine or having tattoos saying the
same thing. And over here in this room, this is where they used to torture people.
(voice over): The fire Alexander says started by the Russians as they left to cover up their crimes.
But it is across the road in Katarina's (ph) church, Russia's oddest brutality was perpetrated. The grave of Grigory Potemkin (ph) fabled in
history for building fake villages was looted days before the Russians left. Father Vitaly (ph) takes us into the gloomy crypt, shows us where
Potemkin's coffin was stolen from.
He here for 240 years through many wars, he says. We honored him as a founder of Kherson, and they took him without permission. Repairs of souls
and city have only just begun.
ROBERTSON: And President Zelenskyy trying to help in that repair saying he will reconnect them and help reconnect them to the rest of the country that
they -- the government is here to help they got erected today. A new cell phone tower that's helping people get connected. First Aid shipment arrived
here as well. Candles, bread, water, you can't get drinking water in this city barely at all.
SOLOMON: Nic Robertson for us there in Kherson. Thank you, Nic.
And all electricity shortages like those in Kherson are being felt across Ukraine.
Now if the power is not restored frigid winter temperatures could trigger a new humanitarian crisis. To this, the colossal damage to the country's
infrastructure. The Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol, a symbol of the country's resistance once produced four million tons of steel a year before
it was besieged.
Yuriy Ryzhenkov is the CEO of Metinvest, owner of the Azovstal Plant and he joins me from London. Yuriy, thanks for being with us today. You know, we
are nine months into this war. Russia's attacks as of late certainly have clearly focused on infrastructure. I'm wondering how challenging are
operations for you?
YURIY RYZHENKOV, OWNER, AZOVSTAL STEEL PLANT: Good afternoon, and thank you for inviting. It is -- it has been difficult for Metinvest to say probably
for us for any Ukrainian over the last few weeks, when Russia started targeting the infrastructure, especially the energy infrastructure, we had
several times, we had requests from the energy company to lower our consumption. And so we had to reduce the load, which we're using it our
As the plants, our first category, plants with dangerous materials. We are not -- we were not being cut off from the electricity completely, but we
have to significantly lower our consumption and use our own generation to support the system. The same time we used to that before in 2014, 2015, we
had similar experiencing Donbas region, again, in the same war with Russia.
So we have the -- we know the drills. As for the civilian population, as for the employees of our company, we are preparing a plan B for the winter.
If everything goes bad, and we do have blackouts in big cities like Kyiv or like Zaporizhzhia or any other cities, then we should have special
(INAUDIBLE) of our employees and their member of the families where they can stay to survive to be in the warms and with electricity.
SOLOMON: And Yuriy, I want to ask, you know, in addition to some of those challenges, just operationally, you know, we got these comments from the
Ukraine's energy minister to the Financial Times essentially saying that look, warning that it could take more companies under state control if they
do not fully back the war effort. I'm curious, are you concerned at all about your company in these nationalization efforts?
RYZHENKOV: Well, as you probably know, as the viewers might have known, Metinvest has end -- and sister company DTEK has started to help the
country in this warfare from the very first days. And we supply a lot of military protection equipment, including bulletproof vests, including
shelters for defenders and the whole company has turned as we say, to the war rails, its operations.
So in a sense, Metinvest could be an example of how a business can help the country into war times to get to the victory.
SOLOMON: Yes. And I take your point, absolutely, that the war is first priority. I do also wonder, though, as a business leader, as an executive,
are you concerned about the type of message that that type of nationalization sends to the larger international business community about
doing business in Ukraine?
RYZHENKOV: Well, of course, that's never like the perfect message. And I think the government should be very clear on the reasons why this
nationalization took place. And they should make those reasons public so that the overall business community overall, world financial community
understands the reasoning behind it, and the justice that's -- that has been done there.
SOLOMON: I want to talk a little bit about your employees, how are your employees doing? We know that you have a decent amount of your employees
who have served in Ukrainian army. We know that, you know, I saw some reporting that 500 people either current employees or spouses of employees
including children and civilians have also been killed that are associated with Metinvest.
I mean, how are your employees doing? How are your workers doing?
RYZHENKOV: Well, we still have about 10 percent of men invest workforce, more than 7000 employees have Metinvestor serving in the Ukrainian army
right now and we're doing whatever we can to help them to get equipped with a protective clothing with the -- like the bulletproof vests with the
helmets and so on. And we're proud that our employees defending our country. But at the same time, I think the employees that are still at the
mill, still at the shops, they're not less important to the country and to our victory because they're in a way the economic front of this war.
And they're doing quite a lot to support the company to make Metinvest able to support our army and Ukraine in this in this fight. And I'm sure pretty
much that all of them understand their importance and they're very proud of the recent victories that we seen in Kharkiv region and of course in
Kherson which is very touching.
SOLOMON: Yes. And speaking of some of the things that you've done just to show your support for the army, show your support for Ukraine, I understand
you're also wearing a very special bracelet that you hope that will also be able to fundraise. Tell me a little bit about that.
RYZHENKOV: Well, yes, yes, we do have this Azovstal bracelet. It -- we discovered that we had the last batch which was -- which left Azovstal just
before the war and was still available. So we came to the -- to the authorities with a proposal that we can donate this steel for whatever
purposes necessary and the presidential initiative, this United 24 block firm took a lead on that. They got steal from us, they employed a jeweler
who made those bracelets and sold those bracelets on this platform throughout Ukraine and new post company delivered free of charge those
bracelets to the ones who bought it.
And all of the funds that were raised from that initiative, they will spend to buy drones, the army of drones for the Ukrainian army.
SOLOMON: OK. All right. Well, good luck in your fundraising efforts. Yuriy Ryzhenkov, the CEO of Metinvest. Thank you.
RYZHENKOV: Thank you.
SOLOMON: And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I will be back at the top of the hour as we make a dash for the closing bell. Up next Africa Avant Garde.
SOLOMON: And welcome back. I'm Rahel Solomon. It is the dash to the closing bell and we are just two minutes away. Amazon is reportedly set to slash
thousands of jobs. It's the latest sign of trouble for retail and the broader economy. The Dow was set to end the day lower. That's after a late
session selloff. The S&P and NASDAQ also lower. Investors may get a clearer picture of the U.S. economy this week from the latest retail and housing
You can see again all the three averages lower but the NASDAQ off more than one percent. The S&P nine-tenths of one percent and the Dow off about half
a percent. And last week's inflation report gave investors some encouragement. J.P. Morgan, senior economist Stephanie Roth told me we're
not out of the woods just yet. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE ROTH, SENIOR ECONOMIST, J.P. MORGAN: The CPI report that we got last week was an encouraging sign. You are starting to see the disinflation
out of the good sector and some areas even within services are starting to pull. So that's starting to happen but we're unlikely to see core inflation
back down to the Feds target of two percent until the economy's really weakening more significantly and we see the labor market slack start to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOLOMON: And that is your dash to the bell. I'm Rahel Solomon. The closing bell is ringing on Wall Street as we speak. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER"
starts right now.