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Quest Means Business

Israeli President Herzog: Israel "Ready" For Humanitarian Pause; US Says Houthi Rebels Attacked At Least 12 Ships In Past Month; US Announces Multinational Security Operation; Hapag-Lloyd Diverts Its Ships To Different Routes; Funeral Service For Pioneering Supreme Court Justice; Zelenskyy: Military Wants 450,000-500,000 More Troops Mobilized; Driscoll's Incoming CEO Set To Take Helm Next Month; Volcano Erupts In Southwest Iceland; Dash To The Bell. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired December 19, 2023 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: There's an hour to go of trading on Wall Street. And if you look at the numbers, you will see where we stand.

Solid, solid green throughout the session. And I'm guessing, although you know my guess is, I think we'll be -- we'll stand in that sort of area

unless something goes wrong. Those are the markets.

The events, I'm going to tell you about. The US and allies scrambling to protect ships from attacks in a key shipping lane. Tonight, the Hapag-Lloyd

chief executive joins me.

The volcano erupts, now the gas pollution threatens to reach Iceland's capital, Reykjavik.

And look at them, I have them here for you, the humble berry. What's your favorite? Berries may be a small, but they're holding big lessons as we

navigate the global economy. We have the new CEO of Driscoll on this program.

Live from New York on Tuesday, it's December the 19th. I'm Richard Quest, and I mean business.

Good evening. All of that is to come after I have updated you. The Israeli president says his country is ready for another truce with Hamas that would

ensure the release of more hostages.

President Isaac Herzog made the comments as the UN Security Council debated a new ceasefire resolution. A vote on that resolution could come within the

next two hours.

At the same time, new surveys show that over two-thirds of Israelis want elections to be held immediately after the war concludes. Most of the

respondents said they will likely vote for either the same party or same political block.

Jeremy Diamond is in Tel Aviv. I think, in some sense, we can't really know about the truce yet. But this political business is interesting because if

the results were the same, we'd be in the same political mess as they were after the last election.

JEREMY DIAMOND, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I mean, look, the last time Israel had elections, they held multiple elections within the span of just

a couple of years. And so, Israel is certainly no stranger to those kinds of chaotic politics. But I think there are a lot of warning signs that are

flashing for the Israeli prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu.

We have watched, since October 7th, his approval ratings have been below water significantly so, and his chief political rival, Benny Gantz, his

approval rating has been rising. And so, there has been a significant sense in that latest polling that the Israeli public would like to see Israeli

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu out of power following the conclusion of this war.

There is also a school of thinking here that the Israeli prime minister, you know, is trying to stay in power for as long as possible. He has

already begun effectively campaigning, in a way, trying to secure his right flank, talking about the fact that he will not allow a Palestinian state to

exist, taking credit for the lack of a Palestinian state so far in his recent news conferences.

At the same time though, of course, he's coming under enormous pressure from these families of the hostages who want him to do everything that he

can to secure their release, and a lot of frustration among those families, and also the broader Israeli public, that perhaps this current government

is not doing enough and is more focused than anything else on the war against Hamas rather than securing those hostages released.

QUEST: Jeremy Diamond in Tel Aviv where it's 10:00 o'clock. Thank you, sir.

Meanwhile, officials say Houthi attacks on cargo ships have transformed the security picture in the important, vital Red Sea. The US says the Yemeni

rebels, with backing from Iran, have attacked at least 12 vessels over the past month. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says the US will now lead a

multinational military operation to improve security in the Red Sea, which plays a vital role in global trade.

Natasha Bertrand is at the Pentagon. How do they do this? I mean, with the best will in the world, I suppose all they've got that what they're hoping

to do is shoot down drones or whatever.

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: That's exactly right, Richard. I mean, there are a coalition of countries that have signed up now

to bolster security in the southern Red Sea, which involves increased warships, increased aircraft monitoring the area, additional staff who are

part of this coalition who can monitor the situation and determine whether particular vessels need escorts, for example. All of this in an effort to

portray a show of force, really, to the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, suggesting there are additional and multiple assets in the region that are

capable of responding if that is required.


However, the US has responded many, many times now over the last several weeks to these missile attacks and drone attacks by the Houthis shooting

down several of these drones, these very cheap and expensive drones that really don't cost the Houthis much to launch against these commercial

vessels. And the Houthis have not stopped.

And so, it remains to be seen whether the Houthis see this as an additional challenge that is surmountable for them or if it actually serves as a

deterrent. But we should not underestimate the impact that the US wants this to have on how industry is feeling, right? I mean, this is not only an

effort to deter the attacks, it's also an attempt to reassure industry, like Maersk, the shipping company, like BP, both of whom have paused their

operations in the Red Sea that it is safe for them to resume those operations, trying to get international trade and commerce back on track


So, that is a big part of their goal, but again, it really remains to be seen whether it actually works -- Richard.

QUEST: And who else is in this force? I mean, the US is leading it, I imagine the UK is also there. It's probably a coalition of the usual

suspects. And I guess, what do they do? Just crowd in and try and protect?

BERTRAND: Right. So right now, there's a coalition of about 10 countries that have signed up for this. The US invited 39. So far, 10 have publicly

said that they are coming out, and those do include Spain, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Bahrain, Canada. So they do have countries that

are willing to put resources into this. Many of which will include ships, will include destroyers, some of which are already there, as well as

perhaps aircraft and other resources.

But ultimately, it's unclear how this is going to differ from a task force that has already existed in the Red Sea over the last year or so. This task

force has been there to try to bolster security, and it has made really no difference in the Houthi's calculations. So questions remain about whether

this is actually going to change anything.

QUEST: That's a key point. Thank you.

Now, as you can see from this map, a lot of ships are still passing through the Red Sea. The white bit is the Red Sea.

Reuters says some companies are now turning off vessel transponders or deploying private armed guards on board their vessels and making it

publicly known that they are there. Others are diverting shipping away from the Red Sea entirely.

Hapag-Lloyd is one of the world's largest shipping firms and is now rerouting vessels around the Cape of Good Hope. But if you look at the map

of where that goes, instead of going up through the Red Sea, you are now going a much, much, much longer way around.

The CEO is Rolf Habben Jansen, who joins me now. Sir, thank you. First of all, I mean, I'm just looking at where your ships are and how you're

negotiating that. To go via the Cape of Good Hope is a considerably longer, more costly way.

ROLF HABBEN JANSEN, CEO, HAPAG-LLOYD: Yes, that is correct. It depends, of course, a little bit where they have to go because if they come directly

from Asia and have to go to the US on the East Coast, for example, it's about a week to 10 days extra. The same goes for north continent Europe,

but, of course, especially if ships have to go to the Met or to Turkey, for example, we talk about a huge detour.

QUEST: What is it you need from this multinational force before you would be prepared to trans-navigate the Red Sea again?

JANSEN: That's a difficult question, also not so easy to answer. I think, first of all, I think we're really happy that this coalition seems to be

coming together because that's definitely a step in the right direction. I think, as was also said by the previous speaker, that alone however is not


I think if we look at what happened over the last couple of weeks, the number of attacks that have been on commercial vessels is really

unacceptable. I mean, we were hit on Friday last week and then decided also to pause passages. And for now, we have decided to indeed reroute across


QUEST: When you say you were hit last week, these are drones in sort of a fairly unsophisticated missiles. How much damage can they do to a ship?


JANSEN: I mean, I'm certainly not an expert on that. But I know that, in our case, a couple of containers exploded. Many were damaged, and we had a

fire onboard that was -- that took actually quite a few hours to extinguish.

And we also were lucky because if it would've been three or four bays further into the back, there were some hazardous chemicals there. And then

the effect would have been much more severe.

QUEST: So to those of us who might be sitting there thinking, oh, for goodness sake, you know, I mean, we look at the map. There's Yemen. There's

the water. It's a long way the chances of them being hit by a drone. You're telling me that this is not only real, it's serious, and it's potentially


JANSEN: It is potentially dangerous. I mean, we also have seen missiles, you know, that have been shot at ships. And, of course, if you look at

these very large ships a little bit depending on where they were get hit, I mean, you could get very serious damage to the ships. And I mean, if a

drone, for example, would attack places where the crew would sit, I mean, people are really in danger. So I mean, this is not a small thing. And

that's also why we will maintain safety first for our crews.

QUEST: Right.

JANSEN: And that's why we take the decisions that we do.

QUEST: Yes. So that, so it's almost -- back to our first question, what would you like the authorities to do? What will give you that element of

safety that you can continue or maybe there's nothing at the moment?

JANSEN: I mean, in reality, there's a lot of discussions going on, yes, between various parties on what can and what cannot be done. Hopefully,

those discussions will result in some kind of common understanding of what needs to be done, and then we need to make sure that we put that in place.

But it's a very complex problem also because we don't only talk about container ships, but we talk also about bulk carriers, tankers, and what

have you. And it's a large number of ships that normally pass through there every day.

QUEST: So, if we turn to the other side of that, the economic equation, and I think we all learn more about supply chain economics than we ever wished

to in the post-pandemic period, if you start to have to add days, if not weeks, to trips, that screws up supply chains, doesn't it?

JANSEN: It does, but also there, I mean, it depends a little bit where it has to go because I would still argue that for ships that have to go to

north Europe or to US East Coast that the impact with seven to 10 days, in most cases, will be manageable. But I think above all, this creates a lot

of uncertainty. I mean, we've seen a huge surge of bookings over the last week, yes, because everybody now tries to get their stuff on board of all

of the ships that are still leaving Asia, for example.

And, of course, when everybody panics, you know, then things tend to get difficult. And that's why I think it's important to stay calm, yes.

QUEST: And are you seeing -- well, I guess the answer is yes, but are you seeing a rise in freight rates?

JANSEN: We do. But in fairness, if you look at the last four to six weeks, we already had a quite balanced situation as we -- as Hapag has pointed out

already a number of times several weeks ago. So we have seen rates already creeping up a bit. And, of course, we are also running up the Chinese New

Year, where you normally see a seasonal peak anyway. So it's a little bit a number of things coming together. And then, of course, we also still have

the situation in the Panama Canal, which is also restricted.

QUEST: I'm grateful to you, sir. Let's talk more next week, when we got a better idea of exactly where this is going, and you can hopefully guide us.

I'm grateful for your time tonight, thank you.

JANSEN: Thank you.

QUEST: Sad news today. A funeral service for the former US Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor, is taking place in Washington.

Justice O'Connor was the first woman to serve on the court. She joined the bench in 1981, nominated by Ronald Reagan. From then on, she was an

inspiration to generations of lawyers. When she announced she would retire in 2005, the then justice -- the current Chief Justice, I should say, John

Roberts was nominated as her replacement on the court.


JOHN ROBERTS, US SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE: The time when we're not on the bench team so far away because Justice O'Connor was so good when she

was on the bench. She was so successful that the barriers she broke down are almost unthinkable today, but not so in her lifetime. Sandra Day

O'Connor had to study and launch a career in the law when most men in the established profession did not want women lawyers, let alone judges.


QUEST: Justice O'Connor died at the age of 93. It's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight, a short break and I'll return.



QUEST: President Zelenskyy says Ukraine's military has asked to mobilize up to half a million more troops. They discussed the request during his

yearend news conference and also warned about its cost.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): As for the funding aspect, well, the mobilization in that format would cost around

additional UAH500 billion to Ukraine.


QUEST: Now, the president ruled out holding presidential elections next year, saying it would undermine Ukrainian unity and would be exploited by


Jim Sciutto joins me who's been there. Jim, two issues really here. First of all, Zelenskyy himself and this election question, but the other -- and

we'll start here -- both the EU and the US now recalcitrant on paying more aid. I think you and I both know that the aid will go eventually, but how

much damage does delaying it?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Listen, it's real damage because right now we already know the Ukrainian forces are rationing ammunition. They were

already outgunned by Russia, outfired by Russia, and now more so, that has consequences on the battlefield. And they're under a expanded air assault

by Russian forces on Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure. And I know that one of the things that they are running low on is air defense

missiles. So as they push up against those limits, that puts forces and people in danger.

It is believed in Washington that Republicans and Democrats will eventually come around to extend further aid. It's not guaranteed, but most lawmakers

I speak to believe it will get there.

And when I speak to European officials, to your point, Richard, they seem to think they'll come around to it. But in terms of showing disunity, that

impacts morale for Ukrainian forces, and it is certainly something that Vladimir Putin looks at and finds hope for his own forces and seeks to

exploit further.


QUEST: Is there a reasonable justification for delaying the elections? I mean, I think both our countries, obviously, for Britain and the United

States have had elections at wartime.


QUEST: Is there a justification for delaying elections?

SCIUTTO: Listen, I mean, it's hard to make it from the perspective of these are democracies, and democracies have to forge forward through wars. Now,

this is a country that's under a punishing invasion that makes a large part of the country, first of all, occupied by Russia. Other parts of the

country unsafe to live and work and travel in, right? Those are very real threats beyond the political questions here.

But, of course, a piece of this is the political fortunes of Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He is widely revered in the country, but it's a country and it's

a leadership, it's a government, it's a military that's facing genuine challenges, questions, are they going to maintain the support of the west?

Are they going to be able to not just win this war, not lose this war, right, this year because without further US and European aid, I am told

that US intelligence agencies assess that it would be very much in danger of losing, perhaps in the span of months. Now, that aid is probably most

likely to come, but it raises hard questions about his leadership, and his government, and the sacrifice of Ukrainian people.

And I'll say one more point, Richard .


SCIUTTO: . raising this idea of a further mobilization, that exposes something that we do not talk about a lot. We talk about Russian losses,

which are significant. Most recent assessment, close to 90% of Russia's initial invasion force either killed or wounded.

Ukrainian losses have been enormous, too, and Ukraine is a smaller country. It has fewer people to mobilize to make up for those losses and continue to

defend the country. That requires even greater sacrifice.

So, you know, a difficult political question for Vladimir Putin to mobilize further, an extremely difficult one for Zelenskyy. And it calls on a

greater sacrifice from his country already. So this is a Ukrainian leader under great pressure right now, understandable pressure and, of course, the

population certainly as well.

QUEST: Jim Sciutto, it's hard to hear it all, of course, isn't it? Bearing in mind the .

SCIUTTO: It's a lot.

QUEST: . the awfulness of the consequences of what we're talking about.


QUEST: But I'm grateful for you, sir, as always. We've had (inaudible), yes.

SCIUTTO: Good to see you, sir.

QUEST: Thank you. Many times that we're completely different. Look at this. Ah, there it is, the humble berry.

Now, if you're a strawberry person, a blackberry, a blue -- how many blueberries in here? Maybe they're out of stock.

These are welcomed in any kitchen, and they are also the center of the global economy. These are Driscoll's of various kinds -- strawberries,

raspberries, and blackberries.

Now, to get these to my breakfast table relies on a robust supply chain, grown, shipped around the world. And Driscoll's has adapted a climate

change by diversifying where they grow, how they grow them, the AI and all those sorts of things.

So, now Driscoll's uses technology to brew the best fruit possible. One thing is certain, the ability to provide berries is an achievement. Soren

Bjorn is the incoming CEO of Driscoll's and the president of its Americas business, Watsonville, California.

Soren, you may be well-aware that Driscoll's is a firm favorite of my breakfast table, whatever the price. But I'm particularly curious. Now

you're coming in as CEO, what are you going to do? What are you going to change? Well, I have one of your strawberries, which we paid for.

SOREN BJORN, INCOMING CEO, DRISCOLL'S: Well, good to see you, Richard, then. Well, let me start with what we're not going to change, so delighting

consumers like you will still be our mission every day.

But there are really three big things that I see that'll be incredibly important going forward. And one is the role that technology will play in

our business. And you've touched on AI, but many, many other tools as well.

The impact of climate change, this has definitely been a pretty rough year for us on the farms. We've had a lot of -- lots of weather impacts. And

then is our people, you know, making sure our people can come along for the journey, right? Those are the three big things for me.

QUEST: Okay. Let's deal with people first. The requirement of a migrant -- the requirements for a migrant labor force to pick the stuff is so

controversial now here in the United States.

BJORN: Yes, our men is the absolute reality, right, is that the clear majority of people that work on our farm today are migrant workers. And,

you know, they fundamentally come, you know, two different ways, either through the legal process of an H-2A guest worker or they have, in many

cases, been here for a long time and being undocumented.


And it's something that, unfortunately, the political situation has not been able to address in North America for a long time. There are very

practical solutions that we see even in our neighboring countries like in Canada. We see it throughout Europe.

It is an absolute must to have a system that works to be able to farm in this country. So we are still hopeful.

QUEST: And then you get this sort of supply chain problem. I mean, let's just talk about what we're talking about today -- the supply chain issues

from Asia through the Red Sea, which might or might not affect Driscoll's in some case or it might be your packaging that's affected or it might be

in some other parts of the world. But every geopolitical crisis seemingly will hit you at some point.

BJORN: All right. I think that's right. And we are definitely keenly aware that we need to create more redundancies in our very supply chain. This

year, there was -- we were significantly impacted by El Nino in Peru and saw our blueberry supply -- maybe why you were a little short today -- is

quite short this year. But there are alternatives like we saw in Africa. And so, we need to build more of these redundancies into our overall supply

chain. And we are definitely doing that right now.

QUEST: Well, related to this, though, on this question of food miles and how far our food has to travel, do you think you start getting hit by this?

I remember being in western Canada years ago about to have some fish, and somebody pointed it out to me, it had come from New Zealand. And that, you

know, it's had more food miles than I had air miles. At what point do you think we need to consider that?

BJORN: Well, we've been working on this for, I would say, over a decade. It's not too long ago that your winter supply of raspberries and

blackberries in Marks & Spencer white rose in the U.K. would have been flown in from Mexico. Now, it's driven in from Morocco.

So to think about berries is they are so perishable that we have lots of incentives to try to get the supply of berries closer to the consumers. So

we're doing this in Canada right now where we are growing Canadian berries in the summertime for the .

QUEST: Right.

BJORN: . Canadian market.

Now, there are some practicalities, right? You know, we -- you know, berries love the good weather, so you can't grow berries everywhere. And we

are still a longways from truly doing these indoors where we are not relying on the climate.

QUEST: Well, I'm going to Britain tomorrow night. I have to say I'm looking forward to some M&S berries when I get there. Thank you very much, sir.

Thank you for your -- and we bought these berries just in case any viewer described that. We were -- we were given -- we bought them, but I'm very


And then -- and as you take over as CEO, sir, I'm looking forward to having you on the program many times in the months ahead, sir. Thank you.

BJORN: I look forward to it. Thank you.

QUEST: It is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight with a berry or two.

Look at these pictures. Now, just look at that. That is live. It is Iceland where it's half past eight at night.

And after the break, I'm just wondering how close Fred Pleitgen is to that. He's certainly going to give us the look and the feel of it.

It's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, and you are very welcome.



QUEST: That is the situation at the moment, a live picture from near Grindavik in Iceland. The police say it is going to take a few days to

assess exactly the situation after the eruption, only a few miles from Reykjavik.

The country has dozens of active volcanoes but we rarely get this sort of stuff, a short hop and a skip from the main airport in Keflavik. Fred is

with me, Fred Pleitgen is.

Now Fred, I think I saw somewhere, correct me if I am wrong, that this lava flow is moving at something like 200 cubic meters a second or something --

or a minute.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Apparently, Richard, it has slowed down a little bit but it is still very strong. It

was 200 or 300 cubic meters per minute of lava, which apparently was flowing laterally from that giant fissure in the ground which has been

forming after it burst open in the late hours of last night.

We have been here in Iceland before, watching all of this unfold. Of course, the authorities here believe that this volcano could have erupted

about a month ago. There's already massive cracks in the town that you mentioned, the town of Grindavik, which luckily so far has not been

affected by the eruption yet.

Nevertheless, this is a huge event. As you can see, we have the volcanic eruption. We're still quite far away from it. The authorities are keeping

people pretty far away. However, a massive eruption can be seen in wide parts of Iceland. Here is what we are seeing.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): The arctic night illuminated, as the Earth breaks apart from the fissure bursts its molten core. Weeks of earthquakes led to

this display of our planet's fire and force.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Following a volcanic eruption, there is always high levels of toxic gases. The main concern in Iceland now is the distribution

of this with the wind.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): It's never possible to say exactly when or if a volcano like this one, near the town Grindavik, will erupt. Officials took

no chances, though, evacuating the population after weeks of tremors.

Thousands of shakes were felt in November and all knew what they could bring. Thankfully, none were in Grindavik town when the volcano, around two

miles away, finally did erupt.

This crack in the surface of our world, close to four kilometers or more than two miles long, spewing lava. Previous eruptions in Iceland have

lasted weeks or even months.

HALLGRIMUR INDRIDASON, JOURNALIST: Unfortunately for the inhabitants of Grindavik, it is impossible to say how long this will last.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): In the town of Grindavik, the earthquake damage is clear; the lava may follow.

INDRIDASON: If this activity goes on.


The big question is, will Grindavik be inhabited -- inhabitable in the long run?

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Whether people can ever move back here depends on a new set of geological circumstances being created right now.


PLEITGEN: It's been quite interesting. Richard; we've been able to see those geological circumstances unfold over the last couple of weeks and

months that we have been coming here.

What the Icelanders are saying is that this part of Iceland, which has Reykjavik and the main airport, has been dormant for about 800 years but

has now had four very big eruptions in the span of about two years. And the biggest one you are seeing right behind me.

QUEST: Fred Pleitgen, thank you. I'm somewhat envious, not because -- I feel very sorry for the people there but I've never seen an active volcano

like that. Thank you, Fred. We will talk more.

PLEITGEN: It is amazing. Thank you.

QUEST: Good to see you, Fred Pleitgen in Iceland.

Now could it be the sound of Christmas?

Of course it is. I'm headed to the U.K. tomorrow night, where I will get to see one of my holiday favorites.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Once again, it is a season of goodwill. And this Christmas tree going up in Trafalgar Square is Norway's annual present

to Britain.

QUEST (voice-over): Continuing in that same vein, it's (INAUDIBLE). It's a tradition that has been around since before I was born. This year's tree is

already lit. There it is. Fine in all its glory. It stands about 20 meters high.


The mayor of Oslo is Anne Lindboe. She joins me from there now.

Mayor, how wonderful to have you on the program, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Thank you. I am delighted, delighted that Norway continues with this

tradition. I'm also interested to notice how you are going to do it in a more conservation, less miles way.

MAYOR ANNE LINDBOE, OSLO, NORWAY: You know, this is a very important tradition for us people in Oslo, to send this Christmas tree, I think, to

London to thank you for all of the help we received during the Second World War.

So it's a tradition which has been going on for 76 years now. (INAUDIBLE) it's important to be aware the carbon print so we are trying to do this

environmentally friendly as possible.

So, yes, sending the tree with the ship and it's also very important to make it as environmentally friendly as possible also when it comes to the

other sorts of transportation from the harbor and into this (INAUDIBLE), for example.

QUEST: One of the things I always love about the tree in London is that you do you decorate it in the traditional Norwegian style, which is a very

simple -- most people want it to be ongestudt (ph), with every color you can think of and a few other things.

But that is not the Norwegian way, is it?

LINDBOE: No, it is not. You know, the tree is a natural tree. It's been growing in a natural forest. So it's not like one of these cultivated like

(INAUDIBLE) trees that you often see. We like to decorate it with the lights and with the star in the top. And that is probably -- that's what I

think is the most beautiful.

So that is, it actually. So it is a natural looking tree.

QUEST: Talking about Norway and Oslo, which I've been to a couple of times this year, the thing that always amazes me about Oslo is just how expensive

it is. Inflation is bad enough. But seriously, if I take you for a cup of coffee in Oslo, I will need to have a mortgage.

LINDBOE: Well, yes, I guess you are right but the currency is actually quite terrible for people abroad. Because now the Norwegian currency (ph),

it is quite -- it's not so expensive anymore.

So for me, it is really expensive to go to England or go to America. It's much more expensive. So I think if you want to visit Norway, this is

definitely the time. It's also not so bad actually right now because of the currency.

QUEST: It is an absolutely wonderful place to visit. Thank you very much, ma'am, for joining us. I do wish you and yours a very happy and merry

Christmas. Thank you very much indeed. I am -- thank you.

I am going to go to the markets. I'm going to show you exactly what has been happening. Tell you what. Yes, I told you so. There we go, 190. We've

barely budged since the beginning. @richardquest is my Twitter, @richardquest.

Which is your favorite berry?

We don't have any blueberries because I think they are out of stock.

If I were to give you a strawberry, a blackberry or a raspberry, which is your favorite?


QUEST: You can have a blueberry if you really insist.

Which is your favorite berry for Christmas?

I will have a dash to the closing bell assuming I'm not ill after eating all these berries. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.





QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. Those are live pictures, that we're looking at, at the moment, of the active volcano in Iceland, the Grindavik

in Iceland. As we look at those, the dash to the closing bell, just under two minutes to go for that.

Affirm Holdings stocks popped, we take a look at the market. Affirm is up 15 percent after it expanded its partnership with Walmart. It's now

offering buy now, pay later loans at self checkout in more than 4,500 Walmart stores.

The Dow has gained, it's over 23) points. And unless I'm mistaken, that's the best of the day. The Nasdaq and the S&P are set to finish higher as

well. Chief executive of Hapag-Lloyd a few moments ago spoke to me about Hapag's decision to avoid the Red Sea. Rolf Habben Jansen said he won't put

his ships or crews at risk.


JANSEN: You could get very serious damage to the ships. And I mean, if a drone, for example, would attack places where the crew were, I mean, people

are really in danger. So I mean, this is not a small thing.


QUEST: Those are the markets and how they are looking. Walgreens finishes first. And I can see (INAUDIBLE) with Caterpillar, Intel and Amex. Apple is

up, ahead of discontinuing two small watch models later this week in the U.S.

Interestingly, you don't often see this but United Health Group and IBM, they are at the back of the market but really just off 0.5 percent. It's

hardly meaningful.

That's the dash to the closing bell. I am Richard Quest. Whatever you're up to the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable. I'll see you next in London.