Global Business Daily: Football shortfall, Brexit worries, Disney's Mulan finally debuts
Patrick Atack in London
"We are asking you to take seriously our concerns and listen to the detail."
That was the plea from transport and logistics executives in a letter to the UK government today, as they requested a meeting with at least three government ministers to discuss and hopefully solve the potential chaos at the UK's borders once Brexit becomes "real" after the transition period ends.
Elsewhere in the UK, English Premier League football clubs have raised the urgency of fans returning to stadiums next season as documents show a black hole of nearly $500 million for the 20 organizations if they can't sell tickets. That's on top of the collapse of a $650 million deal with Chinese streaming service PPTV.
In New York, markets have stabilized after a sell-off on the Nasdaq index wiped $150 million off Apple's worth and harmed other tech firms.
Meanwhile, Walt Disney's live-action epic Mulan is making a small-screen debut. After months of delays due to the pandemic, the film is being released on Disney's streaming services instead of in cinemas. Subscribers have to pay $30 dollars to watch the story of a legendary female Chinese warrior, which was first made as a Disney cartoon in 1998. It will have a cinematic release in China a week later.
Finally, today's interview is with Mark Pinner of Interel in China – he discusses what it means for China and the world economy that the first trade fair to happen in China since the start of the pandemic is in-person this week.
Virgin Atlantic has announced it will cut a further 1,150 jobs – despite recently securing a $1.6 billion rescue deal. It said the funding was not enough alone to allow the airline to survive. The company has already slashed more than 3,000 jobs and closed its base at London's Gatwick Airport. The UK's Pilot Union BALPA says it will meet with Virgin Atlantic representatives next week.
Berlin hosts the three-day IFA consumer technology conference, making it one of the first major industry fairs to return to a physical format – albeit reduced – following the coronavirus pandemic. Under the theme "Expand Your Smart Life," George Zhao, president of HONOR Global, a smartphone company owned by Huawei Technologies, has launched a line of new products, including a watch designed for "urban adventure," a laptop with a camera in the keyboard and a new vacuum cleaner.
The English Premier League (EPL) has terminated its contract with the Chinese streaming service PPTV with immediate effect. The country's top football league hasn't specified why but according to British media reports, PPTV withheld a payment that was due in March. PPTV says there are unfixable disagreements about the value of rights. The deal was worth $650 million dollars over three seasons - its termination leaves a significant hole in the Premier League's finances.
At the same time, EPL football clubs are looking down the barrel of a near-$500 million loss for the 2020-21 season, according to the Financial Times. The London-based newspaper cited figures produced by the league, which suggested its 20 teams will suffer the significant losses unless crowds are allowed back to stadiums for the new season. There are test events ongoing in the UK this week, which clubs hope will show socially distanced fans are a possibility.
The UK's leading logistics organizations are calling for an urgent meeting with the government – saying they're seriously concerned about the UK's border preparations in the lead up to Brexit. Haulage bosses have written to lawmakers saying the UK-EU supply chain will be disrupted if issues aren't resolved by the end of the year. Specific areas of concern are IT systems and physical border infrastructure. The UK government says it is working closely with industry.
Global markets steadied today after a sell-off that led the tech-based Nasdaq index to drop four percent. The one-day collapse hurt firms such as Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft, which all fell by around four percent. But Apple was the biggest loser – its shares diving eight percent, wiping $150 million off its capitalization. This follows a landmark August, when U.S. executives sold off $6.7 billion of stock in the biggest one-month offload since 2015.
Despite an overall fall in UK car sales, purchases of electric-only and plug-in hybrid vehicles doubled in August. Together, the non-combustion engine cars made up one in every 10 sold in the UK last month.
In the U.S., first-time applications for unemployment assistance fell to the lowest point since the COVID-19 outbreak in the country in March. However, the Department of Labor changed its methodology this month, to account for seasonal fluctuations and reduce weekly distortions, which accounts for some of the drop. The 881,000 applications fell around 100,000 short of economists' expectations.
German politicians including many from Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU coalition, have called on the German leader to cancel the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Russia following the announcement by Merkel and doctors in Berlin that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.
Weapons manufacturer Smith & Wesson revealed its revenues doubled during the pandemic and civic unrest in the U.S. The firearms unit made $230 million worth of sales for the quarter to July, prompting CEO Mark Smith to call the jump "unprecedented."
Silicon Valley private equity group Silver Lake is in talks with Mukesh Ambani to invest around $1 billion in the Mumbai-based billionaire's Reliance Retail. The retail arm of Reliance Industries is aiming to sell around 10 percent in stocks to raise almost $6 billion, it is understood.
Danish bank Danske Bank (not to be confused with Copenhagen's central bank, the Danmarks Nationalbank) said it will reimburse customers with nearly $16 million after it admitted overcharging nearly 1,000 customers in relation to an investment product.
Irish low-cost airline Ryanair has raised nearly $470 million from its shareholders as it eyes opportunities in the post-COVID economy. The short-haul carrier has been relatively untouched by the collapse of the long-haul and business flying markets, and has low levels of existing debt.
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Mark Pinner, managing director for Interel in China, spoke to CGTN Europe about the China International Fair for Trade in Services, the first big international event to take place in China after the COVID-19 outbreak.
How important is this step for China and the world?
I think it's pretty important. You know, I think it shows that China is trying hard to continue to open up its markets, to continue to engage with the world and trade with the world.
Are we seeing promising signs of international economic and business activity resume between China and Europe and, indeed, American companies?
Yes, I think so. So looking back at the first quarter of this year, COVID-19 hit China. That affected business trade with China. And in Q2, it hit much of the rest of the world. And that's affected services within China. But for Q3 and Q4, I think we're seeing an upsurge. We're seeing businesses, multinationals and China sort of coming back.
How has the pandemic impacted the trade in services?
I think that has shifted the trend to online services. I think this was happening anyway, but we've seen this in many areas connected with business services. So I think COVID has been a push to accelerate a trend that's already been there.