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U.S. Economy Officials Cautious After Positive GDP Data; Oil Companies Report Drop in Profits

Aired October 29, 2009 - 15:00:00   ET


RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Back in the game, the United States is growing again. So why won't anyone say "out of recession"?

Back to reality, the U.S. Treasury chief says the economic pain will persist.

And back on track -- on the track this time, Abu Dhabi gears up for the race of its life.

I'm Richard Quest, back in London, where I mean business.

Good evening. Over the worst, but not out of the woods. The United States has beaten expectations and grown in the third quarter. Whether because of stimulus or consumer spending, the world's largest economy is getting back on its feet.

It is perhaps ironic that the 80th anniversary of the crash that led to the Great Depression on Wall Street, well, today would see the U.S. exiting the worst recession, certainly the deepest, since then. Not surprisingly, the market has given a very strong response to that.


The Dow Jones off the tops of the day, but is still up 191 points, 1.9 percent, at 9,953, the number on Wall Street. The number in terms of GDP was positive, 3.5 percent in the last quarter. That was better than many had hoped for. The U.S. economy is on the mend. The healing process though will be long, painful, and prone to setbacks. The market likes what it sees, Maggie Lake now in New York.

Maggie, we know a 3.5 in Q3 rate of growth. So out of recession?

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No. No, very few are willing to say that, Richard. But let me just start by making a distinction. It's investors' job, money managers' job to try to anticipate into the future. So for them it's all about the turning the corner and the rate of change. If they wait until everyone agrees that we're out of recession, they're going to miss the biggest potential of upside, right?

So that's why you see the markets rallying. But when you talk to almost everyone else, whether it's individuals, politicians in Washington, they are extremely, extremely reluctant to say the recession is over and you can hear that in the tone of their comments. Have a listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is obviously welcome news and an affirmation that this recession is abating and the steps we've taken have made a difference. But I also know that we've got a long way to go to fully restore our economy.

TIMOTHY GEITHNER, TREASURY SECRETARY: This is just a beginning. Unemployment remains unacceptably high for every person out of work, for every family facing foreclosure, for every small business facing a credit crunch, the recession remains alive and acute.


LAKE: Half a million people filed for first time unemployment benefits last week. If you look at the GDP report, Richard, if you give people money, they're going to spend it. And that's what boosted growth, the "Cash for Clunkers," and home rebates, if you strip out autos alone, you get something like 1.9 growth.

If you throw in residential housing, strip that out, you get something like 1.4 percent growth. So you see why there is an awful lot of caution coming from Washington. People are hurting and they know it, so they're reluctant to say that the recession is over.

QUEST: If you strip out "Cash for Clunkers," because that program has now come to an end, and all of these other things, will that be, do you think, countered, offset by retail shopping with Thanksgiving and with the Christmas holiday season? You're already shaking your head and I haven't even asked the question whether this number will be repeated in the fourth quarter.

LAKE: Actually, people are optimistic about the number in the fourth quarter, but not for the reasons that you mention, not because of the consumer. There is a lot of inventory rebuild, you remember, everybody just sort of stopped.

So building back those inventories is going to continue to contribute to growth. Does it go further out? The consumer is not in the game, the U.S. economy may be back in the game, but the consumer is not. No one is willing to say that. And that is what has people very concerned about the sustainability of this.

The U.S. economy is on life support, if you take it off, there isn't any sign that it's going to be able to continue those kind of numbers. So if you we have the questions we really want to look out to 2010. Investors are betting that the growth is going to come and be able to sustain itself at some point. Although they admit it's going to be bumpy.

But you know, individual consumers, you can see from those confidence numbers, they're not willing to take that bet yet with the -- getting out there with their dollars in the shops -- Richard.

QUEST: All right. I tried to give you the punch bowl for the party, but you aren't drinking today. Maggie Lake in New York, a long road ahead for the U.S. economy.

The word from the White House, you heard President Obama saying the recession was abating. He has not finished the job of fixing the economy. We need to hear official response from the administration.

I asked Austan Goolsbee from the White House Council of Economic Advisers, a member of that council, how he interprets today's figures when he joined me from the White House.


AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: The label you put on it doesn't matter. The president is clearly not satisfied with the job market. Next week we'll get numbers. There will probably continue to be some difficult stretch for jobs. But we have made amazing progress on GDP.

We took over, a lot of economists saying we're facing the next Great Depression in the U.S., and hopefully we have fully put that behind us. We were kind of lost out in the woods and at least we're back on the highway now.

You know, we're not at the destination. So I'm not going to declare "Mission Accomplished." But it was certainly a positive report and you've got to get positive growth before you can get any job growth.

QUEST: The -- a reading of the numbers, if you delve into them, as I know you have, a full 1 percentage point, possibly more, comes from "Cash for Clunkers," automobiles and accessories. Strip out that, and the numbers weren't nearly as impressive, were they?

GOOLSBEE: Well, look, I don't know that I agree with either count on that. First, we took over, GDP growth was minus-6.5 percent, it has come back and come back and now we're almost a full 10 percentage points faster growth than we were when Obama took office. That's the biggest increase in the U.S. in almost 30 years.

So, one quarter of one part of one program, I don't think is the main story. The main story is the widespread turnaround of wide parts of the economy. On "Cash for Clunkers" specifically, the second thing I would say is, that's one program, but the stimulus, it's not as if the stimulus is now ending. There are many other programs that continue to be coming down the pipe.

Far less than 50 percent of the Recovery Act money has gone out the door. And so that's good. There is still plenty there to keep the economy growing strong and to keep us on this highway, getting us where we need to go.

QUEST: Will the remaining stimulus money and the remaining programs, do you believe, be sufficient, certainly necessary, to give what people call the durable, sustainable recovery?

GOOLSBEE: Well, not on their own. It was never the intention that the stimulus would be the recovery on its own. The government is trying to prevent depression and facilitate the private sector coming back. And at least in the numbers that we saw here, you saw that starting to happen.

You saw personal consumption again returning to growth, about even with income growth. You started seeing across industrial production, different parts of the economy, the turnaround hopefully getting set and under way.

I think if you look at the long slog ahead of us, the fact that there is still a substantial amount of money coming, I think is pretty important. That gives you a kind of the sustained juice (ph). But for sustainability, it has got to be coming from the private sector.

QUEST: And that is the interesting thing, isn't it? Because when we look forward to what happens next, yes, the number is positive, but the president really summed it up, didn't he, the recession, is abating, as the president put it, and for most people and for many people, it will some time before they feel an effect.

GOOLSBEE: I think that's right. Look, and that's a good word. It's abating. And boy, it was pretty scary there, you know, as he came into office and for the first several months we were facing literally the worst conditions since 1929.

So, the abating of the recession is important. We know that you can't get job growth until you turn the economy around, the GDP comes before job growth, that comes with a lag. And so we're going to keep pressing as hard as we can on that.

But the president is not satisfied. I mean, it's tough being an economic adviser these days, because every day the president says, what have you done to get job growth going in the country? You know, so we're trying everything we've got.

And, you know, getting the biggest stimulus in American history out the door and in the economy, to get the private sector growing, I think is one key element.


QUEST: Austan Goolsbee joining me earlier from the White House.

All things considered, I'm not sure which traffic light we should be lighting. If you think about it, it's certainly not red anymore, but amber perhaps because things are getting better, some would say it should be green because there is economic growth. And in all in all, we're probably best off leaving it there or maybe waiting for another day.

There was news from the International Monetary Fund that said Asia was going to see amongst the best growth, but even that was at risk of setback. Asian economies overall could grow by more than 5 percent in 2010.

Asia's economic success, whether it's Japan, South Korea, or Hong Kong, they've all emerged in this -- (INAUDIBLE) particularly in Japan, emerged in the second quarter. South Korea in quarter one. Their economies, in terms of South Korea, grew at the fastest pace in some seven years.

So what we're seeing amongst Asian economies is not only growth returning much quicker, but the pent-up demand and the intra-Asian growth, the regional growth, many people are saying that this shows there is a decided decoupling between Asia and the rest of the world.

Europe is not as moribund as you might think, both France and Germany are officially out of recession. They eked out very small gains, just at about 0.4 percent. It will be interesting to see if that was pent-up demand or if it was actually real growth.

But it's a basket case in Britain where the GDP number, at minus 0.4 percent, was worse than expected. Spain also mired in recession. Both countries waiting to see if by the end of the year things turn 'round. The U.S., Asia, and Europe. You're up to date with GDP.

Now to the news headlines. Max Foster is at the CNN news desk.


MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: ... the International Atomic Energy Agency says Tehran has sent an initial response to a proposal to break a deadlock over its nuclear program. That response had not been made public. The news came shortly after Iran's president praised the IAEA. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also said the West has changed its attitude from confrontation to cooperation.

The United Nations is scaling back its presence in Afghanistan a day after being targeted by the Taliban. The U.N. says all non-essential personnel will leave the country. Five U.N. staffers were killed when militants stormed a guest house on Wednesday. In a message posted online today, a Taliban spokesman says the attacks are just the beginning and designed to derail next week's presidential runoff.

Iraqi police have detained dozens of security personnel in connection with last weekend's devastating bombings. At least 155 people were killed when two suicide bombers struck Iraqi government targets in Baghdad on Sunday. Of the 61 people detained, 11 were army officers, the rest were members of the security forces.

A two-day summit for the European Union Council is under way in Brussels. Heads of state are set to debate who should fill new posts, including the U.S. -- the E.U. presidency. They will also discuss aid to developing nations and climate change. Protestors calling themselves "climate change debt agents" are demanding immediate action on global warming.

We'll have more on all of the day's biggest stories on "WORLD ONE" at 8:30 London time. And we'll treat you to a very special cup of tea from a pot that doesn't dribble, would you believe. Scientists say they have cracked the mystery of the drippy spout. Details on "WORLD ONE," you won't want to miss that -- Richard.

QUEST: No. Indeed, I wouldn't. And I'm looking forward to somebody giving me a non-dripping -- well, look, let's just leave that. Max Foster at the CNN news desk.

The markets, you need to know how we traded. The Xetra DAX, which closed up 1.6 percent, 5,587. Banking stocks did (INAUDIBLE). Commerzbank, what a rip-roarer of a day, up more than 6 percent. Deutsche Bank sold its last remaining stake in Daimler, and Daimler was up 4 percent.

In Paris, where the CAC 40 was up 1.3 percent, Societe Generale up nearly 6 percent, even Alcatel-Lucent with results coming up, 5.7 percent gain. And you can hear the CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, Ben Verwaayen, he will be joining me on this program at this time tomorrow evening on Friday. Agricole was also higher.

Good strong day. It's worth pointing out that all of the markets were very much encouraged and buoyed by the GDP number in the United States. Even London, up 1.13 percent, the banking sector strong, RBS and Lloyds, both on the prospect of getting a rights issue away, they were good news for that. National Express and Stagecoach not going to happen. Xstrata and other mining stocks OK.

It was an interesting day on the markets. When we come back, we'll turn to a resource company that didn't do that well. Shell, what is happening in oil? QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment.


QUEST: Welcome back. Shell and ExxonMobil, two of the world's largest oil companies, reported steep drop in profits. Earnings tumbled, the economic downturn sapped demand for oil and gas. CNN's Jim Boulden joins me with the details.

Jim, not a particular surprise, because prices are lower than they were this time last year. But BP...

JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's the thing, BP, a couple of days ago said that things actually aren't as bad and there was some very positive numbers coming out of BP. So everybody thought, OK, this is the beginning of the end. We're going to see some good numbers coming out of Shell. We're going to see some good numbers out of Exxon or ENI, and we didn't get any of that...


QUEST: Now, if we didn't -- not easy to say ENI and any, if we didn't get good numbers from Shell...

BOULDEN: Yes, Exxon.

QUEST: ... Exxon and ENI, that suggests that it's BP that has done particularly well, and that BP, under its new chief executive, is really leading the way.

BOULDEN: This is not about rising production, this is not about rising prices yet, because we're talking about the third quarter, and we're comparing to last year's third quarter. This is about cutting, cutting, and cutting.

OK. Shell said today, going to cut 10 percent of its staff, some 5,000 people, they are saving some money in some areas, but they're going to do a lot more cutting. BP has cut a lot more, over a billion already. So these companies are trying to get to be smaller. Shell's CEO today said he's trying to simplify Shell.

But the thing is, of course, if we don't see the oil price continuing to rise, they won't invest in these new areas. Production is not rising. That's what the analysts are pointing to.

QUEST: But oil prices are again. Today I just noticed, and we're going to update it in a second, the oil price nearly once again $80 a barrel. So admittedly on the back of speculation.

BOULDEN: Yes, but Shell has a lot to do with gas. And gas is not rising as much as oil. So that's one reason why you're seeing Shell slightly different from BP.

QUEST: All right. So Jim Boulden, many thanks.


QUEST: GDP growth in the U.S. helped trigger a strong rally as we just alluded to there. The price of crude oil on Thursday. In New York trading oil rose by more than $2.50 a barrel. It's now $80, give or take, that's the West Texas Intermediate grade and blend, always a bit more than the Brent blend. Poppy Harlow is in New York. Poppy joins me now.

As we look, Poppy, at the price of oil and where it is trading, your graph is rather charming and makes the point that we're back up to the highs of the year.

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: You know, we are, Richard. And it's so interesting because you ask the folks that trade this crude, we were at the NYMEX yesterday here in New York where they trade oil futures. You've been down there many times, and they don't see any fundamentals for this.

Let's go through the numbers, folks, and look where we were. We started out on January right around here. We hit those lows in March, right along with the equity market, interestingly enough, when we saw the lows in stocks, we saw the lows in crude prices we've gone off.

But what is really interesting to look at, I think, is this area. Why have we seen such a rise in crude? Why is crude rising today when we've seen a fall-off in equities all by today. We've got a triple-digit gain for the Dow Industrials, but what we've seen is crude steadily rising along with that as we've seen a pullback in the market.

It's interesting to look at that, when you look at the numbers out of the EIA talking about the supply and demand numbers in the United States, we've got more supply. This isn't an issue of a lack of supply. But what is interesting, Richard, when you look at the OPEC outlook, what they're predicting is they say the economies around the world are recovering.

They're increasing their demand picture, looking at 2010, but for right now, the demand picture doesn't seem to be there. We spoke to the oil traders on the floor, at the NYMEX. Here is a little bit of what they told us about what is driving this rise in crude. Take a listen.


HARLOW: Is there fundamental basis for oil rising as it has?

TOM REILLY, SCS COMMODITIES: No, not if you're looking at real supply-demand, but if you're looking at as a hedge against the weak dollar, that's pretty much what we've been following lately.

MARK SOLAZZO, M. SOLAZZO TRADING COMPANY: I just think this run-up has been unwarranted, mostly because of the devaluation of the dollar. If you see a pick-up in the valuation of the dollar against other currencies, I think you'll see a sell-off into crude.


HARLOW: So it's all following the dollar trend inversely, Richard, which we talk about so much. They're saying you've got to watch the dollar every single day, every moment. That's what they're doing. That's how they're trading oil right now -- Richard.

QUEST: All right. Yes, but, Poppy, as I look at your numbers there on the graph, at $80 a barrel, most industries, certainly the aviation industry, airlines, say they can live with that. It's only when you start getting to $90 and $100 a barrel that it jeopardizes economic growth.

And -- and the speculators are still believed to be the ones doing the damage.

HARLOW: You know, you're exactly right. I just spoke with -- you've been speaking with CEOs of the airline industry this week alone. We spoke with one of them last week talking about the fact they are hedging higher. They're protecting themselves against that $147 a barrel crude that really blew up that airline industry in terms of their profitability factor.

They're preparing for more volatile oil. Most of the traders yesterday, Richard, told me they're long on crude, only one told me he's short. They're calling for $100 crude next year. But I asked them about regulation and the speculation and if you're speculating on these markets, 99.9 percent of you don't take deliver of that oil, do we need more regulation because there is just a lack of talk about regulation now of these markets at this point.

Every single one of them said, do not regulate these markets more. If you do and if you come after the speculators that way, they're going to go to the overseas markets, Richard. That's exactly what they said, the non- regulated markets.

QUEST: They -- you know, there is a famous saying...

HARLOW: There you have it.

QUEST: There is a famous saying in Britain, goes back to a court case in the 1960s, they would say that, wouldn't they? Poppy Harlow, many thanks, indeed. Poppy in New York on the price of oil.

You've probably got some more thoughts on whether or not speculators should be regulated.


It's the company which makes the vital ingredients in everything from shampoo to computers. And a disappointing set of numbers. The (INAUDIBLE) chemicals group BASF talks about what is the right mix to the recovery.

And a software upgrade, France's Dassault Systemes says, we (INAUDIBLE) bigger deal with IBM, Big Blue.



QUEST: Now the world's biggest chemical company, BASF, says tumbling sales are eating away at profits. A disappointing quarter for the company. Net slumped nearly 70 percent to just under $350 million. Revenue fell down 19 percent, $19 billion, still a great deal of money.

The company says it's beginning to turn things around, and warns the growth would be slow and even. The chief executive told us where that growth may come from.


JURGEN HAMBRECHT, CEO, BASF: If you look into the world and you would say this a six cylinder engine, there is only one cylinder really working very, very smoothly, and this is especially China. And then comes Asia and partly also South America whereas Europe and North America are still rather weak, but have stabilized on a very, very low level.


QUEST: Now continuing with our look at CEOs, software-maker Dassault Systemes says it may be selling fewer products and making less money, and yet that hasn't stopped it from going ahead with expansion plans at this stage in the recession recovery.

Dassault has paid $600 million. It has bought a sales and plant (ph) support unit, a joint venture that it has had with IBM since 1981. It's an interesting division, not the sort of thing you and I might deal with every day. The unit sells product life-cycle management software.

The chief exec of Dassault, Bernard Charles, explained why he thinks this is the right time to spend this much money to buy out the deal.


BERNARD CHARLES, PRES. & CEO, DASSAULT SYSTEMES: It's a joint decision. We -- now it's becoming a big business, PLM, product life-cycle management is a big business. And it was becoming quite complex to engage with large customers, IBM we would sell -- we would sell to because we have an application portfolio that we sell directly.

And (INAUDIBLE) receive from IBM said maybe it's time for us to integrate that onto -- go to a broader partnership with the IBM company. That basically timing was right, you know, because the slowdown in the economy. And (INAUDIBLE) we have to prefer the future.

So timing is right for people, for customers, and for our alliance.

QUEST: Does this signify a shift in the way you wish to take the company? Because if you're now going to spend $600 million to basically take it all in-house, you had better get a decent ROI on that money.

CHARLES: It's a decent ROI because basically we've said it's going to be accretive on both operating margin and EPS, but also what is happening is, it's going to give us a new reach. You know, we've been serving the aerospace, the automotive, the naval (ph) industries at-large. We are mission critical. No airplanes are built in the world without using our software any more. Same for the cars.

But we have now customers in the consumer packaged good like Procter is a prestigious customer; in the luxury goods with Chanel, Gucci, and many others. So that's a systems software that is being used for every type of innovation. We need a new reach to this market on a global basis. And that's the real objective of that alliance, of that new deal.

QUEST: Can a company that makes and manufactures software for aviation, heavy industry, mission critical procedures, also have the mentality that it can see through to luxury goods? Is there -- is it -- is software software?

CHARLES: Well, it's about knowing and understanding the innovation process. You know, we have reached a level of realism with what we do in 3D modeling and simulation, that it's almost life-like. You see the movies now. You see many of those things, but now this is for a real object that you have in your real life.

And believe me, we can really simulate everything, and it's becoming easier and easier, we have even an application on iPhone.

QUEST: But the engineers that design one, are they equipped mentally, psychologically to design for the other?

CHARLES: That's a very, very profound question. In fact, when you -- when we initiated the cooperation with Chanel, I mean, luxury -- really luxury goods, we were wondering if we would understand each other. OK?

Could we understand each other? And the reality of this partnership, it's only growing. We have been able to work with their artistic studio and help them create virtual prototyping of their new products, something they would have been doing physically before, and it was just a reveal (ph) for them.

They said, wow, this is now helping us to create not only the packaging, the styling, but also how they develop (ph) the products.


QUEST: A fascinating insight into the way in which a company can adapt from Bernard Charles, the chief exec of Dassault Systemes.

The numbers say the U.S. economy is beginning to blossom after a long cold economic winter. The Dow is up very sharply. If you live in the States, it might not necessarily feel things are getting better. In a moment, we'll be back with the grass roots in Brooklyn (INAUDIBLE).




QUEST: Good evening.

I'm Richard Quest.


You're watching CNN.

It's a case of a rebound in the economic cycle -- the strongest in some eight years. New growth for the U.S. arrives on the anniversary of the start of the Great Depression -- 80 years ago all that took place. And today, we got a 3.5 percent GDP growth in the third quarter. Highly technical stuff, but it suggests that the U.S. economy is out of recession.

And Susan Lisovicz is here to tell us -- Susan, look, you -- nobody, yourself included, because you and I were just talking before we went on air -- nobody seems to want to ring the bell for this -- declaring the recession over.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we still have big problems in the U.S. Perhaps you can be a bit more smug on your side of the pond, Mr. Quest. But, you know, we have a jobs report coming out next week and we could see unemployment at 10 percent.

Joseph Stiglitz, the noted economist, today was saying that, you know, -- you know, regardless of this GDP report, sure, it's a great relief, but the -- the U.S. economy is not going to grow fast enough to offset what we're seeing in the jobless rate. And the jobless rate certainly affects consumer spending. And consumer spending has been stimulated by trillions of dollars of stimulus and some of it's going to go away. The punch bowl will be removed.

But right now it seems like investors are drunk on the numbers, or at least very relieved by what we heard earlier today on third quarter GDP.

QUEST: Oh, hallelujah. You finally decide to agree -- to join me in this party. A Dow of over...


QUEST: Now come on (INAUDIBLE). A Dow that's up more than -- or nearly 2 percent. We're off the tops of the day. Energy stocks are doing well and you're going to try and convince me it's all something to do with the dollar.

LISOVICZ: Well, it does. I mean, you know, there's no denying it. I mean, look what's happening with oil. Oil settled at its high -- close to its high for the year. I know you and Poppy were just talking about it a few minutes ago. But this is what's happening. I mean check out some of these energy stocks. BP (ph) and Chevron are each up about 2.5 percent. Halliburton is up 4.5 percent.

Yes, that's what happens when you see oil taking a big stand like that. And, for that matter, commodities in general. You know, gold is up $17, you know, close to its high for the year. So, you know, that's what's -- what's happening here.

The GDP number was -- no question about it -- the big report of the week, really, a great relief. But I think that this rally that we're seeing today, you know, at its high, one of the best we've seen in the last few months.

QUEST: Two things to point out. First of all -- and, of course, here in the U.K., we are still in recession firmly, having fallen by 4/10 of a percent in the last quarter. So there's certainly no party going on here.

Eightieth anniversary of Black -- the -- the Thursday when, of course, it all went horribly...

LISOVICZ: Black Tuesday.

QUEST: Black Tuesday, I beg your pardon. Forgive me. Black Tuesday, when it all went horribly wrong. A certain irony, perhaps, that the crash back then on the same day as the recovery, signaling the worst recession since.

LISOVICZ: And, you know, it's interesting because, you know, the crash on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, the Dow lost a whopping 30 points. But that amounted to about -- close to 12 percent. And it came on the heels of a sell-off the previous day -- you could call it Black Monday -- of 12 percent. So it was just a devastating blow. And the stock market would continue to decline for the next few years, coming off 89 percent. The Dow losing 89 percent...


LISOVICZ: -- from its high in 1929.

QUEST: Susan, everybody, in the last six months has been basically saying that the initial Wall Street crash was followed by a large rise in stocks, which then followed onto the Black Tuesday and we were destined to repeat the same mistake.

Are people in Wall Street in New York now putting to bed the idea that there's a second shoe to drop which could take us into a long depressive era?

LISOVICZ: A double dip, you mean -- a double dip recession?

I -- I think that, you know, one portfolio manager who I was just speaking to was saying that, you know, with each number like the one we got today on GDP, it -- it sort of puts to bed those fears -- not completely asleep yet. No one's completely comfortable with it yet, because there always can be shocks to the system and we've certainly had them.

But it -- it does -- it does quiet down those fears. And that's why - - that's why you see rallies like this. It is certainly a big contributing factor.

QUEST: Susan Lisovicz, who is at the New York Stock Exchange and is making sense of it all. And, of course, neither Susan nor I remember, of course, that -- well, let's leave it there.

Susan Lisovicz at the Exchange.

The economic upturn is old news. The managers at the Lee Spring Company in New York City, they've been seeing positive growth trends for months. And now they expect it to continue.

We need to get back to basics, so Maggie Lake went to see why business is literally bouncing back.


MAGGIE LAKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It may be autumn outside this Brooklyn manufacturing complex, but inside, it's feeling a bit like spring. Demand at Lee Spring, a New York City-based manufacturer since 1918, is bouncing back.

Since July, it's seen orders pick up from a wide range of industries, including aerospace, defense, medical and clean technologies. Helping drive business -- rising demand from overseas.

STEVE KEMPF, CEO, LEE SPRING: We're seeing a lot of growth into Europe. We're also seeing growth into Mexico. And Canada has been a -- a real highlight of us lately. We're seeing good, strong growth into Canada and we're seeing growth into the Far East.

LAKE: During the height of the economic crisis, Lee saw orders plunge more than 20 percent from normal levels. They're still off about 10 percent, but Lee hopes to see positive growth next year.

One big reason -- the weaker dollar, which is helping boost exports.

KEMPF: Sales in certain area -- in certain areas and to certain regions, where we've been helped by the exchange rate, have been -- are growing in double digits right now. And that's a -- a big turnaround from the way it was, you know, nine months ago or so, when the dollar was moving in the other direction.

LAKE: Over the past year, the U.S. dollar has dropped 12 percent against major world currencies. For Lee and other U.S. manufacturers, a weaker dollar means U.S. products are cheaper to buy overseas. Thanks, in part, to this trend, overall U.S. exports rose at an annual rate of more than 14 percent over the summer.


LAKE: Lee's global marketing director, Helene Herman, says the weaker dollar could persuade overseas buyers to think again about buying American.

HERMAN: A weak dollar may encourage people who might look at buying a product domestically to look at an American-made product, because they're getting more than just the dollar. They're also getting the ingenuity, the engineering expertise, the consistency of materials.

LAKE: Herman says many small manufacturers she talks to are ready to take even greater advantage of the weak dollar and expand exports, but are being held back by banks reluctant to lend.

Despite the challenges, trends may be looking up.

KEMPF: Lee Spring is a good barometer for the economy as a whole because we're so broad-based. And we've certainly seen growth over the last quarter. And we look, from what we're reading from our customers, that we'll see growth in the next quarter and into 2010.

LAKE: Business strength benefiting from currency weakness.

Maggie Lake, CNN, Brooklyn, New York.


QUEST: Never let it be said that we don't give you both sides of the story, from Main Street and Wall Street.

Maggie Lake reporting there.

When I return in just a moment, things are speeding up a bit in Abu Dhabi. We're going to take a look at the end of the Formula 1 season and a new economic vision for this rising star of the Gulf, in just a moment.


QUEST: A nation built on oil wells is about to burn some serious fuel. The Formula 1 season screeches to a climax this Sunday on Abu Dhabi's brand new Yas Marina Circuit. Well, for this tiny economic power, the prize is not just sporting.

Leone Lakhani now looks at how Abu Dhabi is driving the changes.


LEONE LAKHANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nestled along the Persian Gulf, Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, has quietly built up its economic prowess since the 1960s. But it's long chosen a low key approach, remaining in the shadow of its glamorous neighbor, Dubai.

Now, it's coming out of its shell with a bang, hosting its first ever Formula 1 race to round out the 2009 Grand Prix calendar.

(on camera): Abu Dhabi is launching itself on the world stage on this Yas Marina circuit. A hundred and fifty thousand people are expected here over the Grand Prix weekend -- everyone from heads of state to full-time Formula 1 fans.

(voice-over): It's all part of Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, a systematic plan to build the city and its economy over the next two decades.

RICHARD OREGAN, CEO, YAS MARINA CIRCUIT: It is part of it, by being a communication tool, by actually drawing attention. Formula 1 is one of the -- the three largest sports in the world. You have the -- you know, your Formula 1, you have the Olympics and you have the World Cup in football. On a yearly basis, Formula 1 is, by far, the biggest. So you've got 600 million viewers worldwide.

So if you want to draw a focus to your -- your city or your country, then what better way to do it than Formula 1?

LAKHANI: Until now, the evolution of Abu Dhabi has revolved around its vast oil reserves. The UAE is one of the world's top oil producers and more than 90 percent of the country's crude reserves are based in Abu Dhabi. Revenues from the oil production have helped build up its cash reserves. Its sovereign wealth fund is the richest in the world, outranking Norway, Saudi Arabia and China. Now, its keen to diversify away from oil, with a push toward manufacturing.

SIMON WILLIAMS, CHIEF ECONOMIST, HSBC: When I talk to policymakers now, they are very keen to develop their domestic infrastructure, develop their service center, as well, but also build up an industrial base. This is an economy which is coming of age.

LAKHANI: And in this new age, it wants to expand its horizons beyond the traditional realm of business.

(on camera): This may look like a building site, but in a few year's time, Abu Dhabi's cultural district will be in full swing and museums like the Guggenheim and Louvre will all be situated here.

(voice-over): Abu Dhabi hopes its cultural programs, which include an annual film festival, will bring in the international visitors. The goal now is to get the economy on track. Long-term, Abu Dhabi's vision is ambitious, but achieving that goal is still two decades in the making.

Leone Lakhani, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


QUEST: Now, motor sport has a clear role in the future of the Middle East. It's also a part of its history.

CNN's Stan Grant caught up with the UAE's Rallyiung legend, Mohammed Bin Sulayem, to get his take on the region's racing past.


STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mohammed, thank you very much for speaking to us.

I'm going to embarrass you. You've been called the most successful sports star ever in the UAE, 14 times winner of the -- of the...

MOHAMMED BIN SULAYEM: The Middle East Championship.

GRANT: ...Championship. More international successes than any other driver, International Rally successes.


GRANT: What a career.

BIN SULAYEM: It's a long career, but an interesting career, really. And the world's -- this sport took a lot of my time and from me, but also it gave me a lot. And I think that, also, we are getting, now, of motor sports, it seems nobody can pass by the Middle East and ignore motor sports in this part of the world.

GRANT: Especially with the World Grand Prix coming to Abu Dhabi.

BIN SULAYEM: Yes. Yes. A Grand Prix now will there be. The first one was in Bahrain. We are ready now.

A lot of people used to ask why did we have it?

I think it came at the right time. It's not just oh, we have the money, take this and bring this. No. Everything of that category should be studied and then they took time to -- it to be accepted. And when it is here, it's going to stay.

GRANT: Now, talking about time, I'm going to take you back in time, because when you first started driving, you were a little boy.


GRANT: And you used to sneak out at night, is that right?

BIN SULAYEM: Yes, and during the day...


GRANT: ...your father's car?

BIN SULAYEM: Yes, I wanted the car (INAUDIBLE) pushed them open.

GRANT: He didn't know you were doing it.

BIN SULAYEM: No, he didn't. No, but -- but there were times -- it was not the traffic that you see in the UAE now. No, no. And it was partly the clo -- you know, we crossed the -- the road and there is desert. So I used to push the car in (INAUDIBLE) when I had that strength, I was so skinny, I would put my legs on the wall and I would push this Land Rover far away.

And the driver -- the one that worked for us -- he did not -- it was so -- I think in the (INAUDIBLE) he used to put the -- the keys in the top of the -- not on the visor, but not in just in the roof. And then it's so obvious I can't see him.

GRANT: He knew -- he knew what he was doing.

BIN SULAYEM: No, he didn't.


BIN SULAYEM: And then it wasn't (INAUDIBLE) used to drive the car and bring it back. The only thing he was -- he couldn't believe that the pedal was running out of the car.


BIN SULAYEM: But the times were different then.

GRANT: Is -- is that (INAUDIBLE) a lot of driving training for you and when did you decide that you'd become a Rally driver?

BIN SULAYEM: The -- first of all, it never meant anything to me...


BIN SULAYEM: No, no. It was just something I wanted, something where my hair stands up, you see?

And that was the challenge of speed (INAUDIBLE) driving. And then it was -- I think it was then that I was meant to be in driving. Regardless, if it was through a friend or through accident or through pure luck, I was meant to be driving.

GRANT: You made history with this vehicle, right?

BIN SULAYEM: It's -- it's my winning car of 1988 and I drove it a bit in '87. It's one of the, maybe, few cars which I have left. I won so many Rallies in it. And we had really thrilling times in it. You know, it's -- it's my history. It's my (INAUDIBLE). And -- and it's not just mine, but it's the area's history. It's the UAE history, because that's what made history and won and helped in winning. It's an (INAUDIBLE).

GRANT: So this is the key to your success?

BIN SULAYEM: Yes, one of the keys. I mean just -- look, but it took 40 years to restore. I mean looking at it -- I mean look at this.


Now, I don't know a lot about engines.


GRANT: But this is impressive, I can tell you.

BIN SULAYEM: It is. And it was the queen of the desert at that time.

My colleagues and my competitors said, what's the secret of you winning?

I said if I tell you, please don't tell anybody.

He said, what?

I said, when you wwere sitting in your hotel sleeping or enjoying food, I was in the desert practicing -- practicing.


QUEST: Stan Grant there. And it's not often I'm able to enjoy some of these things from the top, but on Sunday, I will be in Abu Dhabi for that Formula 1 Grand Prix. I'm looking forward to it enormously. Because Abu Dhabi is joining the CNN family.

Monday next week, we will be opening a brand new global production center in Abu Dhabi. And then on Tuesday, Stan Grant will be hosting a new show, "Prism," from CNN's Abu Dhabi studios. It will take one story each day and look at it from multiple points of view.

Stan Grant looking through the prism Tuesday, 21:00 in Abu Dhabi, 17:00 here in London. It's a big week, as we expand the network here on CNN.

When I return in just a moment, there are interesting ways of making money in business. For example, if you're a college, you can get Chinese students to come and study, in just a moment.


QUEST: If you want to get ahead, get an education. So says the old saying. These days, if you're in China and you want to show advancement, the best place, so it's said, to get educated is in the United States. So it's hardly surprising that U.S. colleges and universities are doing all they can to attract Chinese students. Not only does it boost the ranks of their foreign graduates, it's also a very big booming business, as John Vause reports from Beijing.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): This is cram school -- a privately run crash course to get Chinese students into American universities. And business is booming. Students like Zhou Meiyi, whose parents are willing to pay about $10,000 U.S. to help her pass the SAT entrance exam to college admission in the United States.

ZHOU MEIYI, CHINESE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I plan to apply for 30 universities -- to 15 universities, such as Amare (ph) and Notre Dame.

VAUSE: She's not applying to any Chinese schools, putting all her hopes on an American dream, even though she's never traveled overseas and worries about fitting in on campus.

MEIYI: I may be cannot make friends.

VAUSE: If Meiyi gets into Emory, she needn't worry. Chinese students make up the largest minority group there, part of a record number of students coming from China. Already this year, the U.S. has approved almost 90,000 student visas from China, more than all of last year, which was also a record high.

U.S. schools like Harvard and Yale consistently rank among the best in the world. While on one popular academic list here, all mainland Chinese universities are way down -- below 200 out of 500.

(on camera): As Chinese families become wealthier, they often want the best education that money can buy for their child, usually their only child. And that increasingly means a good school in the U.S. and with that can come pressure to do whatever it takes to get accepted.

JEAN JORDAN, ADMISSIONS DEAN, EMORY UNIVERSITY: We've definitely all heard about forged documents and certainly China is not the only place where that happens.

VAUSE: Zhou Yong runs university prep schools across China, insisting his students get an all round education. But in recent years, he says the market has become crowded with tutors and other operators focusing on nothing more than getting students a passing grade.

ZHOU YONG, CEO, KAPLAN CHINA: There's actually a lot of people doing that here in China, basically by cramming, you know, exams, results or helping to write essays or applications.

VAUSE: Regardless of how they get in, the number of Chinese students on American campuses is expected to double in the next few years.

John Vause, CNN, Beijing.


QUEST: A green for recovery when we come back.

Profitable Moment is after the break.


QUEST: Tonight's Profitable Moment -- when is recession officially over?

We've spent much of today in our office e-mailing between my colleagues and myself, saying we should hedge our bets -- don't declare the recession over in the U.S. until the NBER officially says it's over. Now, that, of course, could be many months from now. It's all very technical. And let us ignore the technical stuff for the moment.

There are no shortage of people who are saying that today's 3.5 percent GDP number is all because of U.S. government stimulus and it won't last -- this might be a fugacious recovery -- here today, gone tomorrow, very short-lived.

The point is it's the quality of the recovery that we really need to concentrate upon. Just about everyone is in agreement that in the U.S. and in Europe, recovery will be slow and sluggish. Suddenly, today's news, like the number, isn't quite so positive.

Yes, a return to growth is necessary, but do not be deceived. It may be necessary, but it's not sufficient. We're going in the right direction, but we're only just starting on the road to recovery.


I'm Richard Quest.

Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable.

Christiane is next, after the headlines.