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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
The Jobless Recovery, U.S. Unemployment Falls. When You Are In A Hole It Is Best To Stop Digging; Australia's New Prime Minister Waters Down The Mining Tax
Aired July 2, 2010 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INT'L. ANCHOR, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: The jobless recovery, U.S. unemployment falls.
When you are in a hole it is best to stop digging. Australia's new prime minister waters down the mining tax.
And as you heard, Brazil are out-never mind the football, we have a shock exit in our Economic World Cup.
I'm Richard Quest, the end of the week, we still have a busy hour as I mean business.
In the United States the jobs recovery appears to have run out of steam. In a warning signal for the global economy American payrolls fell in June, for the first time this year, in the private sector. Hiring grew a little but not as vigorously as the markets had hoped. I want you to look at these numbers quite closely, because what you see here, of course, is the difference between public sector jobs in the gray and private business hiring in the blue.
And as you see here, as we move towards the others, vast spike in the public sector jobs largely as a result of the Census. Those people counting Americans for the year, every 10 years. But look here, in June, in June those Census jobs fall out and we only see 83,000 or so, give or take, business hiring, private sector jobs. Now, the feeling there, of course, is even totality, net-net-net, it is only 125,000 and that is not enough to get anything like the sort of growth that needs to be-that needs to be taking place. The unemployment rate for last month fell a couple of percentage points, despite the weaker jobs market. The unemployment rate came down from 9.7 percent to 9.5 percent. But even that is not what it might seem, because quite a number of people were no longer being counted as unemployed, because they simply stopped looking for work.
Alan Krueger joins me now. Oh, we hope he's going to join me. Maybe he will be with me in just a second. Alan Krueger is the assistant secretary for economic policy at the U.S. Treasury. He's joining us from the White House. I'm hopeful that Mr. Krueger can now join me.
Mr. Kruger, Mr. Assistant Secretary, let's test the connection first. Can you hear me?
ALAN KRUEGER, ASST. SECRETARY, ECON. POLICY, U.S. TREASURY DEPT. I can hear you loud and clear.
QUEST: Excellent, Sir. Thank you very much.
Look, there is nothing cheerful in tonight's-in today's numbers is there? The administration remains deeply concerned about them.
KRUEGER: Well, I don't think I would be quite so pessimistic about today's report. We saw the private sector has expanded now for six months in a row. Of course, we'd like to see faster job growth. But if you take a step back we were losing over 750,000 jobs a month, a year and a half ago. And now we've gained 600,000 private sector jobs so far this year.
Also, if you compare today's numbers to our forecast, we are really right on target. We were expecting about 100,000 jobs a month, on average, this year. And that is what we're seeing in the private sector so far this year.
QUEST: But what it does show, doesn't it, Sir, is that it is proving to be extremely difficult, even with unbelievably accommodative monetary policy to get real jobs growth again.
KRUEGER: Well, we always knew it would be difficult. We had such a deep recession. The Recovery Act, the other actions that were taken, have put the breaks on this steep slide that we've had. And we've been expanding. We'd like to expand more quickly, no question. I'm particularly worried about the longer-term unemployed. But I think things are pointing in the right direction and it is important to keep that in mind, even though we would like to see it more vigorous.
QUEST: What will give that vigor? Because monetary policy is as low as it can be. The chances of a further fiscal stimulus in the U.S. is just about non-existent, G20 European countries are pulling back toward austerity, so it is difficult to see which way you move.
KRUEGER: Well, first of all, there is more stimulus in the pipeline, from the Recovery Act. This summer we are going to see more Recovery Act activity than we have so far. On top of that we are also seeking to expand unemployment benefits, a tax cut was passed for employers that hire unemployed workers. So, I think you'll see more in the pipeline in terms of government activity. But we're also starting to see the private sector filling in.
QUEST: Let's talk about the private sector, because I think you would agree, the private sector is where growth has to come for long-term, sustainable, economic growth, doesn't it?
KRUEGER: Oh, no question. The government can set the conditions for the economy to grow, but it is up to the private sector to create the jobs, create the innovations and fuel the economy forward.
And, finally, as you take a look at the G20 process, how worried are you, and how worried is the administration that the rest of the world is in austerity mode, and the rest of the world is hoping to export all their stuff to the United States?
KRUEGER: Well, I don't think the rest of the world should expect the U.S. to be the consumer of last resort. I think we're going to see a continued rebalancing of consumption here, in the U.S. and other countries are going to have to take steps that are in their interest, and that varies across Europe. But if we look domestically here, it looks like the private economy in the U.S. is healing, at least gradually healing. We'd like to speed that up to the extent that we can.
QUEST: Thank you very much. Alan Krueger, many thanks indeed for joining us from the White House. I think the key word there, is the economy is "healing". But perhaps not as fast as the administration would like, Alan Krueger, the chief economist at the U.S. Treasury and the assistant secretary of the Treasury.
Now, poor jobs numbers has stoked fears of that double-dip recession, which perhaps doesn't look likely at the moment, on the numbers.
Todd Benjamin, good evening, Todd.
TODD BENJAMIN, FINANCIAL ANALYST: Great seeing you, as always. It is always interesting hearing somebody who is with the administration.
BENJAMIN: In terms of the type of spin they put on something. He's right, you know, things are improving. But when you look at the markets response, they are not buying the Obama line.
QUEST: Oh, I don't agree, Todd. You are being pessimistic.
BENAJMIN: I'm not being pessimistic.
QUEST: The Dow is just off 73 points. Give us a-before a long weekend! Todd!
BENAJMIN: How much is the S&P down this week? How much is the S&P down before today? Down 4.3 percent. How much is it down for the quarter?
QUEST: Not just on the back-
BENAJMIN: What percent?
QUEST: Not just on the back today's jobs numbers.
BENAJMIN: No, of course, not.
QUEST: China, Europe, a whole variety of issues.
BENAJMIN: You're making my job easy. Absolutely. The fear is that the global economy is slowing.
QUEST: Yes, but we know that!
BENAJMIN: There are manufacturing figures out of China, the U.S., Europe, this week. Consumer confidence, rise in jobless claims. I can go on and on, the point is, the recovery that the markets were expecting is not materializing and so then you have to ask yourself, all right, are valuations compelling, and therefore the market is oversold, as some people feel it is? Or, is the reality that the economy is getting worse and the market yet has to build all that in?
QUEST: There is a huge difference, and you put me on the wrong side of this argument, Todd.
BENAJMIN: Oh, poor, Richard.
QUEST: There is a huge difference between the economy getting worse and the economy slowing down. We always knew, once the exit strategies would be implemented. The question, once again that perhaps you've ignored, is whether or not these exit strategies are the correct ones at this moment?
BENAJMIN: Well, I think there are some people who question, you know, in terms of the austerity measures that certain countries are putting it in, especially, in Europe. And maybe the U.S. is right to argue otherwise. But the bottom line is you have to, at some point, think, all right, if we don't pull in, you have a Greece situation.
QUEST: Which, of course, puts you, Todd, deliciously uncomfortable. Because on the one hand, I know your philosophies of old, you don't want to see government spending, but on the other hand, you don't want a Greece situation.
BENAJMIN: You don't want a Greece situation. And at some point you have to balance between growth and pulling back. And the huge debt situation we're seeing in many countries, the U.S. is not facing up to it. They are hoping for better growth. Your Treasury official said, basically, these numbers are on target. But I guarantee you, in the back rooms, they are sweating it because they have a mid-term election in November. There is a lot at risk, and unless the economy is really improving by then, and it looks like it is going in the opposite direction. There is going to blood on the street for the Democrats.
QUEST: All right. Political blood on the street.
QUEST: Make that clear.
Second of, according to my computer, it is the second of July. We're into another quarterly reporting season. Now, we saw the end of the first season-the numbers were good. There was nothing wrong with the numbers. And the market didn't really give much of encouragement. So, corporations are making money and doing well?
BENAJMIN: They are doing well. All right. And probably the numbers will be fine. The question is, what are the numbers going to be in the second half of the year? And what are they going to be in the 2011? They maybe wildly optimistic at this point.
QUEST: Ah. Will you hang around for the Economic World Cup?
QUEST: Doubt that we are all going to live to regret this.
All right. When we come back in a moment, it was a profitable day for the mining company and natural resources industry showed how to undermine an unpopular tax. Oh, by the way, got rid of a prime minister in the process. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, it's Friday. Todd's with us.
(DESK BELL CHIMES)
QUEST: Australia's government has bowed to the inevitable and watered down the plan to squeeze billions of dollars of extra tax from the mining industry. The proposal met furious opposition from the country's biggest mining companies. And the initial plan was a 40 percent tax on excess profits. Well, that is now gone, instead a 30 percent levy that is restricted to coal and iron ore miners, rather than all resources.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: It will deliver the sustained investment in infrastructure that we need in mining and regional communities around the nation. It will maintain Australia's standing as a competitive and attractive destination for investment, and strengthen our economy for the future. And it will enable Australian business to grow by cutting taxes for businesses and reducing red tape for small business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now, the new prime minister there, Julia Gillard, who withdrew the super-tax proposal of her predecessor, within days of becoming the country's prime minister. So, now, what does it actually mean? And really who wins and looses? Greg Jennett found out what the miners think of it all.
GREG JENNETT, CNN INT'L. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Always seen, always heard, and finally ignored.
ANDREW FORREST, FORTESCUE METALS: I spoke to you today more in sorrow than in anger.
JENNETT: Andrew Twiggy Forrest led the resistance to the tax, but when the serious talks began, Fortescue Metals were rank outsiders.
FORREST: It is a shame that it is cut and dried by people who Mike described the prime minister only days ago was saying we're not companies which could be trusted.
JENNETT: The settlement hasn't won over the West.
COLIN BARNETT, PREMIER OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA: I do not support it. But I recognize and I conceded it is not as onerous as the previous proposal.
JENNETT: Colin Barnett sees a potential high court challenge and can't understand why the tax man likes coal and iron ore, but nothing else.
BARNETT: If the price of uranium rises in the coming years, which it probably will, I'm presuming that is going to be drawn in. It the nickel price suddenly surges, or the gold price, are they going to be drawn in?
JENNETT: In Queensland, happy days are here again.
ANNA BLIGH, PREMEIR OF QUEENSLAND: Frankly, I am relieved that this mining tax argument is now behind us and we can go on and get those projects up and running.
JENNETT: Regional Queensland stood to take a hammering under the Rudd regime. Now certainty is being restored for billions of dollars worth of gas projects.
Lurking within this settlement are the makings of an all new dispute. Business isn't getting the company tax rates it is expected, but still has to pay higher workers superannuation. And it isn't taking it lightly.
PETER ANDERSON, AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY: Australia's employers now have less capacity to fund what will be a $20 billion hit on industry.
Heather Ridout was on the Henry Review that wanted a 5 percent drop in company tax. She isn't settling for just one.
HEATHER RIDOUT, AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP: It is deeply disappointing. The company tax changes weren't tax cuts as much as tax reform. And they now seem to be put off the agenda indefinitely.
JENNETT: They are vowing to fight for more after the election. Greg Jennett, ABC News, Canberra.
QUEST: Now, the tax question affected major companies like Rio Tinto and BHB Billiton. It is worth us quickly just looking to show you. On May 4 is roughly when the announcement was announced, or the original plan, in early May. And over that period we had an enormous amount of volatility. As people wondered what, but ultimately the share price sank by more than 8 percent, wiping off $5 billion from BHP's share price.
There was uncertainty in the middle part of May and into June. We then get this spike, which shows just how resource companies are so susceptible. That is the yuan, when China said it was going to allow the yuan to appreciate. And then you get the fall of again, mainly as a result following on from that, the resignation, of Kevin Rudd. And now, just there, you start to see a little bit of the recovery in the share price. But overall, a fall from over 22, 22.05, right down to 1.723, and the share price is still heavily off.
Right, in a moment, in the Netherlands, they are singing the praises of their footballers, right now. Not surprisingly. Two in the back of the net against Brazil. Is the economy as well balanced as the team? The Dutch versus the South Americans, the Economic World Cup in a moment.
QUEST: Welcome. In a few moments from now Ghana begins their match against Uruguay in the World Cup. And whoever wins that will meet the Netherlands in the semi-finals. The Dutch knocked out Brazil in the tournament just a few hours ago. It was a stunning comeback in the second half of the match. Brazil, the favorites to win the World Cup, took an early lead. But the Dutch team scored twice in the second half. Fans around the world, needless to say, went into a veritable frenzy and probably had to be quieted down in a darkened room.
(FANS CHEERING, WHISTLING)
QUEST: Which brings us to the Economic World Cup.
Pain in Brazil in the football stakes. It could still take some beating when we look at matters off the pitch. The Economic World Cup looks, of course, at who really should win in the economic stakes. As Jim Boulden now reports, the current contenders, well, one of the big ones, has now just gone in the Economic World Cup.
JIM BOULDEN, CNN INT'L. CORRESPONDENT (On camera): So, it is the quarter finals now of the World Cup. Only a handful of teams are left. We thought for this addition of the Economic World Cup, we looked at investing in property, in the countries that made the last eight. So, we came here to one investment property house, to see where they think you should put your money.
Let's look a the teams of the final eight, in the World Cup, the countries. Holland, Brazil, Uruguay, Ghana, Argentina, Germany, Paraguay and Spain; which of those places is a good investment? Good property investment?
DALE ANDERSON, EXPERIENCE INTERNATIONAL: For investments, Brazil. You can own free owned property. They are very secure in terms of checking licenses on the land title, permissions are granted, they are open to foreign investments. There is no issue with regards to purchasing properties by foreigners, and the process is actually very straightforward.
What about investing in property in Africa? Beyond South Africa, or is this really the only place you would recommend people to invest?
ANDERSON: Africa, the issue is regulations of foreign property, interest rates are quite high. In many parts of Africa it is difficult to obtain finance. And it is the safety and security issues, while people still see Africa as potentially hazardous and risky. But I think with the football cup in South Africa, it has boosted the market. People have bought real estate in particular areas around Cape Town and the coast. So, you can see it does make a difference.
BOULDEN: So people might one day be investing in Ghana, you never know.
ANDERSON: Yeah, you never know, exactly.
BOULDEN: I notice you have properties in Portugal, but not Spain. Now, Portugal is out, Spain is still in. But Spain went through-a terrible time, of course.
ANDERSON: Spain and Portugal are slightly the same. What is happening in Spain is the bubble has burst. They've over developed. With the euro and the actual economies it is difficult to determine when the prices will go up and when things will pick up again. Also because the market is flooded, there is so much available.
BOULDEN: Is France very different from Spain? Does it have the same problems? In Italy, of course, I think a lot of people around here would love to live in Italy if they could.
ANDERSON: Yes, Italy and France, again, lovely locations. It is more of a lifestyle investment. France has always been good with staffing and the French ski resorts, in the Alps, and that is always going to be popular with, you know, the U.K. and international buyers.
BOULDEN: So, for you, of all the countries in the World Cup, it is Brazil, as far as an investment goes?
ANDERSON: Brazil is number one at the moment. They have economic growth rate, they have the eight strongest gross domestic product at the moment. The economy is expected to grow at a rate of 5 to 6 percent. For the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Brazilians have good credit. They have mortgages available. There is no national debt. And a wealth of natural resources, and-
BOULDEN: Oil, oil.
ANDERSON: Oil, as well. And it is a stunning location for a holiday.
QUEST: Something tells me that when Jim Boulden went out to do that report, he really didn't expect Brazil to be knocked out of the World Cup just yet. But on the Economic World Cup-Todd's back.
Todd, you better waive this, because you-if it was just economics alone.
QUEST: Just economics?
QUEST: Who should win between the Netherlands and Brazil?
BENJAMIN: No brainer, Brazil, for all the reasons that Jim's guest just said. You know, fantastic natural resources, their fiscal position is in good shape, they have done tremendous things over the last decade. True champions.
QUEST: So, Brazil should have. Now, if we take Brazil against any of the others, and tonight for example, we have Uruguay and we have Ghana. And I mean, you know, you pays your money, you takes your choice on that one. Both are reasonably run economies today.
BENJAMIN: But I would actually choose the African economy over the South American economy in this particular instance.
QUEST: They both have chops, but you are probably right-but Brazil should have been able to trounce most of them.
BENJAMIN: Well, there is difference what goes on, on the pitch, and then what in the real economy.
QUEST: As we look at the economies left in the world. We've got Spain over here.
BENJAMIN: Yes. Hey there's a real winner, economically, right. Stay away from Spain.
QUEST: It has got to refinance its debt in July, of some 15-16 billion.
Paraguay probably in the same Ghanaian and Uruguayan. Argentina?
BENJAMIN: Great value because of Vera Dona (ph).
QUEST: Had their crisis, had their economic crisis, but now didn't get so badly affected by the banking crisis.
BENJAMIN: That is true. But I'd still take the Germans over Argentina.
QUEST: I was leaving the Germans to last. Can we still say, economically, amongst this lot, that the Germans are the leaders, bearing in mind the measures that Angela Merkel has taken.
BENJAMIN: Now that Brazil is out?
QUEST: Let's put-humor me, I'm going to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that Brazil is still in, for a moment.
BENJAMIN: I would take Brazil over Germany.
BENJAMIN: Great export machine. No natural resources, from a nominal interest rate standpoint, the returns in Brazil I think are about 10.25 percent. Compare that to Germany and I think-
QUEST: As an exporting, fiscally prudent country, Brazil, that is why Germany has to win.
BENJAMIN: Natural resources. Look, in the end it is going to be one of three things. Either you have the natural resources, the financial resources, or the ability to adapt. Brazil has adapted well, it has financial resources, it has natural resources. It trumps Germany on the natural resources part.
QUEST: All right. Todd has done such a magnificent job for the Brazilian investment corporation.
QUEST: I was going to put it in the Venezuela, but instead-
BENJAMIN: That's it. Great seeing you, as always, Richard.
QUEST: Many thanks, indeed.
BENJAMIN: All right.
QUEST: That's the Economic World Cup, put properly into it for you.
Now, the International Space Station, we will tell you what has been happening there, and the crisis going on at the moment. We'll report to you and let you know that an unmanned cargo ship sailed past its intended rendezvous, but what does it mean? In a moment.
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QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, this is CNN, where the news always comes first. And tonight's main story to bring you, and unmanned Russian supply spacecraft has failed to dock with the International Space Station on Friday.
NASA says it is a technical hitch that developed when the vessel sailed three kilometers past the orbiting platform. The resupply craft is carrying fuel, oxygen, and video equipment and personal items for crew members. NASA is considering whether to make another docking attempt later today.
GUILLERMO ARDUINO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Your forecast for New York. Yesterday, we were right on the dot. It's going to be warm. It will be very warm, but sunny. And the Fourth of July is a holiday here in the United States, Independence Day. In New York, it's going to be warm but totally sunny. You see high pressure here. So very nice here. Clearing, the situation, even all the way to the south, very sunny.
We're still dealing with remnants of Alex, this hurricane then tropical storm. And, it actually flooded Monterrey, a city that usually sees a lot of floods.
Twenty-nine is the forecast for New York for Saturday. Thirty in Atlanta -- a little bit ahead of you guys. Twenty-one in Los Angeles.
Now, in Europe, remember that we said that now the -- the high -- the high pressure is weakening and we have a new system coming into Britain and France. That's where we're going to see some rain. You see, London may see some rain showers. The heat will continue, but this system is going to change things a little bit into Saturday. So we will see a little bit of a relief for France, including Paris; also, Britain still very hot. And we're talking about very high temperatures in Spain. Madrid close to 35 degrees. Unfortunately, here in the Balkan Peninsula, we'll continue to see some rain. We're talking about Romania, where we still have floods. And coming up next on "WORLD ONE," Fionnuala is in Krakow, in Poland. And I'll be talking about what's going on here in Romania with the lingering floods, unfortunately.
The rain showers will affect this weekend, Scotland, especially. Rain showers for Amsterdam; also Paris, Dublin, Brussels. We do not anticipate problems at airports, though, so we will deal with some rain showers and that's about it.
Where you see greens at airports there -- Barcelona, Rome, Milano -- looking fine. Zurich with some evening thunderstorms.
So there are some areas where some clouds pop up now with all the instability that we're dealing with in this area, the Alpine Region, too.
Poland, though, will be in the clear. So we have high pressure in here looking very nice; parts of Ukraine and Belarus, as well.
The Balkan Peninsula bad. But I'm looking at the (INAUDIBLE) rain especially and all those who are sailing or at a cruise ship over there, looking fine for all of you guys, from East, Central and West Med.
Twenty-eight the high for Paris; 32 in Madrid for Saturday, 26 in London. We'll gradually see that change. Look at Glasgow, 18 degrees.
And, finally, the Gulf now, because of all those storms induced by Alex, we are still dealing with some rough weather. This high pressure is going to set in and things are going to get better, especially in the coastal parts of Alabama and Florida.
Have a nice weekend, a nice Fourth of July -- Richard.
QUEST: I will.
And thank you for arranging -- look, I -- I've got doubts about your forecast, but you haven't added in...
QUEST: No, no, no. Nothing to do with your meteorological skills. But you haven't added in the Quest factor. When my plane arrives, so will the rain, as you will amply see next week -- Guillermo...
ARDUINO: We'll see.
QUEST: Right. I'll bring you up to date.
All right. The markets do demand our attention in the United States.
Alison Kosik is on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange -- Alison, so, the number was what we expected. The Dow, looking at mine, it was just off about 70 or 80 odd points.
I suppose a duly operated small crash. Not too many hurt.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One more time, Richard.
It's really loud on the floor.
One more time.
QUEST: Well, basically, I was being clever and -- not too bad. Not too bad -- Alison.
KOSIK: Oh, yes. Well, actually, yes. I mean, you know, I've got to admit, you know, I -- I've always been trying to find the bright spot in -- in these kinds of reports. But it's really hard to find one. I guess if we want to find one of them, the private sector added 83,000 jobs. That still fell short of what was expected. We expected to have 112,000 added.
And we really key in on the private sector jobs part of this unemployment report because the businesses -- the -- the private businesses really make up the bulk of the labor force here in the United States.
So it pretty much was, you know, not really lifting the markets today. As you said, right now, the Dow is down 84 points. It was much worse earlier today, down over 100 points. I mean, really, pessimism has kind of set in here on Wall Street. This is just another report in a litany of reports that we've gotten lately on construction and housing and retail sales that just aren't good.
At this point...
KOSIK: -- Wall Street wants to see some evidence that things are getting better -- Richard.
QUEST: You anticipated my question. So let's just develop that thought, as you go off for your July 4th weekend.
What is it they want -- Alison?
KOSIK: They want evidence and the evidence is going to come in those economic reports. We want to see that manufacturing is up, that retail sales are up, you know, that people are out there buying. And, really, all of this, Richard, is tied to jobs. There are -- when we see these jobs numbers as dismal as they are, this is, in fact, the first time we've had jobs lost this year.
Where we see these dismal job numbers, that's why Wall Street reacts like this, because that means that people aren't going to be making money, they're not going to spend and we're not going to see the economic recovery that we want to see.
And, you know, what we're seeing is this economic recovery fizzling out. And that's what's worrying Wall Street -- Richard.
QUEST: And how will you be celebrating the July 4th weekend -- Alison?
KOSIK: I think I'll be sitting poolside with maybe, hmmm, a margarita.
QUEST: And she's worried about the length of the recovery.
Alison Kosik, single-handedly doing work to a job for survival of the economy.
Have a lovely weekend.
Come back to us safe and sound next weekend.
KOSIK: You, too, Richard.
QUEST: Wall Street hit by more economic worries. Investors across Europe were watching the U.S. job reports, too. Just look at the numbers. The FTSE 100 managed to end the day higher after tumbling on Thursday. It was a mixed picture on the continent. Investors nervous over the recovery of the -- and whether it could be losing steam.
A roller coaster emotion -- happy people in the Netherlands watching a surprise win for their orange team. One man has more reason than most to enjoy it.
How the semi-finals will help a car dealership, in a moment.
QUEST: Imagine trying to focus at work when your business partner is overseas. Well, that's nothing unusual. But if he's playing in the World Cup, then that does create a certain tension.
The Dutch midfielder, Nigel de Jong, won't be coming home just yet. He was in the Netherlands team that defied expectations and, of course, beat Brazil in the quarterfinal.
Away from football, de Jong is the joint owner of a luxury car showroom in Hamburg in Germany. That's the place where footballers go to choose their next Bentley.
The co-owner is Hamid Mossadegh.
He is on the line with us now from Germany.
Were any cars or business done in your dealership this afternoon?
HAMID MOSSADEGH, CONTINENTAL CARS: Oh, no. No. We closed -- we closed our company today at 1:00 p.m. to -- to install a big TV screen and -- and to gather it for ourself and to -- to -- to enjoy the game and to -- to support Nigel and the Netherlands team, because today -- today was a very quiet day for us.
QUEST: Yes. Well, you -- I thought -- you obviously had a -- a wonderful day.
Let me just ask you a blunt question.
QUEST: Does Nigel take a real role in the selling and the running of the business or is he a name on the plate at the door?
MOSSADEGH: No, no, no, no, no. We are -- we are every day, every day, in contact and he wants to know every day the whole information of the company, what happened with it and to which business we've done. And we have a lot of customers -- a lot of customers of us is -- are Nigel's friends or Nigel's colleagues. And that is the reason the first -- the first step is that the soccer player goes to Nigel or calls Nigel. And they say to him, they order a car. And the second -- the second point is - - is me. And then I -- I -- I manage everything for the soccer guys.
QUEST: So it's always fascinating, isn't it, knowing how much of an effect it actually has, having a famous or, if you like, partner?
Do you really -- you think it does actually help the business, as well?
MOSSADEGH: It is -- on the one hand, it is -- it's -- it's great because I say to you, a lot of our customers are friends and colleagues of Nigel. On the other hand, they are people who are jealous and who try to get profits with Continental Cars and Nigel de Jong. And we have -- we are right now in the first year and I saw both sides. There is maybe -- we have a lot of good things, but we have a lot of bad experiences, because everybody wants wait that we make a mistake or something. But -- but right now, we are very happy and we're looking forward to (INAUDIBLE)...
QUEST: How is -- all right.
QUEST: Hamid, I need to just -- I've got the most difficult -- the most difficult question for you now.
QUEST: Your partner is Nigel de Jong, of course, who's playing for the Netherlands. Your showroom is in Hamburg, in Germany, which, of course, is also one of the leading con -- teams heading to the end of the World Cup.
Where do your loyalties lie?
MOSSADEGH: I am -- my -- my (INAUDIBLE) and my team at this World Cup is absolutely the Netherlands because my partner is part of the team. But in -- in Germany, it is very tough and very, very, very difficult when you say to somebody yes, I -- I want the -- the new world champion is Holland. It's the -- the people -- the German people and the Dutch people are not the best friends. But...
QUEST: Well, I'll tell you -- I'll tell you what, Nigel, you and I maybe will talk again insofar -- if -- if -- if the final comes down to Netherlands versus Germany, then you've got your work and your loyalties cut out for you.
Hamid, many thanks.
Congratulations to you at Continental Cars.
QUEST: You and I will talk again...
MOSSADEGH: Thank you very much.
QUEST: -- as this goes on.
OK, as we've been getting pictures for your World Cup, this was sent to us from Zavai Nomadla (ph) in Capetown. He's posing with a toy plane constructed by a Bafiner (ph) supporter just days before kick-off. Well, there we are. It's amazing what people will do in the name of the World Cup.
If you want to send us your pictures, then it is firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter me atrichardquest, where you can then send pictures and we will show them.
Now, before we leave you tonight, we are all interested in our money. It doesn't really matter whether you're young or you're old. And the one great thing about QUEST MEANS BUSINESS is that, as I'm going to show you, we have both extremes in our program and our viewers. And we are delighted to have them on board.
Delighted to have Alice Webber (ph), age 98, from Switzerland. She came to Switzerland during World War II. She was with the Red Cross there. Originally, she is from Oshkosh in Wisconsin. And she wonders if I can actually see -- of course I can see you, Alice. And 98-year-old to perhaps one of our youngest viewers. Tommy Petaranech (ph), age three, from Hungary. Apparently Tommy gets extremely excited when I say the words, "I'm Richard Quest, I mean business."
Now, Tommy, I've got a message for you -- the only business is the business of bedtime.
Alice and Tommy, lovely having you as our viewers tonight.
If you have a picture to send us, email@example.com.
And this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight.
I'm Richard Quest in London on this Friday.
I thank you for your time and attention.
I'll be in New York next week.
Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable.
"MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST" is next.