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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Greece Headed To More Elections; Mobile Apps Make Expense Reports Paperless, Easier; Greek Exit Speculation; Spanish Prime Minister Calls Greek Exit From Eurozone "Big Mistake"; UK Prepares for the Worst; ECB Chief Says Greece Should Stay; Interview With German Chancellor Angela Merkel; Shell's Energy Outlook; New French Finance Minister Named; European Markets Mixed; Us Markets Fairly Flat; Facebook Going Public; Analysts Not Sure Zuckerberg Ready; Euro Holds Steady, Dollar Flat Against Yen; Shareholders Launch Two Lawsuits Against JPMorgan
Aired May 16, 2012 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, HOST: Europe must show solidarity. Chancellor Merkel tells us tonight Greece must stick to the debt deal.
Close to coming apart. Other leaders are voicing their fears of a Greek exit.
And a Facebook frenzy. Facebook puts up more shares for sale.
I'm Richard Quest. We have an hour together and, of course, I mean business.
Good evening. Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst. European leaders are bracing themselves for a Greek emergency exit even as they publicly show their support for Greece to stay in the single currency, and even as the Greek president appoints a senior judge as a caretaker prime minister to see the country through until elections on June the 17th, the new prime minister being sworn in just a short while ago.
But while they are having political machinations in Greece, across the rest of the eurozone, other countries and prime ministers are making their views well known. Join me in the library.
Mariano Rajoy, the prime minister of Spain, "I don't want Greece to leave. It would be a -- big mistake," he says. Rajoy believes that preserving euro unity and the euro is the priority.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIANO RAJOY, PRIME MINISTER OF SPAIN (through translator): The euro is a fundamental project. Of all the things we Europeans have done over many years, the euro is the most important thing. The euro needs to be reinforced.
I don't want Greece to exit the euro. It would be a very big mistake, it would be bad news, and I think we have to guarantee the sustainability of the public debt, and then all of us have to live up to our commitments, which is what we are doing here in Spain, what they are trying to do in Italy, and what the rest of the countries are trying to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: It's not only the eurozone members that are talking. Outside the zone, the governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King, says the eurozone is "tearing itself apart with no solution," and acknowledging that the UK growth will be lower partly because of what's happening in the eurozone. He said that the UK is also preparing for the worst.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERVYN KING, GOVERNOR, BANK OF ENGLAND: Contingency plans are being discussed and have been for some considerable time between the government, the Bank of England, and the FSA, and that will continue.
Now, of course, the financial policy committee has been looking and thinking quite carefully about the measures that banks should be taking in order to protect themselves against some of the consequences of the difficulties we've seen in the euro area.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Prime Minister, Central Banker, and the ECB's president, Mario Draghi, who said there was a "strong preference" for Greece to stay in, whilst one ECB policymaker said the euro would survive if there was a Greek exit.
Patrick Honohan, the head of the Irish Central Bank said -- described a Greece exit, or a "Grexit," as not attractive, but not fatal.
Whatever views they may have here, the view, perhaps, that is strongest tonight comes from Angela Merkel in Germany, who says she's working to keep Greece in the euro. The German chancellor told CNN and insists the Greek people must make sacrifices no matter how painful, telling Matthew Chance the Greek people still want to be part of the euro project.
ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): I start from the assumption that Greece wishes to stay in the eurozone. At least 80 percent of the people of Greece say this very clearly. And I think the people of Greece see this very clearly and it's a very accurate assessment.
Greek -- part and parcel of that is that Greece fulfills its commitments it entered into in the memorandum. But it also comes into play that, after all, Europe needs to show solidarity and helps, particularly as regards growth, as regards employment, as regards development.
Because what the people in Greece are experiencing now is a very, very tough period. And the mistakes that have been made in the past by the politicians have be paid by a lot of people who have nothing to do with it, who are not guilty of those mistakes. And so, how can we fulfill the wish of 80 percent of the people of Greece?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But as you well know, Chancellor, there is a possibility that Greek -- Greece will not fulfill its commitments that have been set out by its creditors. In that scenario, would you cut that country loose of the eurozone?
MERKEL (through translator): Well, we have very different roles. You want to keep all of the theoretical options open and wish me to go through the list, and I'm telling you clearly what I work for. I work for Greece remaining part of the eurozone.
Negotiations have been led for this. The German parliament has made a clear decision to support Greece. These are two sides of one of the same coins, the memorandum and the support we give, and I work for it that the two come together.
CHANCE: Let me ask the question in a different way. Do you believe the euro can survive without Greece being a member of it?
MERKEL (through translator): I believe that the euro as it stands today with all of the member states can be a stable currency, that we need to do our homework to make it so. And this is the question that I am always willing to debate, and Europe has to do quite a lot to make this possible.
Because it's not -- this is not only about budgetary policy, about sound fiscal policy, but also about competitiveness, and competitiveness is something that you need to work for constantly, for example, structural reforms, interesting stimuli to growth.
And this is something that we're going to discuss, for example, during the G8 meeting in the United States of America. The European Union will be represented there with the G8 member countries, but also with the president of the Commission and the president of the Council.
And we will always be making it very clear we want all of the member states of the euro to obtain their objectives.
CHANCE: I'm not sure you really answered the question. Do you believe that an exit of Greece from the euro would spell the end of the single currency? Or do you believe it can survive that trauma?
MERKEL (through translator): I answered the question in the way that I consider it to be politically correct, and I told you for what Germany and the federal chancellor works for, what will be my position during the G8 summit, and we will do everything we can in order to achieve that.
CHANCE: I have one last question. One last question. You mentioned this yourself. The impact that austerity is having on ordinary people in Greece: their pensions have been slashed, their salaries have been cut to the point that many of them can't even buy food and pay their utility bills.
It may be economically right to make Greece and other fringe countries institute these economic reforms, but do you believe it's moral? Is it right to make people go through this kind of pain?
MERKEL (through translator): It's not as if Germany were -- had led those negotiations with Greece. I met, as you know, with the European Central Bank and the European Commission pursue those negotiations. I've always come out in favor having the IMF in on this, because they have experience with countries that have come into difficulty getting back on their feet again.
When tourists are supposed to go to Greece, the country simply has to be competitive in this particular area. They have to make offers that are comparable to the offer that other countries make in the region, and it's very bitter, obviously. Sacrifices have to be made.
But I think these are necessary measures that have to be taken. I think it was not easy for anyone to impose those measures on them, but these, I think, have been made on the background of the great experience that the IMF has, with great expertise, so I have no doubt whatsoever that the measures chosen are the appropriate ones and the right ones. Thank you.
QUEST: That's the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, talking to Matthew Chance. Companies, too, are preparing themselves. Royal Dutch Shell says it has made contingency plans for a Greek exit, and it's calling on European leaders to take firmer action to prevent it.
Nina Dos Santos spoke to the chief executive, Peter Voser, and asked him whether the crisis was also keeping a lid on demand.
PETER VOSER, CEO, ROYAL DUTCH SHELL: We take long-term views on our investments, so any short-term, medium-term crisis does normally not stop us investing. So, our investment levels will go forward in the same way.
Where I do have a concern is about the competitiveness of Europe with this crisis, with the budget cuts. Not all of the focus on growth, I think in the longer-term Europe, and therefore also the companies in Europe, will struggle to keep pace with emerging markets in terms of competitiveness.
And I think that's where governments need to find a fine balance of actually putting budget into play towards energy packages, but at the same time also gets growth still going. And therefore, I think it is important that we deal with both issues.
Some very decisive actions are needed by the authorities and the politicians in the short and medium term in order to drive the eurozone forward in the right way.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: How -- just very briefly, what would a Greek euro exit and a splintering of the single currency mean to an enormous company like yours, which also is partly listed in Holland, which is part of the eurozone. So, currency-wise, what would it mean for Shell?
VOSER: Obviously, one is prepared for this. I still see it as a low likelihood that it will actually happen, but we have done our work over the last few months to prepare ourselves for that.
On the other side, you also have to understand that the oil market and the gas market is really a US dollar market, so from that side, a little bit less of an impact on our business. But clearly, in terms of procurement, contractual work in terms of actually having a supply chain, which is quite strong in Europe. We would face quite some uncertainties.
Now, we have tried to prepare for that, but as you know, if these things do happen, one will always have surprises. But I still have to believe that actually the European system will work on this issue and will come to the right landing, which avoids actually a major disaster, and we'll keep the euro in a certain way together that we can actually benefit from the common market in the longer term.
QUEST: That's Peter Voser, the chief executive of Royal Shell.
In the last hour, Pierre Moscovici has been named the new French finance minister in Hollande's left-wing government. The 55-year-old was Francois Hollande's campaign manager and previously served as the junior European affairs minister under Lionel Jospin.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn taught him at university, and he supported his old teacher's presidential ambitions until last year's New York Sofitel scandal, and then changed alliances to Hollande. And Moscovici certainly, now, of course, has his work cut out for him.
The growing prospect of Greece leaving the eurozone dragged on European markets. Paris and Zurich finished slightly higher. Other majors closed down. London's FTSE fell a half a percent after the Bank of England trimmed its growth forecast, as we were saying earlier.
Banks were mixed. HSBC Lloyds lost ground, Barclays put on only 2 percent after it was upgraded by UBS.
QUEST: The US markets primarily flat, just off nearly ten pain -- ten pain, ten points, we'll just have to be careful these days -- 12,626.1 Got the numbers.
Coming up next: selling Mark Zuckerberg, if he's doing a better job than Hollywood, and whether investors are feeling friendly.
QUEST: The Facebook IPO gets bigger by the day. The company has boosted the size of its IPO by 25 percent. It will offer up more than 412 million shares on Friday. Now, that's 85 million more than first thought. At the top end of Google's $35 to $38 target price, it would raise more than $16 billion, making it the biggest ever tech IPO.
At its heart, Facebook is a Mark Zuckerberg production. That much is clear. He said it as much when he announced the IPO, that that is what people are going to be buying into. If you don't like Mark Zuckerberg and you don't like the way he's running the company, then Facebook ain't the place to be.
Maggie Lake is with us from New York. That 25 percent increase, what we really can't gauge, because we don't follow IPOs quite as closely as this, is just how normal it is to have a rise in price, a few more shares added, whether their shares are from the company stock or from the executive's stock. So, it's quite hard to judge.
MAGGIE LAKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is, Richard. And listen, I think it is safe to say, though, that there isn't anything normal about this Facebook IPO. From my recollection of initial public offerings, it is unusual at this stage of the game to see that kind of increase, but demand has been off the charts.
But interestingly, there's such demand, but when you talk to people, they're so divided about how they feel about this, even when it comes down to Zuckerberg himself. Listen, everyone acknowledges the guy's a genius, a visionary.
But there's something awfully uncomfortable about him when you watch him, and it's making investors feel a little uncomfortable, especially because he's going to have such a controlling stake in the company. And a lot of people are worried about maturity. Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL PACHTER, WEDBUSH SECURITIES: You really don't learn what you don't know until you've gone through some failure in life. He hasn't hit that yet. I'm reminded of Steve Jobs at 27, who thought he knew better at Apple, and essentially got forced out, and then got brought back several years later. I think Zuckerberg might have the tools. I'm not sure he has the life experience yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAKE: But, I also spoke to another person who -- David Kirkpatrick, who wrote "The Facebook Effect," who is in the unusual position of having spent a lot of time personally with Zuckerberg. He's one of the few outside the Facebook employee roster who's been able to do so.
And he said that the portrayals of Mark are off. He is actually quite mature, has a sense of humor, which I found kind of interesting. A bedrock confidence. Really sort of confidence in his vision and, interestingly -- this is a great point he brought up -- he does think he has maturity as shown by who he's chosen to surround himself by. Have a listen again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID KIRKPATRICK, AUTHOR, "THE FACEBOOK EFFECT": He has an unbelievably high quality group of people around him. I think he has shown he's willing to hire the absolute world's best talent for a given position, and they all recognize that his judgment has been good for the company. He does not overrule them on matters that concern their expertise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAKE: That's a really good point, Richard, and Sheryl Sandberg, of course, one of the names you think of instantly, Wall Street likes her, she's sort of become the public face of Facebook, if you want to say it that way, and the person who's been out on that roadshow.
The question is, is he going to be able to continue to do that now that he has a lot more people to answer for, all those shareholders out there. Very different to be a CEO and in charge of a start-up, a tech, a private company, then when you're the CEO of a public company.
QUEST: Whichever way this cake gets sliced, and whatever way the questions are put, it fundamentally comes back to whether or not people believe Facebook can continue to grow.
LAKE: That's right. And whether they can monetize the users. But interestingly, Richard, there's a disconnect -- you're seeing it this week -- between people's rational thoughts about that. Because unlike back in the bubble, people are asking those hard questions. Can they monetize it? A lot of headlines about GM.
And then there's greed. Is it the Google --
LAKE: -- that everybody missed out on --
QUEST: I have --
LAKE: -- at $85 a share?
LAKE: And is this their chance to get in? They're saying that they're cautious, but they're buying it anyway just in case. They're hedging themselves.
QUEST: Ouch! How did you know what I've been thinking this morning - -
QUEST: -- and the tune which were --
QUEST: I'm -- put yourself in the same boat.
LAKE: That's right. And also, I talked to one of the analysts in the piece there who said that there's going to be huge retail interest because people want to buy it for their grandkids, just like they did Disney, they just want a piece of it.
QUEST: All right. Whatever. Maggie in New York, many thanks indeed.
QUEST: Oh, Facebook's target share values the company at more than $100 billion. On another note, today's Currency Conundrum. In 2008, which country started printing a bill with a denomination of 100 billion? Was it a Gambian dalasi, a Japanese yen, a Zimbabwean dollar? The answer in a little while.
Now, the rates. The euro takes a pause from its three-week slide against the dollar, $1.27, the same price on Tuesday. The dollar's flat against the yen. Those are the rates, now we have the break.
QUEST: Shareholders in JPMorgan launched two separate lawsuits against the bank as the FBI announced it's investigating the $2 billion trading loss. The loss was described by the chief executive, Jamie Dimon, as a "terrible mistake," and it comes at a time when the banks are being told they must change the way they do business.
From Volcker in the US to Vickers in the UK, CNN's Jim Boulden now explains how lawmakers are trying to tighten up on the rules.
JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: New York City calls itself the financial capital of the world. London, on the other hand, is tops when it comes to trading desks, buying and selling complicated derivative products, things like so-called credit default swaps.
London is proud to be seen as the home of the so-called alternative investments because of looser regulations.
RALPH SILVA, BANKING ANALYST: London became the leader in derivatives for one very simple reason: America didn't want it. So, they've been actively pursuing moving derivatives trading of all kinds outside of the US.
London is the obvious choice for one simple reason: it already has an infrastructure and the traders capable of doing that kind of trading, and that's why most of the banks moved it to London.
BOULDEN: One of those US banks and its trading of complex instruments in London is now in the spotlight.
BOULDEN (on camera): It was at one of JPMorgan's offices that the so- called London Whale came to light in April. That's when the hedge funds started to warn that somebody here was taking a very large and unusual position in the markets.
BOULDEN (voice-over): JPMorgan's CEO, Jamie Dimon, first said the large positions were no big deal. Now he calls the London trades "sloppy and stupid." They will cost the bank at least $2 billion. So far, no hint of anything illegal.
Back in 2008, the London office of AIG cost the insurer and US taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. This AIG office was blamed for trading risky products. US lawmakers and banks are debating whether to water down the so-called Volcker Rule, which would bar US banks from trading their own money anywhere in the world in a way that would lead to a bailout by taxpayers.
In London, it's not Volcker, but Vickers. The panel recommends that banks fully separate depositors' money from risky trading. In effect, splitting UK commercial banks in two. But that's not going to impact the trading desks of international banking offices in London.
PETE HAHN, CASS BUSINESS SCHOOL: New York is a domestic banking center for the United States and a minority of the business that goes through New York is international business.
London, on the other hand, is an international banking center. It's attached to a modest-sized country, we like to say here, and the bulk of its activity, frankly, is international business and a great majority of that is bank-to-bank.
BOULDEN: And it's bank-to-bank or hedge fund-to-bank or insurance firm-to-bank through which all that complicated paper flows.
Jim Boulden, CNN, London.
QUEST: As fears grow that Greece will leave the euro, its citizens are pulling out their cash. We'll be in Athens in just a moment to get perspective on what that will be all about.
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. More QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment, but this is CNN, and on this network, the news always comes first.
The former Bosnian-Serb army commander Ratko Mladic is on trial in the Hague for war crimes. The former general drew his hands across his neck as if cutting a throat while staring at the victims of the Balkan Wars in the courtroom. He's been indicted on 11 counts of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
Francois Hollande has named his former campaign manager, Pierre Moscovici, the new French finance minister. A moderate socialist, he's 55 years old and previously served as junior European Affairs Minister under Lionel Jospin.
The American owners of the English football club Liverpool have terminated the contract of the manager, Kenny Dalglish. The move follows the Reds' disappointing 8th place finish in the Premier League. Liverpool did win the Carling Cup, but they lost the FA Cup to Chelsea earlier this month.
Repsol is suing Argentina after the country nationalized YPF, its local company which Repsol held the majority stake. Argentina says Repsol didn't invest enough and allowed production and exploration to decline. Repsol is to seek more than $10 billion in compensation.
A senior judge is now Greece's new interim prime minister. He was sworn in just a few moments ago. He'll serve until new elections are held on June 17. Greece's fractured political parties failed to form a coalition government 10 days after initial elections. Greece is worried their country might drop out of the EuroZone are now withdrawing hundreds of millions of euros from the bank.
Greece's president says panic could spread as Greeks moved to pull more money out of the country's banks. Around a billion dollars was withdrawn on Monday, enough for the head of Greece's central bank to personally warn President Papoulias of the bank's weakened state.
Now there's no visible lines outside Greek banks. There's no run on the banks. And according to The Financial Times $2 billion was deposited in March and April. Investors shared their concern nonetheless and banking stocks were sharply lower, especially the National Bank of Greece which was down some 13 percent. These shares have such little value, even small declines translate to major falls in percentage.
The next election day has been set on June 17. A new interim prime minister has been sworn in a few hours ago. Elinda Labropoulou is in Athens for us this evening. Good evening, Elinda.
Every day you and I talk through this sort of morass of -- of this story. Let's begin -- we've got a bit of ground to cover, so we'll do it quite quickly, with the new interim prime minister. Is he just there to make sure the tea cups stay clean?
ELINDA LABROPOULOU, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, pretty much. I mean, he's not a political figure. He is a judge. So he's one of the respected figures that is basically there for a month just to assure that Greece goes looks and feels more stable to its population until it heads to the next election on the 17th of June.
His job is to hold the government together. He will also be leading some of the talks with Greece's creditors, international lenders, all the things that need to be done in that interim period just so Greece can be more stable and appear more stable certainly to its own voters.
QUEST: Now, if we put this into perspective, can we say that the -- although there's no panic, there are now more people who are -- I'm hedging my words very carefully here so that nobody can sort of say I was being an alarmist, but that people are very worried about the security of the banks.
LABROPOULOU: Well, I think that's exactly the way to put it. And I think that's exactly the way to see what would seem like a warning from President Papoulias, the Greek president following that conversation with the governor of the Bank of Greece that you know until politicians can get it together, until they can appear to have a coherent government in Greece and some kind of policy that people will be concerned.
I've been talking to people around Athens all day today. You know, they were not sure what's coming next. They're worried that this election might not bring a solid result. One guy in particular, Yiannis Papangelou (ph) I was speaking to earlier seemed to really ask some of the questions I think representing most of the people. Let's see what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To tell you what I have absolutely not idea. I think the situation is really bad as it is. I am sure that the left party will be -- will be more powerful in these elections. But eventually where this is going to lead, I have no idea. I'm listening to all the views. And I really don't have an option myself.
I think most of Greeks, they don't have a concrete thing of what is going to happen now. We are looking and waiting. I am probably praying for the best.
I have a question, personally, I don't know a single country that followed the IMF instructions that is really going well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LABROPOULOU: So another month of confusion for a lot of Greeks much like Yiannis (ph) there until decisions need to be made.
QUEST: Elinda is in Athens for us tonight. We'll talk more. Many thanks for that.
Polls suggest the anti-austerity Syriza party is now the frontrunner for the elections. And just under half an hour you can hear on Amanpour, Christiane talk to the party's Alexis Tsipras tells her his strategy to turn around the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXIS TSIPRAS, SYRIZA PARTY LEADER: We will cancel all these austerity measures in the memorandum -- do you know the memorandum?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.
TSIPRAS: We will cancel the memorandum. And then we will go to renegotiate in the European level about a common way to go out -- to go out of this crisis. And we believe that this crisis is not a Greek crisis, but the European crisis. And we will try to find a common solution.
AMANPOUR: And do you think you'll have partners for that negotiation?
TSIPRAS: Yes. We think that we will find partners. First of all in the south countries, I think that we have the same problem with Italy, with Spain, with Portugal, and also with Ireland. And I think that we will find partner and also in the center of Europe.
And looking very positive the change in France with Mr. Hollande winning in the elections. We will try to find -- to find partners. But I think that the political situation in Europe will change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: You can hear the rest of the interview half an hour from now. Amanpour is at 8:00 pm London, 9:00 pm Central European Time. And that's coming up after this program.
A Greek exit would have disastrous consequences is the traditional thought. One economist says it would have ultimately the last laugh for Greece. Arvind Subramanian, is the former assistant director at the IMF's research department, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute joins me now.
Read your article Arvind. When I -- you know, it's sort of -- you're not seriously suggesting -- or maybe you are -- that actually Greece would be better off out of the euro?
ARVIND SUBRAMANIAN, SENIOR FELLOW, PETERSON INSTITUTE: I'm not actually saying that. I'm not even advocating that for Greece. But what I am saying is that, you know, there is a scenario out there which no one has given serious thought to. And that's a scenario that after what's going to be a painful short-term could in fact turn out to be not so bad for Greece after all.
QUEST: No, no, no. Hang on. You quote in your article, Arvind, South Korea, Indonesia, Argentina, Russia, all of whom did devalue from an existing currency. But this in what's happening in Greece would involve a change of currency, a wholesale collapse of the economy.
SUBRAMANIAN: Right. And that's why I think interim costs might be more severe than they were for South Korea and so on.
But I think the parallel is that -- you know, there are two parallels. One is that you will have a super competitive currency. And all the experience shows that if you want to have a very appreciated and competitive economy, you know, growth does rebound back. And I think that's, I think, a very important to note.
The second thing I think is that people have questioned me on the, you know, whether it's valid to compare Greece, kind of a chaotic Greece with Korea and Indonesia. But what people forget is that all things we say about Greece now were pretty much people were saying about Indonesia and Korea about 13, 14 years ago. And remember Indonesia was a crony capitalist corrupt economy and you know Suharta (ph) was ruling the place like a personal fiefdom. How would they ever get out of it et cetera, et cetera.
So there are parallelisms here. And that experience should be, you know, somewhat reassuring for Greece would it to exit from the EuroZone.
QUEST: Yeah, OK, I'll buy that only so far, because ultimately to take your argument to its logical conclusion, Greece has to become so competitive and such a low cost operator, country, that it is out of all kilter with other EU countries, basically.
SUBRAMANIAN: Yeah. In fact, you know, Richard, I looked at the numbers. And, you know, today the official number suggests that Greece is something like 55 percent, 60 percent of the per capita GDP of the United States, of the richest country. But de facto, given the hardship and the misery and the unemployment and the austerity I think that honestly conditions there are much worse than the data suggests.
So yes, Greece is a very poor country today and therefore, you know, it can't be very competitive going forward.
QUEST: Arvind, one final thought in all of this, I often think that we've missed this -- is it -- and I know there was some pride is looking at ways in which it could happen, but the logistics, the absolute logistics of going from the euro to a new drachma are mind bogglingly difficult. And if I'm not mistaken have never been done before.
SUBRAMANIAN: That is probably true. I mean, that why I think that as you said earlier the analogy with those countries is not complete. But you see I think Richard what will have to happen, really, if this eventuality were to come to pace then I think, you know, the Greek government will have to take very swift action, you know, capital controls, banking holidays, and then set in motion the whole re-denominating contracts and the new currency and so on.
It's going to be painful. I mean, I don't want to underestimate that at all. But I think people forget that there is life after the interim, and that life can be, you know, pretty vibrant.
QUEST: It's a different point of view. Arvind, we thank you for coming on the program tonight and (inaudible). We'll talk more again. You always have an invitation to come and chat on and talk on Quest Means Business. Many thanks to you.
Now when we travel, well it's love to travel and hate the paperwork. Well, these gadgets now, whether it's for mobile phone scanner or the little bits, business travelers we're going to give you some tech tips to sort out expenses while on the road. It's advice for business travelers after the break.
QUEST: Welcome back.
After a few days on the road it's good to be back at the old desk and home. From my travels I brought back the obligatory chocolates for the office, the hotel writing paper. I stole everything, of course, including the hangers from the wardrobe. I do like the nice wooden ones, not those cheap things with the fiddly bits. Proper hangers, that's what we more of.
Now also I brought back -- you're familiar with this lot -- it might be a taxi receipt from Paris, or -- where's that one from -- that's from Oslo, it is the receipts from Washington at the IMF, more cab tickets on and on and on it goes. It is an absolute pain having to do these receipts. Do them on paper, scan them, send them up, all the stuff that is the bane of the traveler's life.
Well, thankfully these days help is at hand to get rid of most of this paperwork, or at least do it while you're on the road.
QUEST: Zurich isn't cheap. As I rack up more receipts, I battle with the bane of every road warrior's life: doing the expenses. Today there are new ways to make this torturous process easier, faster, and far less frustrating.
DUNCAN BELL, T3: THE GADGET MAGAZINE: Technology has made quite a major sort of changes to the way people do their expenses. Now it could be done on the fly on a variety of different technologies. Many companies don't require original receipts, so photographic representations of receipts in various forms can be used instead.
QUEST: With business travelers no longer tied to the physical receipt, two technologies have stepped in to take their place with varying degrees of success.
Scanners come in various sizes. There's the small credit card sized, which is perfect for small receipts, but pretty hopeless for anything else. And then you've got the bigger scanner that will fit in your suitcase, which will scan both small and larger documents. Frankly, though, these days you have to question usability of scanners when we have apps.
All apps pretty much work on the same principle, you capture the receipts using the phone's camera. But that's when things go slightly differently depending on what sort of system is being used. Some of them will allow you to continue filling in the forms without an internet connection, others require a connection before you can save the report.
Each app allows you to enter the particulars and create reports. And yet each is subtly different. Independent apps such as Shoebox and Expensify are for free and paid versions, creating reports that can be exported into software like Excel or Google Documents.
Full throttle apps like Concur or KDS, the choice of many large companies, will allow you to link receipts and then upload reports directly into the walled garden system.
Some apps like Expense Magic are not just technology, but also have humans involved taking the data and creating the expense report for you at a cost of course.
Be careful of roaming charges as you upload those receipts. There's no point in saving money on expenses only to spend it on doing them at the company.
Ultimately, whichever system you use to do your expenses, make sure you keep a good grip on the receipts.
Come on Bobby, you'll make sure we get the money back.
QUEST: I've just finished a trip, of course, through Scandinavia, countries into Paris and Brussels. I'm dreading the roaming charges. We'll talk about that on next week's program.
When we come back after the break, it's Jenny Harrison at the world weather center. Good evening.
QUEST: The answer to today's currency conundrum, in 2008 which country started printing a bill of 100 billion denomination. The answer was C, the Zimbabwean dollar. The 100 billion was introduced as Zimbabwe had hyper inflation. 100 billion was worth $1. A year later 100 trillion was introduce. The currency was abandoned altogether.
Now we've heard the old line of the leaves on the line excuse for trains, now UK immigration witnessed a Damian Greene (ph) has blamed the wind along the immigration lines at UK airport. He says passengers from New York, they will have to wait longer if their flights arrive 10 minutes after (inaudible) rather than 10 minutes before. He said that will depend on the wind over which the best will in the world airlines and border courts have no control. The actress Joan Collins isn't falling for that one, she wants Home Secretary Teresa May to sort it out. In a furious tweet having arrived at LHR she says, "thousands waiting at passport control. Listen up Ms. May," that's the home secretary, "need more officers."
Talk about wind. I know, but that unfair.
Jenny Harrison is at the world weather center for us this evening.
JENNY HARRISON, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Bad man.
We all know -- Richard, you know, you travel more than anybody I know. Even pilots don't travel as much as you. Those headwinds, those tailwinds, they do make a difference don't they with the arrival times and all that.
HARRISON: Massive, massive. But, yeah, a bit of an excuse methink.
The wind weren't particularly strong coming in to the UK. So it shouldn't have been much of a headwind that particular day. We have had some pretty blustery conditions, it has to be said. It also, of course, this is the main thing really with the weather right now across Europe, still some very wintry conditions. We've had snow across the highlands of Scotland again this day, of course to the north of course.
And then also more snow, mostly always to these higher elevations in the Alps as you can see, but Germany you must really had a run of it in the last few days: rain, sleet, snow, minus one temperatures in Brocken, 10 centimeters in Feldberg. Got a couple of pictures to show you what that 10 centimeters looks like.
But it should be the end of it now. According to folklore, Central European folklore, between 11th and 15th of May those are the ice saints days. And the 15th, which was yesterday, that was Saint Sophia's day. And that's considered the last day of the cold weather. So we will see if that is true. It certainly shouldn't be as cold as we go through the next few days.
Still fairly windy right now certainly across Denmark. And then we're going to see some sort of blustery winds over the next few days, not really, really strong damaging winds, but strong winds within these thunderstorms. They're heading up towards Scandinavia to go through the next 24 hours and then across the north and the west (inaudible) able to be well below average. But a few warnings in place as these storms on their journey northward.
There's a shot of cold air. It does then sort of come back down to average, but it is even certainly feeling pretty chilly. And you can see the rain coming in still the snow, though, to the higher elevations. And again across into Scotland, so no real sign just yet of spring having sprung in those areas.
Thursday at the airports in the Munich airport in the morning you could see some foggy conditions. Still quite windy across Denmark. So don't -- Copenhagen there are your strong winds there. And we've also got quite a bit of cloud into Sophia.
14 in Berlin, 15 in Paris, 13 in London. So you get the general idea. It will indeed be cooler than average.
Just want to point you here to the eastern Pacific Ocean. This is Aletta. This is the first tropical storm of the season here. 65 kilometers an hour the winds. It is going to be winding down. It's no threat to anybody. And actually breaks a streak, 41 days around the entire world where we have not had a single tropical storm. There was one just a week ago very, very short lived. That one hasn't been counted by all the different agencies that report on tropical cyclones. But this is the longest span without one for about 70 years, that's according to the UK MET office. And they said that activity in the past couple of years because of the cooler ocean temperatures because of La Nina.
There's the list of names. We're on Aletta. Is there an R? There is, but it's Rosa, not Richard. Whew.
QUEST: We have had a Hurricane Richard. And I can't remember where it was, or Tropical Storm Richard.
HARRISON: Oh, I'm sure we have. Every day you come through the office it's like a little mini hurricane anyway.
QUEST: Oh, she got her revenge for the wind comment. Profitable moment. Profitable moment after the break.
QUEST: Tonight's profitable moment. It starts with a crisis of confidence not in a parliament or in a government, but in the banking system itself. And so Greeks are withdrawing more money from their accounts. And we're hearing words like fear and panic even from the country's top central banker. Maybe not panic and lines in the street yet, but when people perceive their savings are in danger this Greek crisis will enter a serious new phase.
Afterall, it was the governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King who said that people were acting rationally when British customers of Northern Rock started a run on the bank. That fire was stamped out quickly by the British government.
Paul Donovan of UBS wrote this morning, "this may not be a crisis of liquidity or solvency, it's threatening to become an existential crisis, more dangerous altogether" because we may not be there yet, but Greece's position in the EuroZone is very much at stake. And that is why this is now so dangerous.
And that's Quest Means Business for tonight. I'm Richard Quest. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable. The news is next.