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Business Matters


Global business news, with live guests and contributions from Asia and the USA.

Global business news, with live guests and contributions from Asia and the USA.


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Global business news, with live guests and contributions from Asia and the USA.




US economy grows at 6.9%

Figures released on Thursday in the US showed that the American economy grew at its fastest pace since 1984, expanding by 5.7 percent during 2021.The BBC's North America Business Correspondent, Samira Hussein talks us through the story. We then turn to question of how teachers are navigating hybrid education. Also on the programme, President Biden has confirmed that his first nominee to the US Supreme Court will be an African-American woman. Fergus Nicoll is joined by Kimberly Adams of our...


WTO lets China impose tariffs on the US

The World Trade Organisation has authorised China to impose retaliatory duties on US imports to a value of more than 600 million dollars per year. Beijing had challenged American tariffs levied on Chinese exports ranging from solar panels to steel wire - goods made by companies that Washington insists are effectively enjoying state subsidies. David Firestein - President of the George HW Bush Foundation for US-China Relations - explained the background. Next we head to Italy - where a row has...


IMF downgrades the forecast for the global economy

The International Monetary Fund has downgraded its forecast for the global economy - trimming half a percentage point off its projection - now at 4.4 per cent. The IMF's First Deputy Managing Director, Gita Gopinath tells us the focus right now is on the world’s two biggest economies - the US and China - neither of which, the IMF believes, will be immune to the slowdown. India and Japan, by contrast, are forecast to buck the trend. Also in the programme we discuss how Walmart has joined a...


Ukraine: US troops on high alert over stand-off

Some 8,500 combat-ready US troops are on high alert to deploy at short notice amid rising tension over Ukraine, the Pentagon says. President Biden held a video call with European allies on Monday as Western powers aim for a common strategy against Russian aggression. The Pentagon said no decision had yet been made on whether to deploy troops. We assess Russia's position in the dispute with Chris Weafer, who is chief executive of the Moscow-based economic consultancy Macro Advisory. Also in...


Massive blast in Ghana

We start the programme in Ghana where there's been a huge explosion close to the town of Bogoso. Afua Adom from Metro TV gives us insight on the accident from Accra. There's been a dramatic consequence of last week's submarine volcanic eruption and resulting tsunami in Tonga. The government of Peru says it's now grappling with the country's worst ecological disaster in years - because the tsunami prompted an oil spill at a refinery on the coast at Ventanilla. Simeon Tegel, a freelance...


Biden defends his first year

President Biden has held a rare press conference to mark a year in office. Biden has defended his administration’s response to the global economic impact of the pandemic and concerns over supply chain problems. We speak to the BBC's Gary O'Donoghue outside the West Wing. Also in the programme, the vice president of the European Securities and Markets Authority has called for a ban in the European Union on mining of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, on environmental grounds. Erik Thedeen explains...


Microsoft plans to buy Activision Blizzard for nearly $70bn

Microsoft says it plans to buy major games company Activision Blizzard in a deal worth $68.7bn. It would be the biggest acquisition in the company's history and is expected to be finalised in 2023. We speak to Carolina Milanese, Senior Technology Analyst at Creatrive Strategies to find out why Microsoft has done the deal. US mobile networks AT&T and Verizon have agreed to postpone the rollout of their new 5G service at some airports, after aircraft safety concerns from some airlines. Also in...


US Airlines ask for 'immediate intervention' on 5G

The bosses of ten of America’s biggest airlines are warning that the United States “is facing major disruption of the traveling and shipping public” if 5G mobile phone services are switched on as planned on Wednesday. They have written a letter outlining urgent concerns which has been sent to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigeg and the head of the Federal Aviation Administration. We hear from our business correspondent Johnathan Josephs. China has unexpectedly cut a key interest rate for...


Row over lithium concessions in Chile

In Chile, outgoing president Sebastian Pinera has sparked a firestorm by granting lithium mining concessions to two companies. Chilean economist Francisco Meneses tells us about the importance of lithium to the country’s economy, and how incoming head of state Gabriel Boric is walking a tightrope when it comes to building a political coalition. Plus, representatives of the Indian and British governments have held a first day of talks over a free trade deal, potentially worth billions of...


US inflation hits 7%

The US annual inflation rate rose to 7% in December, a figure not seen since 1982. Jayne Schaber lives in New York state and tells us about her experiences when out shopping, and we get a historical perspective on the latest figures from Professor Jason Furman of Harvard University, who was the top economic adviser to the White House during the eight years of the Obama presidency. And the BBC's Clare Williamson reports on a fierce political row that has broken out in the European Union over...


China locks down ahead of the Winter Olympics

Millions are under lockdown in Chinese cities as the country attempts to control Covid 19 outbreaks just a few weeks before the Winter Olympics begin in Beijing. We hear from Kerry Allen, China Media Analyst at BBC Monitoring. Around the world, governments and companies are grappling with reconciling the provision of sick pay to workers who refuse to get vaccinated - Richard Fox, an employment partner at Kingsley Napley in the UK, explains the legal complications these decisions give rise...


Talks between Russia and US continue

Talks between Russia and the US over tensions in Ukraine continue, with little progress in sight. Could diplomatic sanctions be the answer? We talk to Jeffrey J. Schott, a former advisor to the US government. In Belarus, no stranger itself to economic sanctions, the state-run potash manufacture is dealt a blow; Yara, one of the world's largest producers of fertilisers and biggest buyer of potash, says it will no longer purchase it from Belarus. We speak to Hanna Liubakova from the Atlantic...


One year on from the US Capitol riot

It’s one year on from the day that supporters of former president Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol building in Washington DC. With the authorities still attempting to track down everybody involved, Anjana Susarla of Michigan State University tells us why facial recognition technology is an increasingly important tool in the search. Plus, India has approved the use of a patent-free Covid-19 vaccine, which was developed at Baylor College of Medicine in the US. We speak to Maria Elena...


Low turnout at in-person CES tech fair

Turnout has been lower than usual at the CES 2022 tech fair in Las Vegas, with attendees able to physically attend after a virtual-only event last year. The BBC’s James Clayton tells us what the mood is like at the event, while attendee Mark Gooday of Ashdown Engineering tells us what his business is getting out of being there. Plus, airlines are still finding themselves having to fly empty or near-empty planes in order to preserve precious landing slots at airports around Europe. Andre...


Toyota overtakes GM as top US car seller

Toyota sold more cars in the United States than any other company in 2021, overtaking GM, which loses top spot for the first time in 90 years. Paul Eisenstein from tells us what caused the swing. Plus, reaction to Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes being found guilty on several counts of fraud, as LA Times columnist Michael Hiltzik tells us he thinks more investors will fall prey to deception in the future. As Apple briefly becomes the world's first $3tn company, Dan Ives...


Hopes and aspirations for 2022

Rahul Tandon explores younger perspectives from around the world. Taneesha Datta from India, Alaezi Akpuru in Nigeria and Hayley Wood in Vancouver all share their thoughts on what they'd like to see change around global warming, gaming, sport and entertainment in 2022. The BBC's Matt McGrath and Steffan Powell update us on climate change and gaming. Entertainment journalist Ashanti Omkar gives us her top picks for movies and streaming and sports finance expert Kieran Maguire gives us the...


Pharmaceutical company fuelled American opioid crisis, says court

A jury in New York state finds Teva Pharmaceuticals contributed to the opioid crisis in the USA – we speak to the Guardian’s Chris McGreal in New York City, who has written extensively on the subject. In Asia a new trade agreement has been ratified by 15 member nations and has been touted as being a bigger trading bloc than the European Union, the BBC’s Leisha Santorelli tells us more. Meanwhile in China, the authorities clamp down on ride-hailing company Didi after its listing on the New...


Omicron and delta variants increase Covid case numbers

Record-breaking cases of Covid have been reported in the USA, the UK, France, Australia and elsewhere, as the World Health Organisation says rich countries must address global vaccine inequality – we speak to the WHO’s Margaret Harris. In Sweden, battery manufacturer North Volt has produced the first lithium ion battery – the power source of most electric vehicles – to be designed, developed and assembled in the country. North Volt’s Jesper Wegat tells us why the country stands to lead the...


Omicron leading to global staff shortages

Omicron is having an impact on the global workforce. To try and tackle the problem in the US, health authorities have halved the recommended isolation period for people who test positive for Covid-19, but don't exhibit symptoms. Joshua Hausman of the University of Michigan recently wrote an article for the Atlantic about the wider impact of the pandemic on workers in the US, and gives us his thoughts on how long the effect might last. Also in the programme, China's foreign ministry has...


Review of the year - 2021

The big event of 2021 that will shape economies all over the world for decades to come was the COP 26 climate conference in Glasgow in November. The meeting saw a deluge of promises, but what was actually achieved? Martin Webber speaks to Tim Gould, chief energy economist at the International Energy Agency and economist Irwin Stelzer, from the Hudson Institute in the United States. It was another boom year for the pharmaceutical industry as it crafted the vaccines that have saved so many...