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Britain’s biggest gambling firms have voluntarily agreed to a TV ad blackout running from “whistle-to-whistle” during soccer matches.

The Remote Gambling Association (RGA), an industry lobby group whose members include bookmaker’s William Hill, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes, will agree to stop the ads during live broadcasts, which have become commonplace across English soccer.

No formal announcement from the RGA has been made, but it is looking to confirm the move early next year.

“We made a number of proposals which are being considered by the members of the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling.” Clive Hawkswood, the chief executive of the RGA, told CNBC. “We are of course hopeful that IGRG will agree changes to the Code, but that process has not been completed yet.”

Anti-gambling campaigners and politicians have voiced concerns about the volume of bookmaker’s adverts on TV and how it potentially glamorizes gambling.

U.K. Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright, said via social media Thursday it was a “welcome move.”

“Gambling firms banning advertising on TV during live sport is a welcome move and I am pleased that the sector is stepping up and responding to public concerns,” he said.

Over half of the soccer teams in England’s top two leagues in England currently have gambling sites as their main shirt sponsor and the increasing influence of these companies has grown relatively unchecked in recent years.

“Investors in U.K. gambling stocks may be worried about another regulatory measure in the shape of a proposed ban on advertising during live sports events, but the effect on earnings should be modest,” said Irish wealth management company Davy Research.

The brokerage says FTSE 100 companies Paddy Power Betfair and GVC Holdings, which owns big betting firms Ladbrokes and Coral, both spend between £40 million ($51 million) and £50 million annually on British TV advertising, some of which may now be redeployed.

Davy said the returns on TV advertising are modest and the change won’t materially affect earnings forecasts. On Thursday, GVC shares closed 5.6 percent lower, Paddy Power Betfair down 2.8 percent and William Hill registered a near seven-year low.

“However, it is a necessary development, in our view, and nudges the sector towards a more sustainable footing.” Davy went on to say.

Bet365, which sponsor the shirt and stadium of Stoke City, has become one of the most prevalent advertisers on British TV, using BAFTA-nominated actor Ray Winstone to promote its in in-play advertising on TV. It’s owned by Peter and Denise Coates and recently logged profits of £660 million in its latest accounts.

Television advertising helped the U.K. gambling industry see £5.35 billion wagered online during 2017, according to the Gambling Commission. That’s compared to the £5.55 billion spent in betting shops, casinos, arcades and bingo halls combined.

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Trump tariffs could trigger higher interest rates: experts



The escalating trade war between the U.S. and China could cause interest rate hikes, the very opposite of what President Donald Trump wants, some analysts have told CNBC.

Recent market consensus has suggested that the U.S. Federal Reserve is unlikely to raise interest rates, with Fed funds futures indicating a 76% chance the central bank will instead cut rates by 25 basis points before September. As of Wednesday, futures had also priced in a one-in-three chance that the Fed will cut twice by the end of the year.

Trump has regularly expressed his disapproval of high interest rates and called for the Fed to cut, tweeting Tuesday that the U.S. would win the trade war if the central bank followed his advice

But some analysts are striking a contrarian tone. Mark Phelps, CIO of concentrated global equities at AllianceBernstein, told CNBC Wednesday that if prices are pushed up because of Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods, the Fed may respond to the inflationary impact by hiking interest rates.

Central banks will generally raise rates when inflation is predicted to rise above their inflation target, and higher rates tend toward moderate economic growth. This increases the cost of borrowing and can therefore limit the growth in consumer spending.

“Tariffs go up, you’ll see some hit to margin for companies, and that probably reduces their investment — that’s not great for growth,” Phelps said.

He added that higher prices will reduce consumer purchases of goods, also reducing growth.

“There will be an inflationary impact so the Fed is going to have potentially growth slowing and inflation going up — not an ideal set of circumstances, but certainly not something where they’re going to rush out and just cut rates for the sake of it,” Phelps said.

This view was echoed by Giles Keating, senior advisor at Torchwood Capital, who told CNBC “Squawk Box Europe” that the bond markets were “gambling that when inflation does go up, the Fed will look through that and say ‘it’s just higher tariffs,’ that it’s a one-off and it will go away.”

Meanwhile Jinny Yan, chief China economist at ICBC Standard Bank, also told CNBC that while Trump would love to cut interest rates, “probably the opposite direction would be justified because inflationary pressures will hit the United States, therefore hiking the rates might be the thing to do.”

Consensus view

The Fed has indicated that it is not ready to move rates in either direction at this point, but market sentiment remains expectant of a cut by the end of the year.

Yardeni Research President Ed Yardeni said in a note Wednesday that it was “unlikely that the Fed would raise interest rates in response to what would be a one-shot boost to the inflation rate from higher-priced Chinese goods.”

Yardeni also doubted that higher prices would reduce the purchasing power of American consumers, since importers might absorb some of the increased cost of doing business with China, which would squeeze their profit margins instead of passing costs to consumers.

In response, Yardeni argued, some businesses might move their supply chain away from China to avoid the tariff burden, which may mean the Chinese yuan continues to fall and offsets some of the tariff cost.

Pigeons fly past the US Federal Reserve in Washington.

Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

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What you need to know about Boeing’s 737 Max crisis



People walk past a part of the wreckage at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 10, 2019.

Tiksa Negeri | Reuters

Boeing 737 Max planes around the world remain grounded more than two months after the second of two fatal crashes of the jets that killed a total of 346 people.

Multiple investigations have since been opened, both into the crashes themselves and the regulatory process to approve the planes. Lawmakers and federal investigators are specifically examining how the Federal Aviation Administration in 2017 gave a green light to the jet — a more fuel-efficient version of Boeing’s workhorse aircraft that’s been flying since the late 1960s — without disclosures to pilots about a new anti-stall system, which has been implicated in the two air disasters.

Since the second crash, on March 10, the Chicago-based manufacturer’s stock has lost more than 16%, closing at $353.81 Thursday, as the number of probes and lawsuits grew and Boeing suspended deliveries of its best-selling jets.

Here is a look at what is happening and what to expect with the 737 Max grounded as the busy summer travel season approaches.

Ongoing investigations

Multiple federal investigations are examining the Max and how it was approved by regulators, along with the plane’s new anti-stall system, known as MCAS. Boeing is also facing lawsuits from the families of crash victims.

In March, the FBI joined an investigation of the certification process for the company’s 737 Max jets. House and Senate panels have each launched investigations.

Boeing said Thursday it has developed a software update for the 737 Max, a key step in getting the aircraft flying again. The company said it completed more than 360 hours of testing on 207 flights with the updated software. It has also developed new training materials that the FAA is reviewing. The FAA requested more information, including how the pilots would operate the controls and displays in different circumstances, Boeing said.

“We’re committed to providing the FAA and global regulators all the information they need, and to getting it right,” CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement on Thursday. “We’re making clear and steady progress and are confident that the 737 MAX with updated MCAS software will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly.”

Boeing aims to make the anti-stall system less powerful and give pilots greater control. Investigators have pointed to the system as a factor in the crashes, since the jets’ noses were repeatedly pushed down after the system was fed erroneous information from a sensor. The updated system will also use data from multiple sensors instead of one.

It’s unclear how long the FAA will take to approve the fix and deem the planes safe to take to the skies again. In April, the FAA said Boeing’s update was “operationally suitable” in an initial review, and recommended that pilots take additional computer-based training for MCAS.

Boeing has also taken a lot of heat following reports that it knew of problems with one of the safety features well before the two crashes, but did not disclose the issues to airlines or regulators until after the October Lion Air crash in Indonesia.

A group of men and boys examine electronics taken from a pile of twisted metal gathered by workers during the continuing recovery efforts at the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 on March 11, 2019 in Bishoftu, Ethiopia.

Jemal Countess | Getty Images

The economic toll

Airlines have already missed out on hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue after aviation authorities ordered them to ground the planes.

Southwest Airlines, which has 34 Boeing 737 Max jets in its fleet of about 750 planes, said the grounded jets contributed to $200 million in lost revenue during the first three months of the year.

American Airlines, which has 24 Maxes, has canceled at least 15,000 flights through August The cancellations due to the grounded Max each day equal about 2% of American’s daily summer flying and will reduce the airline’s pretax earnings this year by $350 million, the carrier said on April 26.

Boeing said its costs in the first quarter rose by $1 billion from the groundings, though it can’t predict its financial performance for the rest of the year because deliveries of Max jets are on hold.

It has a backlog of more than 4,000 orders for the jet and recently cut monthly production of it from 52 to 42 planes in April.

Analysts have speculated that the company faces billions of dollars in payments to airlines and families of crash victims.

Several banks expect Boeing’s production cuts to hit U.S. GDP. Wells Fargo said in April that Boeing’s production cuts will reduce second-quarter GDP growth by 0.2%. Earlier in March, JP Morgan’s CEO said GDP could fall by 0.6% if production of the plane is halted temporarily.

“Boeing’s production cuts are large enough to negatively impact incoming reads on the economy,” said Wells Fargo senior economist Sarah House.

Scrambling to restore trust

Boeing has scrambled to persuade airlines and passengers to rally behind the Max jet following the company’s clumsy response to the two fatal crashes.

In an effort to win back public trust, Boeing is reportedly hiring some major public relations firms to help reintroduce the jet. On an earnings call in April, Muilenburg said that pilots would act as key messengers.

“We think a key voice in all of this will be the pilots for our airlines, and their voice is very important,” he said. “That bond between the passenger and the pilot is one that’s critical, and so we’re working with our airline customers and those pilot voices to ensure that we can build on that going forward.”

Muilenburg hasn’t said there’s anything wrong with the 737 Max design. Pilots and airlines have complained to Boeing for failing to provide information about new software after the first crash, as well as incomplete information about safety features in the cockpit.

Even assurances from Boeing and airlines that the planes are safe may not necessarily resonate with travelers. A Barclays’ survey of airline passengers published earlier this month showed that many people will avoid the Max “for an extended period” once it’s allowed to fly again, with over half of respondents saying they’d choose a different aircraft if given the choice.

However, some aviation experts have said the stigma associated with the Max, and damage to Boeing’s reputation, will likely dissipate.

“If Boeing does what it needs to do to fix the problem, if the airline is certified by safety regulators and goes on to fly reliably, then the stigma that exists now will fade away,” Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research Group, told CNBC in April.

What’s next

As the probes continue, the FAA plans to host other civil aviation authorities from around the world in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday to update them on the 737 Max. The FAA was the last major air safety authority to ground the planes in March after the Ethiopian crash, drawing questions from U.S. lawmakers, consumers and some airline employees.

Also Thursday, the International Air Transport Association, an industry group that represents more than three-quarters of the world’s airlines, is meeting with carriers in Montreal to discuss the aircraft and its potential return to service, and topics are likely to include how to address passenger concerns.

The FAA’s acting head, Dan Elwell, faced heat from lawmakers again this week at a second congressional hearing since March that aimed to look into the crashes and the agency’s longtime practice of designating company officials to help certify aircraft, in this case the Boeing 737 Max. Lawmakers say they’re seeking additional information about the plane.

Congress hasn’t called Muilenburg or any other Boeing executives to testify — despite a history of quickly hauling company officials to Capitol Hill to testify following public safety incidents like the Max crisis.

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China accuses the US of ‘bullying behavior’



Chinese President Xi Jinping chats with President Donald Trump during a welcome ceremony in Beijing on Nov. 9, 2017.

AP Photo | Andy Wong

The United States bullied China during trade talks, a Chinese Commerce Ministry official says.

President Donald Trump and the United States escalated trade talks with “bullying behavior” and were the reason why they fell apart, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said at a press conference Thursday, according to state-run news agency Xinhua.

“The two sides had open and constructive communication during the 11th round of the China-U.S. high-level economic and trade consultations,” spokesperson Gao Feng said. “However, it is regrettable that the U.S. side unilaterally escalated trade disputes, which resulted in severe negotiating setbacks.”

The U.S. and China have been involved in a trade dispute for over a year, but the trade war has heightened since the beginning of May. Trump hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods last Friday and China retaliated on Monday with tariffs on $60 billion worth of imports.

Investors are bracing for potential new tariffs, as Trump has threatened to put additional levies on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods.

China will be forced to respond, Gao said, although he added: “China always believes that raising tariffs is not a solution to the trade frictions.”

“We urge the U.S. side to correct wrongdoings as soon as possible to avoid causing heavier damages to businesses and consumers in both countries and dragging down the global economy,” Gao said.

Earlier in the week. U.S. markets tanked on the trade news but the major indexes earned back their loses by Thursday’s close. They opened lower Friday.

— Read the full Xinhua story here.

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