Cruise control: port cities push back ships

This is an audio transcription of the FT press briefing podcast episode: Cruise control: port cities push back ships

Marc Filipino
Hello from the Financial Times. Today is Friday, September 2, and it’s your FT News Briefing.

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Washington has fired a new blow in its technological battle against China. Tight job markets in the United States and Europe could make central bankers feel hawkish. And the pandemic has given popular port cities a chance to ask, “Do we really love all those cruise ships?”

Olivier Barnes
Where tourism died out during the pandemic, there was a chance to reflect on the impacts of overtourism and some of the impacts on the environment.

Marc Filipino
Plus, our Global Health Editor will tell us about another effect Covid-19 is having on people’s health. I’m Marc Filippino, and here’s the news you need to start your day.

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The US government is releasing its latest jobs report today. Economists and Federal Reserve monetary policymakers are watching these numbers closely. Analysts expect job growth to slow in August with 300,000 jobs added to the economy. Our US economics editor Colby Smith says that’s down from hot July job numbers, when there were more than half a million new jobs.

Colby Smith
Getting out of that, you know, might not be enough relief for the Fed to kind of rethink how much it is tightening monetary policy. That being said, what they’re really looking for is any sign that the labor market is starting to ease, even at the margin. So if we see a slowdown in the monthly pace of job growth, I think that will be encouraging for them. They will also look at average hourly earnings and any movement on the unemployment rate front. But I don’t think we’re at the point yet where we see the full impact of the interest rate hikes that have been applied to the labor market so far. And that may well encourage the Fed to continue its tightening campaign until it sees a more substantial shift in the data.

Marc Filipino
Colby Smith is the FT’s US economics editor.

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Eurozone unemployment continues to fall. Yesterday the European Commission announced that unemployment in the bloc had fallen to a historic low of 6.6%. The strength of the labor market and the risk of strong wage increases make it more likely that the European Central Bank will maintain a tight monetary policy. Several politicians have said so recently. And next week, the ECB is expected to hike rates by three-quarters of a percentage point. That’s even more than its half-point increase in July.

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Cruise ships are filling up again after a painful pandemic. People are now eager to travel. Vaccine requirements decrease and popular port towns come to life. There’s just one big problem: Many cities where cruise ships dock don’t like ships anymore. To talk about it, I am joined by Oliver Barnes of the FT. Hi, Oliver.

Olivier Barnes
Hey, thanks for inviting me.

Marc Filipino
So why is this pushback happening now?

Olivier Barnes
So for European cities where places like Barcelona, ​​places like Venice, Palma de Mallorca in Spain, where tourism died out due to the pandemic, there was a chance to think about the impacts of overtourism and some environmental impacts. This flood of returning cruise passengers has them thinking about the exact level of demand and the number of tourists they want to return to the cities and perhaps thinking about resetting their relationship with cruise passengers.

Marc Filipino
Oliver, can you tell us about the specific concerns of cities?

Olivier Barnes
Barcelona have sort of spearheaded what’s been happening this year, and there are indeed two complaints. First of all, these are the effects of overtourism. They begin to see the effects of overcrowding in the city, the perhaps antagonistic relationship between tourists and locals. This is largely a kind of cost-benefit analysis, isn’t it? So the criticism is that cruise passengers come to town they don’t spend a lot of money because they’re on these all inclusive packages on the boats and then they get back on the boat and they leave and what they’ left behind them a lot of activists and some of these politicians say it’s just air pollution and a small amount of spending. And then the other is the environmental impacts. Cruise ships tend to be very polluting. They have huge effects on air pollution. And also a number of these mayors were elected on a green platform, so have an incentive to show how they are increasing the pressure on an industry that emits a large amount of carbon dioxide.

Marc Filipino
And what does the cruise industry have to say about these concerns?

Olivier Barnes
So they’re pushing that back and saying they’re making efforts to get to net zero by 2050, as many companies are doing. The big yardstick along the way for the cruise industry is 2030 when, under EU legislation currently going through the European Parliament, they will have to plug into the power grid at port rather than using fuel to power the boats when they are in port. Cruise ships are making progress in this area and it looks like most cruise ships will be able to use this technology by 2030. And of course that solves many of the air pollution criticisms. But ports don’t necessarily have the capacity to do that, and it takes a lot more effort to build the power grid to accommodate this new technology. So while the cruise industry says it is moving forward, there will be major hurdles in the way of getting there and resolving some of these debates around the environmental impact they have on cities.

Marc Filipino
Oliver Barnes is the FT’s leisure industries correspondent. Thanks, Oliver.

Olivier Barnes
Thanks.

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Marc Filipino
There is growing evidence of serious new illnesses from Covid-19. We focused a lot on the long Covid, with its continuous fatigue and brain fog. But now there are also concerns about the long-term effects on the heart and brain. This is the FT’s Global Health Editor, Sarah Neville.

Sarah Neville
This is an increased susceptibility to known regular conditions like heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, which appear to be present in significantly higher numbers in those who have had Covid than those who have not caught Covid.

Marc Filipino
Sarah reported on an FT analysis using data from the UK’s National Health Service or NHS.

Sarah Neville
And this data analysis showed that there was a very significant increase in deaths from heart attacks in the two years from 2019 to 2021. So basically the first two years of the pandemic and that increase s is applied to all age groups except the very old. The over-80s have not seen an increase, which we can assume, unfortunately, because many older people have actually died of Covid who otherwise might have died of a heart attack. It is purely speculative. But what is not speculative and what is clear from the data is that all of the younger or under 80 age groups have seen an increase.

Marc Filipino
Sarah also delved into research into another vast trove of patient data, this one from the Department of Veterans Affairs in the United States.

Sarah Neville
I spoke to a wonderful researcher, Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, who is based at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri. And Dr Al-Aly’s findings strikingly showed that more people suffered from heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, as I mentioned earlier, when they were infected . And the absolute numbers seem quite small. According to the work of Dr Al-Aly, there is just 4% more chance of having a heart attack if you have had Covid than if you have not had Covid. But as he pointed out to me, when you think about the really huge number of people catching Covid around the world, that 4% will translate into a very, very large number that he thinks is going to really strain the health systems around the world over the years. come.

Marc Filipino
Sarah Neville is the FT’s Global Health Editor.

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Before leaving, the United States banned a major computer chipmaker from selling its cutting-edge chips to Chinese customers. Nvidia said in a filing yesterday that the US requires special licenses to sell two of its processors. These processors are essential for artificial intelligence work. Nvidia said the crackdown was aimed at preventing the chips from being used by the Chinese military, but they are also used in corporate data centers. These restrictions could therefore harm some of the largest Chinese companies. Beijing condemned the move. He called it a technological blockade. Nvidia shares were down 11% at one point yesterday.

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You can read more about all these stories on FT.com. This has been your daily press briefing on FT. Be sure to check back next week for the latest trading news. The FT News Briefing is produced by Sonja Hutson, Fiona Symon and me, Marc Filippino. Our editor is Jess Smith. We had help this week from David da Silva, Michael Lello and Gavin Kallmann. Our executive producer is Topher Forhecz. Cheryl Brumley is the FT’s Global Head of Audio, and our theme song is by Metaphor Music.

This transcript was generated automatically. If by any chance there is an error, please send the details for a correction to: [email protected]. We will do our best to make the change as soon as possible.

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