Monday, 22 August 2016

BBC does "balanced" reporting

From the BBC:

German carmaker Opel plans to cut its workers' hours this year because it expects Brexit to hurt its UK sales. A spokesman for Opel said about 5,000 workers at its Ruesselsheim and Eisenach factories would be affected. Opel is owned by US car giant GM.

It has been mentioned that the Germans, for whom exporting is the national religion, are keen to maintain free-ish trade with the UK after Brexit and that their car manufacturers are putting pressure on the government in that respect. So this story is actually just about plausible - in the long run. In the short term, nothing has happened or will happen for a long time, which means that the excuse is a little thin - unless this is the German car manufacturers' subtle way of putting political pressure on the government, in which case fair play to them.

The pound has weakened against the dollar and euro since the UK's 23 June vote to leave the EU, adding costs for firms exporting to the UK.

That also seems plausible at first sight, although falling GBP does not add to exporting costs, it reduces them if anything and is more likely to put downward pressure on selling prices. Car manufacturers face a strange 'kinked demand curve', have huge sunk costs and are tied to a certain fixed level of average-cost minimising output, which means that they are probably better off maintaining GBP prices (and accepting lower EUR income) than cutting production. We will see.

So in true Mythbusters' fashion, let's call that one plausible.

Another German car giant - Volkswagen - has also introduced short-time working ("Kurzarbeit") at several factories, but not because of Brexit. It has been hit by slow deliveries from some component firms, the German broadcaster ARD says.

Why was it necessary to add "but not because of Brexit"? They might as well say "but not because of the weather" or "but not because of Germany's poor showing at the Olympics" or anything else totally irrelevant.


Steven_L said...

But why would anyone buy a Vauxhall?

Graeme said...

Don't worry, the same paper reports that Persimmon is doing OK despite Brexit

Mark Wadsworth said...

SL, I have no idea why they would :-)

G, shall I do another "good news despite Brexit" round-up?