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tv   Bloomberg Markets Asia  Bloomberg  August 23, 2021 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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singapore, outlining the u.s. vision for economic partnerships across asia. david: as we await that speech, equity markets are gripping higher. how long it lasts, who knows. >> is at the low hanging fruit? bottom fishing? >> or we might be seeing delays in the whole tape or discussion. >> these things are kind of synchronized. >> a lot of the tech heavy benchmarks, i will get out of the way. the hang seng is up 1.7%.
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this is to the upside and downside. we have currency markets. there we go, leading the declines here. leading the rally across some of the asian fx. this is indicative of the rally reaching commodity markets and commodity related currencies. you had the loonie up over 1%. the tone is quite risk on. i think that is the operative word. >> five weeks, the selloff is really what we have been trying to raise. >> we have some of these stocks that are on the move in this particular market.
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this is a 1.3% decline. one on the way down. jd.com is up over 8%. they can see what is going on with regards to that as well. >> there is some potential for em and china to catch up to what we are seeing in the u.s. and europe as well. look at the data. is this the sense that bad news is good news for the markets? if you look at the global economic surprise index, this is the negative territory for the first time since june of 2020. you do see the threats of delta really impacting how sentiment is at the moment. they are starting to see some doubts emerging that jay powell can actually declare victory from this coronavirus at jackson hole. >> they told us they are willing
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to let inflation overshoot. are getting to the point where that might be a little too far? is that your biggest worry? if inflation gets out of control and the fed has to scramble to get that control? the reason we bring that up with the data coming back is can we get the other one up? when you look at the other one, thank you. we are looking at the dry index. this is for the first time since 2010. in a lot of ways, -- keep in mind we were below 500 roughly. it is this inflation that has not really showed up in some of these consumer inflation reports if and when they get passed through. >> you have all of these different lockdowns going on across southeast asia.
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does that actually lead to more inflation? it could be more persistent. >> let's have a look at what is going on with the delta variant. have a look at the rising inflections globally. -- infections globally. that is the covid vaccine made by pfizer. this helped to bolster markets. this is something equity markets could be rallying on as well. let's get to mark. we are asking this question. arvest cats -- mark: this delta variant is clearly bringing a new factor in.
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this may be more so than they had to have done a few weeks ago. the chances are that whatever he says at jackson hole was going to be couched in very dovish language. although the fed speakers of the past couple of weeks are really setting up for him to talk about a timetable for reducing bond purchases, he may well outline party much the same things we have heard. it could be at the end of this year or early next year. he will definitely couched it in a way, even if the goods are done, it will be done very slowly. a rate hike is a very long way off. mark can take that as a dovish kind of stance. the fact that he is also receiving an endorsement from janet yellen is a big deal for markets as well. they have no risk.
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there is a very tiny risk that he will not be the chairman again for the next five years. that takes away one possibility of potential risk to the market. that is another reason why risk assets are feeling quite good about themselves. yvonne: what about for chinese tech? how long will this rally last? >> you are bound to get huge corrections. when you had the hang seng index drop from the highest highs in february, there were bound to be bounces within that that looks pretty spectacular like the one we saw today. this is really nothing. it does not tell us a great till about where the direction is going to be over the next few weeks. today, it is a question of no news being good news. we have not had any particular changes in terms of clampdown's. stocks have fallen a long way.
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in the back of their mind will be what will be the next signal out of china? the chances of a rebound out of the china tech sector is not that great at the moment. >> i am looking at the contrast of s&p futures. it is very close now. is that a lot more clear and a lot more intact? >> i think it is pretty good for the u.s. to give up on the u.s. equity case. what they get in the united states is a little bit more transparency. at least there is a lot of information they can gauge. they can see particularly the direction of the central bank. that is to be very accommodating. the balance sheet has gone through the roof. even more so. that is a tremendous stimulus to financial aspects.
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especially to equities. we have a man in charge, jerome powell will make sure that that stays good. even when there are shutdowns, they have still performed extremely well. people have been involved in seen record high after record high. it is in the u.s. dollar as well. it is all a question of reasons moving out of the united states are just too high. we might as well stay there and enjoy what is going on. quite let's move to the first word news. we have president biting -- >> let's move to the first word news.
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the fda grunted approval for people 16 and older as daily covid desktop to 1000. this is the first vexing to be fully cleared by u.s. regulators. in afghanistan, we have the taliban saying there will be consequences if the u.s. delays its troop withdrawal. boris johnson is said to be pushing president biden to delay the pullout. it is expected to dominate discussions. military officials are in constant contact with the taliban coordinating the evacuation efforts. , harris -- kamala harris said that they are successfully completing the evacuation plan. they are reassuring u.s. allies. she is leaving vietnam later on
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tuesday. they are seeking to go public in new york. it is that greater disclosure of the vehicles. the reported being asked about the chinese authority that might interfere with company operations. that is a look at the first word headlines. >> still ahead, we seek -- speak inclusively with him about his outlook for the region. up next, divergent views. we examined the outlook next, this is bloomberg. ♪
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>> just moments away from the
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u.s. vice president kamala harris. her speech in singapore, talking about how the u.s. is committed to enduring engagement in asia. the key on security, economy and health. >> also saying that she is warning of the threats to what is a rules-based order and to your point, they have committed to this enduring engagement in the region and also really key are things like security, the economy and also health. >> have a look at these views on why wrong.
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courts these came out just moments apart from each other. this is not actually like this. there is a lot of evidence to show that there is extraordinary government support when it comes to them like why wrong. i think this is unclear about what is to come. cripes this is just the shareholder structure. >> what does this all mean for offshore fun holding as well.
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tell us a little bit more about what you think. it seems like on the one hand, this whole resolution with far wrong, you see the spread when it comes to high-yield. do you think they actually received a little bit more clarity? is there a lot of uncertainty out there? >> thank you for having me. i think from our perspective, they can both be right. they are coming from different angles. they are focusing on the fundamentals where we are looking at the capital plan, how it will help far wrong -- huarong get back on better footing. we think that the case does give us a little bit more confidence in terms of the government willingness to avoid the work in the system.
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we are more cautiously optimistic in bible situations because we think tail risk is drastically reduced. however, if this comes down to that, we are not there yet. we know too big to fail is out of the picture. but how is this systematic risk avoided? >> what does it do? there is the moral hazard element which has not gone away. how do you deal with that? >> it has to go. that sustainability of the long-term credit market. >> they once fail. >> it is a controlled and soft landing. i think there is a lot of steps from the government side. they are trying to deliver a positive message but it was
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misunderstood as the government is trying to draw a hard line in terms of credit default and too big to fail. we think the government is realizing they need to keep the communication open with the market in order to allow for more soft landing and to not drive people out of this market. confidence once gone is very hard to be restored. david: talk to us about opportunities. whatever has happened, whether that is the regulation story in tech or the debt crackdown and property, some of these credits are investment. they are almost trading -- is that what i am trying to get? >> in chinese, we have this saying. we feel there are opportunities in the market. i think the market is very much
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focused on sentiment. the sentiment is driving valuation quite cheap. we think this is exactly where we could put opportunities. these companies are trading at single valuation. even if we think the market -- for those triple companies to be downgraded, i think the single be valuation is not yet justified. we do see other sectors that are more impacted by the sentiment. the fundamental runway is still intact. we still have game companies that were impacted by the massive sentiment. not necessarily from china but this resurgence in covid. we don't think the world is going to go back to the plans of last year. we feel that the valuations are actually justifiable in some sectors.
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>> could you still see opportunities there? >> sure. for the property sector, maybe it is too early to call this over. we are still showing some clarity. one thing from the development and tomorrow situation is the tail risk is reduced. even if ever grand really comes down to a restructuring situation or further developments on the credit front, the priority from the government to the company is really to make sure we avoid the worst case scenario. this meeting gives mark to the time and the room to really think about what the prudent gateway is to handle the
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situation. >> we talked investment-grade. pre-much anything and china's investment-grade. is there anything between the extremes? >> i think a lot of the investment-grade, we have to approach it from whether it is investment-grade. we have a lot of companies that are privately owned. they do still have industrial leadership. they have very healthy profit margins and they are hurt by this uncertainty in terms of overall china risk asset. we feel that if we focus on those companies that are penalized because of the sentiment, there will be
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opportunities there. >> thank you for joining us. we appreciate you. we have this speech from kamala harris. we have had some headlines already. we will get more with regards to that, this is bloomberg. ♪
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>> take a look at some of the key stories we are watching out of southeast asia. the latest has been on bank indonesia. they have purchased more government bonds this year. we are getting some lines crossing from the central bank governor. these bond buys are supporting the pandemic response and we are listening to a little bit more
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of what the finance minister said as well. in malaysia, the worsening covid outbreak seems to be impacting the global ship shortage. the city state of singapore is urging employers to consider implementing a different policy for employees to get vaccinated or undergo regular testing. >> kamala harris is in singapore to reaffirm washington's commitment to the region. she will be giving a speech on the visions for the region. bruce: it is success that she is here. quite that is what is in the headlines right now. in the speech we will be hearing soon, we are likely to hear comments about what the biden
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administration view is for the region. issues related to economic security, global security, global health, climate change. i think we will be hearing about that and comments about the importance of freedom, free flow of your openness in the indo pacific region, very clearly intended at china. >> what sort of tangible outcomes can come out of this? i know that afghanistan has overshadowed this trip but what could we actually see as far as something that is economic that could reap some benefits? >> i think it is a good question. in many ways, the trip itself is the point. the fact that the vice president is in southeast asia, that is
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the message they're trying to send to the vision. especially at the time that all of this is going on in afghanistan. the contact here is that this is an administration that has withdrawn from the tpp. trying to send a different message that the u.s. is more engaged in southeast asia. david: bruce einhorn with all the latest. in the meantime, very briefly across him of these equity markets, apart from what you are seeing across chinese tech, there is the story, down about 10%. they prefer u.s. names over what you're seeing in macau. i guess we are looking at that,
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as jm. other names in japan that are falling on the back for various reasons. we have some share buybacks. we will talk about this on the other side of the break. this is bloomberg. ♪
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rishaad biz 10:29 a.m. here in hong kong and in singapore. 10:29 p.m. in the evening in wall street. there has been a two-week shutdown due to quarantine of stock workers. and we have an official from this court saying it is still closed. five container ships have left in the last few days. cgm telling customers that for operations should return in the
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coming weeks. prime minister justin trudeau's in the first week of canada's snap election campaign. prospects for the majority win are weakening. one poll even sure the tories ahead. new york governor andrew cuomo delivered a defiant farewell to the state he govern for a decade, after an investigation found he had sexually harassed 11 women. the lieutenant governor will become new york's first female governor and her term will begin on tuesday. >> the attorney general's report was designed to be a political firecracker on an explosive topic.
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and there was a political and media stampede. but the truth will out in time. of that, i am confident. rishaad: the united states is reportedly pressuring israel not to allow a company to build a rail yard. five groups have submitted bids for the project, three of them chinese owned. 145 accounts were shut down on the chinese platform, some of which had been sympathetic to a popstar who is accused of rape. the social media giant says it closed the account because they published information that was harmful for maintaining social order. chris wu was arrested in july over several sexual assault allegations.
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el salvador is installing bitcoin a dm's allowing citizens to withdraw it in cash. it will install 200 tlaib machines to accompany its digital wallet -- it will install 200 tele-machines to accompany its digital wallet. desire first word headlines. yvonne: let's bring you live pictures of singapore, vice president kamala harris is set to emerge, step on the podium to deliver her speech. we have some excerpts. she will be talking about how the indo-pacific is a top priority to the u.s. the keys of the speech will be on security, economy, and health, the potential for the united states providing vaccines to the south of asia on the back of security. she will warn of threats to the rule-based order.
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in direct aim at china in the face of all this, dave. david: yes, and a part of what her office released, i will read this word-for-word, based on her words and what that speech is going to look like, "now as we face threats to that border, i --, the harris -- i am here to affirm our commitment to that mission and --." these are pictures you are looking at a singapore and we are awaiting the u.s. president to come on stage -- u.s. vice president, stage. rishaad: she is talking about engagement in the region. perhaps people are looking at that and asking her, as they have done, whether this commitment to southeast asia is one which we can really believe
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in, given what has been going on in south asia as well. we are looking at this. she is planning to say that the indo-pacific is a priority for the united states. and she is talking about what is going on with china. of course, she has been peppered with questions about events in afghanistan. that is a look at what we have. that lectern, waiting from -- waiting for the vice president. yvonne: we were just talking about the former u.s. ambassador to singapore and he was saying that the up accident look good on the back of what is going on in afghanistan. we will need something beyond symbolic trips to south asia. we will need something of substance. they have been waiting for a decade now for some kind of time, energy, resources into this region, and we have yet to see something of substance.
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and there will be questions on how this plays into china's hands. this narrative doesn't speak to what jane has been talking about, whether the u.s. commitment is something you can truly put money behind right now. rishaad: all right, and she will also be warning of threats in the asia pacific. we are expecting, the harris. meanwhile, we will look at covid-19 and how it has been disrupting private equity. our next guest believes it does not alter this sector's positive growth prospects. one of the world's largest avid equity firms, vikram lokur joins us from singapore. what has it been like? has it thrown up a lot of opportunities, given that a crisis always or nearly always
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presents an opportunity? vikram: thank you. i hope you and your viewers are keeping well and staying safe. in answer to your question, we see significant opportunity for private equity in the region. asia presents 30% of the global economy and nearly 50% of global growth. . in 2020 alone, the region saw gdp of about $25 trillion. . as capital markets continue to expand, we see increasing needs for high quality companies. all told, we expect to remain very busy in the region, which we see is an attractive destination for capital as well as a source of capital. rishaad: i want to get a sense of how you can add value. often private equity groups are seen as asset strippers, ones which essentially whittled down companies, put them on the market for a nice, tidy profit.
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you say you are creating value and opportunities. give us a sense of where you're coming from. vikram: sure. to your question, traditionally, there have been three broadway's for private equity to create value -- financial leverage, multiple expansion, and operational improvements. consistent with carlisle's philosophy, we are faced with a situation where we have low interest rates, high valuation and global growth. we need to focus on helping our portfolio companies grow. how do we do this? we focus on operational efficiencies that enable our companies to grow their revenues, benefit from cost efficiencies, and thereby, expand their profit margins. david: i wanted to get, then your thoughts, since we're talking about valuations. david here. typically when you do see parts of the public market,
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particularly tech and growth see a step back in terms of valuations, we have seen that in some parts of the asian equity market, that tends to have an effect on valuations down into the private market. i wanted to get your views on where you think valuations are right now in the private equity space, particularly those much closer to exits. vikram: that is a key question something we think about a lot at carlisle. it is worth mentioning that we maintain a long-term view on our investment activity both globally as well as here in asia. it is not like we are worried about what will happen on a day-to-day basis as much as trying to find good companies at reasonable valuations where we can contribute our expertise and help them grow. it is important that we find the right sectors and the right industries kind of things we like in asia are technology, health care, as well as consumer and retail.
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that is what we really want to focus on, we believe it will create opportunity for all of us . yvonne busy mentioned technology. what is your overall risk tolerance for tech right now? vikram: technology has been pretty active historically. we continue to maintain the portfolio. we pay close attention to a few things, valuation is a key factor. we want to do is find good companies which show potential for constant growth. we realize there may be ups and downs, there might be times when there are certain disruptions in the public markets which might flow to the technology aspects. over time, we think this is a good space to be and we anticipate will continue to be active here. we have a sizable technology
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portfolio in america and europe as well. yvonne: tell us more about the dislocations you are seeing from covid, as we emerge out of this pandemic. how is it different from what we saw back in the global financial crisis, and currently, how we are now? vikram: that is another key question. we were already seeing several trends pre-covid that have only accelerated pre-covid. things like low interest rates, high valuations, and global decoupling. we were also seeing strong trends in energy transition and technology disruption. one of the things we think about a lot at carlyle is the difference between liquidity and solvency. there were companies that were solvent but illiquid. with the pandemic, there might be companies that are in south bend, but illiquid -- insolvent, but illiquid. we need to pay attention to the
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distinction between the real economy and the equity markets, and the effect that a lot of liquidity can have on each of these. time will tell how all of this unfolds. our view is that companies and industries that embrace these shifts will benefit from, the new paradigm more so than those hoping to go back to an older version of normal. this is the central theme as to how we are going about allocating capital. as we like to say at carlyle, the future has arrived early. david: when people think about the return to normal, it is a bit murky, compared to the other parts of the world that are dealing with the virus with much better vaccine rates. when you talk about the region. are you concerned about what that returned from normal actually looks like, because it seems like that is still a moving concept, a moving target, if you will. vikram: here in southeast asia, around singapore we see a certain amount of activity, a return to normal, but that
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varies from region to region, and specific geographies and countries that have handled it in different ways. in singapore, we are gradually seeing some of the measures being lifted, a return to office on a selective basis, more domestic activity which will lead to domestic consumption. there is a fair amount of spending power which has been held captive the last 18 months or so and we see that being released. if you look at other parts of southeast asia, thailand, malaysia, indonesia and the philippines, they all have different considerations that pertain to the health care and political aspects, and ultimately, how they want to go about loosening restrictions and get more integrated with the global economy. rishaad: with that in mind, how have things changed
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structurally? and give us an idea of who you have been investing in of late, which perhaps dovetails into that shift, and who you are excited about in terms of your investments. vikram: the kind of companies, the sectors that we like, they remain in technology and businesses where we see a lot of activity. health care we think will continue to be an attractive space, particularly with what we have all experienced as a result of the pandemic. the need for finding high quality companies and assets in that space will remain prevalent. also, if you look at the growth aspect of the asia region, consumer is an area we think long-term will grow very well. with the size of the population, just the requirements of the asian consumer and the ability for them to have more disposable
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income. so that along with media and retail we think will be good places to be over an extended period of time. rishaad: thank you so much for joining us, vikram lokur, managing director at carlyle group. we are waiting for vice president kamala harris to get to the lectern there in singapore. she will be introduced by the abbasid or at large -- the ambassador at large. let's get over to singapore. >> to introduce the first woman vice president of the united states, and the first person of african-american and indian heritage to achieve this position, vice president kamala harris. ♪ [applause] ♪
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v.p. harris: good morning to everyone. it is a joy and an honor to be with you today, to be here in singapore. i will begin my comment on speaking about afghanistan, because i am fully aware as i stand here today, the eyes of many around the world are on afghanistan. so before i begin my comments, i will talk about that. you all know, we were at war in afghanistan for 20 long years. many members of our military gave their lives in afghanistan, as did many from our allies and partners. months ago, president joe biden made the courageous and right decision to end this war, because we had achieved what we went there to do. over these past weeks, the united states has been focused
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on safely evacuating, american citizens international partners, afghans who work side-by-side with us, and other afghans at risk. we are laser focused on the task at hand, and we are extremely grateful to our men and women in uniform and embassy staff who are on the ground as we speak, making this historic airlift happen in an incredibly difficult and dangerous environment, and we are grateful to our international partners for standing with us and working with us to meet this challenge. including singapore. at the same time, it is also imperative that as we address developments in one region, we continue to advance our interests in other regions.
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including this region. and that brings me to why am here today in singapore. as i have said many times over these past many months, the fact is that i believe america is embarking on a new era. an era with new challenges. and an era with new opportunities, like clean energy . the fact is, our world is more interconnected and interdependent, and in order then to embrace this new era, nations must be willing to take on challenges together and create opportunities together. that is why our partnerships in singapore, in southeast asia, and around the
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indo-pacific remain a priority for the united states. the united states is a proud partner of the indo-pacific, and this region is important to our nation's security and prosperity . just consider some of our allies and strongest partners are here. our exports to the region support 4 million american jobs. and in 2019, the united states conducted nearly $2 trillion of two-way trade here, which underscores america's connection to the indo-pacific. in this region, we have long put forward a vision of peace and stability. freedom on the seas.
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unimpeded commerce. advancing human rights. a commitment to the international rules-based order. and a belief that our common interests are not zero-sum. now as we face threats to that new order, i am here to reaffirm our commitment to that vision. to strengthen it and to make sure that it addresses the challenges of today. and of tomorrow. to do that, we will invest our time and our energy to fortify our key partnerships, including with singapore and vietnam. our partnerships will be grounded in candor, openness,
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inclusiveness, shared interest, and mutual benefits. the united states will pursue a free and open indo-pacific that promotes our interests and those of our partners and allies. in addition to deepening close bilateral relations, we will also work multilaterally through long-standing institutions like asean, which remain central to this region's architecture. we will also work with new, result oriented groups like the quad and the u.s.. we will always be true to values and support those who seek a better future for all people. i believe that when the history of the 21st century is written,
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much of it is centered right here in the indo-pacific. our intention is to strengthen our partnerships and reinforce our shared vision so that with our partners, we can together continue shaping that history. in doing so, there should be no doubt, we have enduring interests in this region, and we have enduring commitments as well. those commitments include, of course, security. yesterday i visited a naval base . the uss tulsa is a symbol of a deep and enduring security partnership between our nations, a statement of america's
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security commitment to this region. our vision includes freedom of navigation, which is vital to us all. the lives of millions of people depend on the billions of dollars in trade that flow through these sea lanes each day. and yet, in the south china sea, we know that beijing continues to course, to intimidate, and to make claims to the vast majority of the south china sea. these unlawful claims have been rejected by the 2016 tribunal. beijing's actions continue to undermine the rules-based order, and threatened sovereignty of nations. the united states stands with
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afghanistan and our partners in the face of these threats. and i must be clear, our engagement in southeast asia and the indo-pacific is not against anyone country, nor is it designed to make anyone choose between countries. instead, our engagement is about advancing an optimistic vision that we have for our participation and partnership in this region. and our economic vision is a critical part of that. the economy of the united states is growing faster than it has in nearly 40 years. wages are up. employment is up. consumer demand is up. and we believe that our growth should not stop at the water's edge. that it can also, and it will
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also benefit our partners. our economy shares so much with southeast asia, from supply chains to a steady flow of two-way trade. collectively, the nations of southeast asia represent our nation's fourth largest export market, a vibrant and dynamic market which will soon rank among our biggest markets in the world. our trade relationships in southeast asia support more than 600,000 american jobs. and now with an eye toward the future, we are strengthening our economic engagement. in fact, today i am proud to announce that the united states is offering to host apec in 2023. through the asian pacific
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economic cooperation forum, the united states has long worked with our partners in asia and latin america to build an interconnected region that advances our collective economic prosperity. a vital part of our agenda is also related to addressing the climate crisis. our vision includes investing in a clean energy future and building resilient communities, and the relationship between the united states and singapore and its climate partnerships that we announced yesterday will focus on sustainable finance as just one example of the work we are committing to doing. the nations of southeast asia know the impacts of a crisis all too well. the rising sea levels, the typhoons, the floods. these disasters have cost human
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lives and livelihoods. and the crisis as we know, the crisis is getting much more urgent. i am sure many of you saw the report recently from the united nations. in our interconnected world, this issue affects us all. it requires the collective vision, and it requires collective action. and then, of course, there is another issue that truly knows no borders. it is the pandemic. when president joe biden and i took office, we were determined not only to vaccinate our own nation, but to be an arsenal of safe and effective vaccines for our entire world. to date, of the 110 million doses we have shipped
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worldwide, we have delivered more than 20 million of those to southeast asia. and it is important to note that these are donations. free of charge, with no strings attached, because for us, this is about saving lives. and because, of course, that is the right thing to do. looking forward, our vision is a world where global health security is strengthened, and where we can detect and attack new viruses early on. and we are taking steps to make that future reality. in the same vein, i would like to reiterate that we will continue to lead. that means respecting human rights at home and abroad. that and, i must say, what about burma? the united states remains deeply
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alarmed by the military coup in burma. we condemned the campaign of violent repression, and we are committed to supporting the people there as they work to return their nation to the path of democracy. and we do hope that nations throughout the indo-pacific join us in that effort. years from now, i hope we can all look back on this moment and say this, this was when our region joined together to realize a better future. when we took action to improve the lives of all people. years from now, i hope that we will be able to point to our partnerships between the united states and singapore, between
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the united states and southeast asia, and throughout the indo-pacific, as the partnerships that made this shared vision of the future possible. thank you all. [applause] thank you. rishaad biz united states vice president kamala harris just said the u.s. is committed to peace and stability in the indo-pacific region, going on to say that it is rejecting china's claims of the south china sea as being unlawful. a bit surprised that she kicked things of which the biggest news story globally speaking, afghanistan, justifying their decision to leave that country. but the speech led on to the relationship with southeast asia. really talking about, leaving no
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doubt on u.s. interests as far as asia goes. i am now joined by juliette saly. juliet, there in singapore, that is where she is talking as well. bit of a broadside to beijing. juliet fish absolutely, really interesting comments from the vice president on her first trip to singapore, the biden administration saying the united states is not asking countries in asia to choose sides. and that their engagement in the region is not against anyone country. we just heard, harris wrapping up those comments. michelle, your thoughts? michelle: as you mentioned, afghanistan has been a distraction all trip, something she needed to address. more importantly, the vp had been at pains

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