Nike shares hit as Kaepernick ad spurs boycott

Eli Harold, Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid of the San Francisco 49ers kneel on the sideline during the anthem prior to a game against the Dallas Cowboys in 2016. (AFP)
Updated 04 September 2018
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Nike shares hit as Kaepernick ad spurs boycott

  • Calls for a boycott of Nike gained traction on social media following its choice of Colin Kaepernick as a face for the 30th anniversary of its Just Do It slogan
  • Over 30,000 people were tweeting with the hashtag #NikeBoycott on Tuesday morning US eastern time, making it among the top trending topics on Twitter

NEW YORK: Shares of Nike Inc. fell 3 percent on Tuesday as calls for a boycott of the sportswear giant gained traction on social media following its choice of Colin Kaepernick as a face for the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” slogan.
Former San Francisco quarterback Kaepernick, the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem as a protest against racism, posted a black-and-white close-up of himself on Instagram on Monday featuring the Nike logo and “Just do it” slogan, along with the quote: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Over 30,000 people were tweeting with the hashtag #NikeBoycott on Tuesday morning US eastern time, making it among the top trending topics on Twitter. Some posted images of themselves burning and ripping their Nike shoes and apparel.
“First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country,” Twitter user @sclancy79 said in a post retweeted 16,000 times. “Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive?,“
Still, there were a large number of other users who took positively to Nike taking a stand on social issues.
Athletes including LeBron James and Kevin Durant showed support, posting images of Kaepernick’s ad on their Instagram profiles.
Even former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad weighed in, tweeting: “The #NFL season will start this week, unfortunately once again @Kaepernick7 is not on a NFL roster. Even though he is one of the best Quarterbacks in the league.”
Retail industry analysts were divided on whether the heat around the campaign would be a commercial positive for Nike or ultimately alienate and lose customers.
“The alt-right calls for a Nike boycott will fail just like the boycott of Dick’s Sporting Goods failed,” said Matt Powell, a senior adviser with market research firm NPD Group. “Old angry white guys are not a core demographic for Nike.”
Gun rights supporters called for the boycott of Dick’s Sporting Goods earlier this year after the retailer stopped selling assault rifles and high-capacity magazines following a massacre at a Florida high school in February.
Another analyst, GlobalData Retail’s Neil Saunders, said the campaign will harm Nike in middle America, where it is battle Germany’s Adidas for dominance in the sneaker market.
“The company’s stand may go down well on its native West Coast; it will be far less welcome in many other locations,” he said.
US President Donald Trump has been critical of athletes taking a knee during the national anthem and has said he would love to see NFL owners fire football players who disrespect the American flag.
Nike, who confirmed on Monday that Kaepernick was part of the campaign and called him “one of the inspirational athletes of his generation,” did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.


Saudi Finance Ministry welcomes positive IMF report on Kingdom’s economic health

Updated 24 July 2019
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Saudi Finance Ministry welcomes positive IMF report on Kingdom’s economic health

  • The IMF said it expects non-oil real growth in Saudi Arabia to rise to 2.9 percent in 2019

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Finance on Tuesday welcomed a statement issued by the executive board of the International Monetary Fund in which it commended the progress made by the Kingdom in the implementation of financial, economic and social reforms.

It followed the IMF’s latest Article IV consultations with Saudi Arabia, which concluded on July 10. These regular, usually annual, consultations are carried out to assess a nation’s economic health and development, and identify any potential problems that could cause instability.

The IMF said it expects non-oil real growth in Saudi Arabia to rise to 2.9 percent in 2019 thanks to increased government spending and growing confidence in the economy. The organization said the government’s continued commitment to prudent economic policies and structural reforms will be key factors in promoting non-oil growth, job creation and achieving the goals set out in Vision 2030.

The board in particular welcomed reforms aimed at improving the management of public finances, including a new government procurement system that will help to make government spending more efficient and reduce the risk of corruption. It also praised the efforts being made to enhance the transparency of public finances, and the reforms adopted by the government to develop the non-oil economy. It stressed the need to rebuild fiscal surpluses and reduce the risks to public finances in the medium term, and emphasized that containment of the government wage bill and an increase in capital expenditure in a systematic manner could help to generate financial savings for this year.

The board also highlighted the Kingdom’s strong financial sector and ongoing reforms in the Saudi financial markets. It praised the ongoing efforts to strengthen the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) framework, and its recent accession to full membership of the anti-money laundering watchdog the Financial Action Task Force. The Saudi Government’s commitment to joining the IMF Standards for Data Dissemination by the end of this year was also commended.

“The statement affirms that Saudi Arabia has made good progress in implementing economic and structural reforms and that these reforms are bearing fruit and are reflected in economic performance,” said Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan. “The Board sees that the outlook for the Saudi economy is positive.”

He added that the IMF board’s assessment reflects the ambitious reform efforts being made by the Kingdom at all levels, and stressed that the government is working to achieve financial and economic targets in accordance with the aims of Vision 2030 to maintain financial stability, achieve high economic-growth rates and support economic diversification through special initiatives, programs and projects that contribute to these objectives.

Al-Jadaan also welcomed the board’s endorsement of the government’s reforms, including measures to support financial sustainability, the financial markets, the expansion of financial services and the implementation of AML/CFT legislation and procedures at all levels in institutions.

He added that the new competition and procurement system will help to improve transparency, regulation and governance of procedures related to government procurement, in accordance with the best global practices.