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Odd Lots

Bloomberg News

Bloomberg's Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway explore the most interesting topics in finance, markets and economics. Join the conversation every Monday and Thursday.


New York City, NY


Bloomberg's Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway explore the most interesting topics in finance, markets and economics. Join the conversation every Monday and Thursday.






This Is How We'll Know If the CHIPS Act Is Working

The US government is spending billions of dollars to build out state-of-the-art domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity. But spending money is no guarantee of success. In fact, there are already worries that the CHIPS Act passed by the Biden administration isn't succeeding, due to various roadblocks, speedbumps and unforced errors. So what are the odds that it will pay off? And what should we be watching for as evidence of its efficacy? On this episode of the podcast, we spoke with Dan Wang, technology analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics and Adam Ozimek, chief economist at the Economic Innovation Group. This episode was recorded live at Decades, Adam's bowling alley in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, during the #EconTwitterIRL event in April. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


Slack Founder Stewart Butterfield on AI, Software, and the End of the Tech Boom

Stewart Butterfield has been at the forefront of two epochal turning points for tech. First, he was the co-founder of the photo sharing site Flickr, that was one of the defining brands of the so-called Web 2.0 and the world of user-generated content. Several years after that, he co-founded Slack, one of the big winners of the software-as-a-service wars, changing how people work and how companies operate. Now we're at another turning point for the tech industry. Layoffs have occurred across the space and AI is putting traditional business models into doubt. On this episode, we speak with Butterfield about his experiences and what he sees coming next for tech. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


On the Debt Ceiling, the White House Is Doing What It Said It Wouldn't Do

In 2011, then-Vice President Biden had a front row seat to a bruising debt ceiling standoff between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner. That fight arguably derailed the Obama presidency and the nascent economic recovery. After that experience, Biden and his team had insisted that this time they would not negotiate over a debt ceiling increase. Yet here we are, and the current administration is doing exactly that. According to the Treasury Department, we're just days away from the so called "X-date" (when a US default would occur) and both the White House and new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have been debating what conditions a hike in the debt ceiling should come with. So how did they get into this situation? And what were the other options? On this episode we speak with Skanda Amarnath, executive director of Employ America, and Arnab Datta, senior counsel of Employ America, about the current state of play and how it might have been avoided. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


What Needs to Happen for the Renminbi to Seriously Compete With the Dollar

There's a lot of discussion these days about de-dollarization and whether the US dollar will lose its standing as the world's sole reserve currency. Generally, people seem open to the idea, but they also don't see many good alternatives out there. The renminbi is the obvious candidate to take share away from the dollar, given the size of the Chinese economy and China's role in global trade. But for various reasons, the currency isn't suited to be a global reserve currency. So what would it actually take to become one? And what would be the effects if it started to play a major role in global trade? On this episode of the podcast, we speak with Karthik Sankaran, a longtime FX veteran, about what China would have to do if it really has global aspirations for its currency, and why a more multipolar FX landscape might be good for world financial stability. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


We're In the Midst of Trucking Bloodbath 2.0

A couple of years ago, it was an amazing time to have a truck or be a trucker. The goods economy was absolutely booming. Prices were booming. Supply chains were broken. Everyone wanted access to more freight. Fast forward to spring 2023 and the situation couldn't be more different. Prices have collapsed and the environment is now as bad for carriers as it was during 2019, which was a horrible year for the industry. In fact, conditions now might even be as bad as they were during the Great Recession. On this episode of the podcast, we speak with Craig Fuller, the founder and CEO of FreightWaves, and Rachel Premack, editorial director for FreightWaves, about the state of trucking, what the market says about the broader economy, and what it will take to turn the industry around. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam on the Fight to Regulate Crypto

We're still in the middle of a "crypto winter" with the price of coins well off their highs from back in 2021. But debates over how to regulate them are heating up, with significant disagreements among US politicians and agency chiefs. At the recent ISDA Annual General Meeting, we sat down with CFTC Chief Rostin Behnam to talk about his view on crypto rules and more. Among the things we discussed are what constitutes a security or a commodity, market structure questions, new types of betting markets, and other matters currently facing the CFTC. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


The CME's Terry Duffy on the Big Risks He's Seeing Now

Terry Duffy is the chairman and CEO of CME Group, the world's biggest derivatives exchange and a trading behemoth whose name is synonymous with Chicago's financial industry. In this wide-ranging interview, Duffy talks about the big risks in the market he's seeing right now and how the CME is preparing for them. He discusses everything from complaints over a lack of liquidity in Treasury futures, to the impact of the debt ceiling on CME's risk management, interest rate hedging trends in the aftermath of the recent banking crisis, and the exchange's expanding suite of crypto offerings. We also talk about how Duffy is viewing the CME's future in Chicago and, finally, his take on the onion futures debate. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


Introducing - Spellcaster: The Fall of Sam Bankman-Fried

Coming soon: When nerdy gamer Sam Bankman-Fried rocketed to fame as the world’s richest 29-year-old, he pledged to donate his billions to good causes. But then his crypto exchange FTX collapsed Billions of dollars were missing, and Sam was in handcuffs. Those who knew him were left wondering — who was Sam really? A well-meaning billionaire who made a mistake? Or a calculating con man? From Wondery and Bloomberg, the makers of The Shrink Next Door, comes a new story of incredible wealth, betrayal and what happens when “doing good” goes really really bad. Learn more here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/spellcaster-the-fall-of-sam-bankman-fried/id1685258534 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


Ben Smith on the End of an Era for Digital Media

The 2010s saw the rise of a number of digital media startups like BuzzFeed News, Gawker Media, Vice, Business Insider and others who were set to usher in a new era of news consumption, displacing legacy outlets like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Now, by and large, that dream seems to have died. Gawker is gone. BuzzFeed News is closed. Vice has filed for bankruptcy. Insider recently had layoffs. So how did it all fall apart and what is the future for upstart media? In this episode, we speak with Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of Semafor and the author of the new book Traffic: Genius, Rivalry, and Delusion in the Billion-Dollar Race to Go Viral, to discuss his experience as the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News, and how times have changed so dramatically for online journalism. We also discussed what business models work today, the use of AI, and the future of news consumption. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


The Fed Hiked Rates Rapidly and Housing Is as Broken as Ever

The Federal Reserve has hiked rates rapidly over the last 18 months, and yet inflation remains surprisingly high. Perhaps what's most surprising is that even in the most rate sensitive area of the economy -- housing -- the surge in mortgage rates hasn't had a significant cooling effect. Prices have barely budged and even the homebuilders have been booming again after a brief dip in late 2022. So what is happening now? Why did the rate shock fail to derail the industry? And what is the lesson that homebuilders have taken away from this cycle? On this episode, we speak with Zonda chief economist Ali Wolf about why and how the housing market is still broken despite this rate action. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


Inside the Battle for Chips That Will Power Artificial Intelligence

Nobody knows for sure who is going to make all the money when it comes to artificial intelligence. Will it be the incumbent tech giants? Will it be startups? What will the business models look like? It's all up in the air. One thing is clear though — AI requires a lot of computing power and that means demand for semiconductors. Right now, Nvidia has been a huge winner in the space, with their chips powering both the training of AI models (like ChatGPT) and the inference (the results of a query.) But others want in on the action as well. So how big will this market be? Can other companies gain a foothold and "chip away" at Nvidia's dominance? On this episode we speak with Bernstein semiconductor analyst Stacy Rasgon about this rapidly growing space and who has a shot to win it. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


Care Work in the United States Has Been Broken for Years

Disruptions caused by the pandemic have revealed deep flaws in our supply chain for physical goods. Certain market failures that have been left to fester for years were suddenly exposed. But some parts of the economy were broken long before the pandemic, particularly anything having to do with care work. Various forms of childcare, daycare, eldercare and healthcare have seen costs explode, with services unevenly distributed, even as those working in the care economy often remain poorly compensated. On this episode, we speak to economist Nancy Folbre, professor emerita of economics at UMass-Amherst and director of the Program on Gender and Care Work at the Political Economy Research Institute, about why such crucial services are so broken in America. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


The White Oak Shortage That Could Ruin the Bourbon Industry

Some supply chain crises are acute. A bottleneck at the ports. A shortage of semiconductors. These can get fixed, to some extent, with concerted policy choices. But other crises are slower moving and don't have one easy fix. In the coming years, the bourbon supply chain could be under threat, due to a shortage of the specific type of wood used in the barrels made for aging the liquor. On this episode of the podcast, we speak with Penn State University forestry professor Calvin Norman about a looming shortage of critical white oak. He explains why the industry is potentially facing a shortfall, why other woods can’t be used to replace it, and what it would take to ensure that this critical tree remains abundant. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


Why the Desire to Move Away From the Dollar Is Getting Real

There's been a lot of discussion about the possibility of "de-dollarization," or the idea that the world could move away from using the dollar as the de facto global reserve currency. Some of this desire makes sense. Not only has the Federal Reserve been hiking rates at the fastest pace in decades, which puts economic pressure on other countries through links to the dollar and US trade, but sanctions imposed on Russia have also made some nations more wary of relying on US financial assets and infrastructure. And in BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), there seems to be growing appetite to usurp the dollar’s hegemony. Of course, we've seen this kind of talk before, yet there has been little change to the dollar's special role. So is it different this time? On this episode, we speak with Paul McNamara, an investment director at GAM and a veteran of emerging markets, about what's driving this renewed clamor for de-dollarization. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


Here Are the Signs of a Slow-Moving Credit Crunch

The big headlines from March's banking crisis have receded and balances at some of the Federal Reserve's emergency lending facilities, like the discount window, are starting to fall. But if you look closely, there are still signs of strain in the depths of the financial system. And of course, there are still plenty of worries about whether deposit outflows from banks will lead to a broader credit crunch that could tip the US economy into recession. On this episode of the Odd Lots podcast, we speak to Ben Emons, senior portfolio manager at NewEdge Wealth and a longtime portfolio manager at Pimco, about what the banking drama means for everything from US mortgage rates to the vast "repo" market that's often described as the plumbing of the financial system. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


Pot Lots Part 3: Righting the Wrongs of the Past

Marijuana has been legalized in a number of places in the US now, but what New York is trying to do with its legal weed market is somewhat unique. Not only is the state trying to use legalized weed to raise tax revenue and create a new industry with lots of new jobs, it’s also trying to use its legalized cannabis market to rectify some of the wrongs of the past. In the third and final episode of this special Odd Lots series, we speak to those who have been affected by historic attitudes and policies towards drugs, and some of the state officials who are now trying to right these past injustices. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


Pot Lots Part 2: The Business of Big Cannabis

In some respects, selling legalized cannabis should be like many other consumer goods business. You make a product people recognize and then sell it to as many of them as possible. But even if attitudes towards pot -- and the laws that govern it -- are changing in the US, there are still a ton of issues facing this new market. In the second episode of this three-part Odd Lots series, we take a closer look at the business of big cannabis. How are multi-state operators working out in places that legalized medical and recreational marijuana years ago? What are the opportunities and challenges of this new industry? And what do they say about the future of the New York market? See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


Pot Lots Part 1: Birth of a Marijuana Market

New York City has long been seen as a holy grail for the legal weed industry, with millions of potential customers. And last year New York state started handing out licenses for its first recreational cannabis shops, the culmination of a series of moves that have seen marijuana decriminalized after decades of being illegal. So how is this new legal weed market supposed to work in a city with a long and complicated history with drugs, and what are the considerations going into its creation? In this first episode of a special Odd Lots series, we take a deep dive into what's going on with the legalized marijuana market in New York. We’ll spend three episodes exploring what the birth of this market looks like, how these businesses are setting up, and finally how New York is trying to address the social inequities of the past. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


So Much of the World Economy Has Been Going in Reverse

Over time, we expect the world to get richer. Yes, there are disruptions and setbacks (and we have seen several large ones in the last few years) but the expectation is to see growth and an increase in material wealth. And yet for years, many countries around the world have seen stagnation or outright reversal — particularly once you exclude East Asia. On this episode of Odd Lots, we speak with Henry Williams and David Oks, the authors of a recent piece in the journal American Affairs about what they call The Long, Slow Death of Global Development. They argue that traditional development models, particularly those built around manufacturing, have failed much of the world, with little prospect of improvement anytime soon. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


Eight Months In, What Is Happening With Biden's CHIPS Act?

In August of last year, the White House signed the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, a bipartisan effort to bring more advanced semiconductor manufacturing onto US shores. Of course, it already has plenty of critics. There are concerns that the bill is being larded up with red tape, or non-core progressive priorities, that will undermine the bill. On this episode, we speak to two leaders playing key roles in the act's implementation. Mike Schmidt, director of the CHIPS Program Office, and Todd Fisher, the program's chief investment officer, join us to talk about the act's goals, what's been achieved so far, and why they believe it can succeed. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.