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Odd Lots

Author: Bloomberg

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Bloomberg's Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway analyze the weird patterns, the complex issues and the newest market crazes. Join the conversation every Monday and Thursday for interviews with the most interesting minds in finance, economics and markets.
581 Episodes
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It was looking bad there for awhile for Team Transitory. Anyone who had previously even uttered the word "transitory" in regards to inflation was regretting having used it. But lately the term is creeping back in, particularly as inflation decelerates while the unemployment rate remains low. So was the transitory perspective right all along? And is the fabled "soft landing" actually here? Macquarie Capital strategist Viktor Shvets believes it is. On this episode, the return Odd Lots guest gives his view of the economy and why he never gave up on his transitory stance. He talks about why inflation is falling and how many sources of anxiety — from geopolitical risk to deglobalization — won't materialize in the manner that many people are expecting.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Rent inflation went wild in 2021 and 2022, turning it into one of the most substantial drivers of overall inflation. But good news: it seems pretty clear that rents are now finally falling. Private sector measures, from companies like Apartment List and Zillow are starting to show a clear decline. So what's changed? How hard could rents drop? And could a renter in a place like New York City actually get a rent reduction? On this episode of Odd Lots, we speak with Chris Salviati, the top housing economist at Apartment List, to discuss what's changed and what 2023 has in store.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Southwest Airlines had a disastrous holiday season, thanks in part to a software bug that left crews out of place and grounded thousands of flights. But Southwest isn't alone in having software in the headlines lately. The New York Stock Exchange recently had a software error that caused weird pricing on stocks and the FAA had its own computer issue that grounded planes earlier this month. So what's the deal with corporate software? Why do these crashes happen? And why does the user experience typically leave something to be desired? On this episode of the podcast we speak with Patrick McKenzie, an expert on engineering and infrastructure, who writes the Bits About Money newsletter and recently left payments company Stripe after six years. We talked about the challenges of keeping any software system alive after years of upgrades and updates, the distribution of tech talent across industries, and whether non-tech companies can close the gap with Silicon Valley.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The price of eggs rose 60% in 2022, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Meanwhile, wholesale egg prices are up 300% in the last year, creating a chart that looks almost parabolic. So what's going on? And is there any relief in sight? On this episode, we speak with Glenn Hickman, president of Hickman's Family Farms, an Arizona egg farm with roughly 10 million chickens. Glenn explains why egg prices have been shooting higher, the role of the Covid-19 pandemic, and how farms are responding to the outbreak of avian flu.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Over the last year, numerous things have gone wrong for the crypto industry. (Too many to list.) But one thing we've learned is that there's an incredibly high degree of interconnectedness between various firms, all borrowing and lending from each other in a way that created a tremendous amount of fragility. A key entity in all this is GBTC, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, which was one of the first regulated entities that allowed ordinary investors to get Bitcoin price exposure. Over time, this trust turned into a behemoth, with numerous players making massive leveraged bets on it. On this episode, we speak with Ram Ahulwalia, the CEO of Lumida Wealth, who explains how the fund works, how the trade worked for investors, and why it's ended in tears for so many players.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In economics, there tends to be two dominant ways of thinking about inflation. Either you agree with Milton Friedman, who described inflation as always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon (the result of too much money printing). Or you're more of a New Keynesian who thinks that higher prices are all about the relationship between demand and capacity. In a new paper inspired by Odd Lots and the series of disruptions that have rocked the economy since the global pandemic, UMass Amherst Economics Professor Isabella Weber describes a potential third way of thinking about inflation. She identifies systemically significant sources of inflation, or industries that could end up having a broader impact on a wide variety of prices. The hope is that by identifying these important sources of inflation early, policymakers can put in place measures to make sure price increases don't get out of hand. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
While electric vehicle use is growing rapidly, the internal combustion engine remains completely dominant in the world of heavy trucks. At some point in the future, Tesla has a plan to commercialize an electric semi, but nobody really knows when. Meanwhile, other entities are looking to compete in the world of industrial vehicles. Chace Barber is a former trucker in the logging industry, which has some very different characteristics than the type of freight trucking you typically see on a highway. When you're driving over the Rocky Mountains, without easy proximity to mechanics, tow trucks or service stations, you need power and reliability. His company, Edison Motors, is building its own trucks with a hybrid diesel-electric approach that it sees as a better path forward. On this episode, we discuss the challenges of hauling logs, as well as how it's possible for a small entity to get in the game of building such large industrial equipment.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The discount window at the Federal Reserve allows banks to borrow money at an above-market rate in exchange for high-quality collateral. The facility is always available to use, but typically nobody does. Not only is the borrowing costlier, there's also a "stigma" associated with its usage, since the perception is that if you use it your institution might be in some kind of financial distress. So why has some entity (or multiple entities) been using it lately? On this episode of the podcast, we speak with Bill Nelson, chief economist at the Bank Policy Institute and a former employee of the Federal Reserve who helped design and manage the discount window for 10 years. We discuss what the program is, its history and how it's used today.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The most recent jobs report has revived talk that the US economy might pull off the fabled "soft landing." Jobs are still growing nicely and the unemployment rate is at a 50-year low. But wages are decelerating and there are reasons to think that inflation is rolling over as well. So can Jerome Powell & Co. smoothly land the plane, so to speak? On this episode of Odd Lots we speak with Neil Dutta, chief economist at Renaissance Macro Research, and Conor Sen, a columnist at Bloomberg Opinion, about the US macro situation, as well as the rental market and the impact of China's reopening.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Thanks to work from home, and other trends, workers are being electronically monitored by their bosses like never before. But some industries have had experience with this for awhile. Truck drivers, in particular, have been under legally-required electronic monitoring for several years now. Not only are their hours and miles electronically logged, increasingly they're subject to facial cameras and other types of body monitoring. On this episode, we speak with Karen Levy, a professor at Cornell and the author of "Data Driven: Truckers, Technology, and the New Workplace Surveillance" to discuss how surveillance works within the trucking industry, and what it means for everyone else.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Back in early 2021, Ryan Petersen was one of the first people we spoke to on the Odd Lots podcast about supply chain snarls and high shipping costs. The founder and co-CEO of Flexport has since gone on to become a go-to name in the world of logistics, making headlines after he tweeted about what could be done to fix congestion at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. (A Bloomberg Opinion columnist called it the "tweetstorm that saved Christmas.") But fast forward two years and it seems like we're on the verge of a sharp reversal for the shipping industry, with freight rates now plunging and container traffic to the US down almost 20% last month. On this episode, we talk catch up with Petersen to talk about what he's seeing in the industry right now.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In this special episode, Tracy and Joe reach into the mailbag and take some questions about Odd Lots, and the things regularly covered on the show. We also hear from our producer Carmen Rodriguez, who joins as a guest host for the episode.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Odd Lots is seven years old now, having started in late 2015. When it began, we really didn't know what the show was going to be or be about. To end 2022, we decided to revisit our very first episode, when we interviewed our legendary Bloomberg colleague Tom Keene. We talked about how he got into the business, his musical career, hockey, mutual funds, and how he learned to do charts. But we begin with newly recorded discussion about the origins of the podcast and how long ago this first episode now feels. Original version was published November 6th, 2015.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Plastic is in almost everything and prices of polypropylene, polyethylene and a host of other polymers went nuts in 2021, surging to record highs. Now they've come crashing back down to Earth and have reached a two-year low. So what happened to send the price of plastics surging, and why are they falling now? Were plastics a perhaps under-appreciated source of inflation given that they go into practically everything? And where does plastic come from anyway? On this episode of the Odd Lots podcast, we speak to Bank of America Commodities Strategist Warren Russell about the wild ride for plastics over the past couple of years, and what it means for the future of the petrochemicals industry.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We talk a lot about macroeconomic trends on the podcast. What's happening with inflation? Is the labor market too hot? Will there be a recession next year? On this episode of Odd Lots, we take a closer look at how one business is dealing with these economic trends right now, and what its experience says about the economy as a whole. Ken Jarosch is the owner of Jarosch Bakery, which has been operating in the suburbs of Chicago for more than five decades. He's been dealing on the ground with all the things we talk about on the show: supply chains, commodity prices, labor forces. We discuss how he sets pricing for cookies, cakes and donuts as input costs surge, whether he's hiring new workers today, and if he's seeing any slowdown in customer demand.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Last week was a big one. On Tuesday, we got a CPI report that came in substantially cooler than expected. Then on Wednesday, the Fed hiked 50 basis points, which was a step down from the series of 75 basis point hikes that we had been getting at recent meetings. So where do things stand now? When will we get a proper pivot? When will the Fed feel confident that inflation has been defeated. We spoke with two macro guests: Jon Turek, founder of JST Advisors and author of the Cheap Convexity Blog, as well as Tim Duy, Chief US Economist at SGH Macro as well as a Professor of Practice in economics at the University or Oregon. They gave as their readings on inflation, the Fed, and what to watch at the start of 2023. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The US financial system today is pretty much taken as a given. We have the Federal Reserve, which sets interest rates and provides various liquidity backstops. We have regulated banks, which lend and create money and have access to the Fed. And we have non-bank financial activity that falls under the nebulous umbrella of "shadow banking." But how did we actually end up with this system? And why did policymakers design it the way they did? On this episode, which was recorded live at Bloomberg's New York office on Nov. 29, we speak with Josh Younger and Lev Menand. They are research partners who have delved into the big questions about the structure of modern banking, the history that has shaped it into what it is today, and what its design actually means for the economy and society.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
2022 has seen numerous crypto disasters, most notably FTX. Also the price of most coins has tumbled massively. One coin that's done fine is the stablecoin Tether, which is interesting, because its had so many naysayers for so long. There are even hedge funds who have bet on its implosion. But what is Tether? How does it work? And where does it come from? On this episode of the podcast, we speak with Bennett Tomlin, co-host of the Crypto Critics' Corner podcast, who has an encyclopedic knowledge about the company. He walks us through what we know about the entity, and its relationship with other entities in crypto.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Heatwaves, droughts, hurricanes, floods... in a year of commodity shortages and supply chain disruptions, a host of extreme weather events have added stress to the system. So how do companies address the financial risks associated with these events? Catastrophe bonds and reinsurance markets have existed for a long time, but the more extreme the disruptions, the more these industries change. On this episode of the podcast, we speak to Steve Evans, owner and editor-in-chief of Artemis.BM, about recent developments, new types of insurance products and how financial markets are incorporating the effects of climate change.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We're in the aftermath of an extraordinary bubble in cryptocurrencies and the collapse of FTX is a defining chapter of the industry's turmoil. But what does history tells us about the cycle of bubbles and busts? Which past manias are the most similar to what we've just seen? In this episode, we speak with Brad DeLong, an economic historian at the University of California at Berkeley, who is also the author of the new book, "Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the Twentieth Century." He explains how the FTX saga shares shocking similarities with the story of the South Sea Company, a British endeavor that was at the center of a massive mania of speculation in the early 1700s.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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Comments (37)

steve

19:05

Jan 26th
Reply

Bruno Duarte

Revolving

Oct 24th
Reply

Yuriy Tchaikovsky

Fantastic interview, thank you!

Sep 30th
Reply

Renee

Great content

May 19th
Reply

Renee

Points of interest in the pod: The difference between types of stablecoin — 07:36 Terra as a perpetual motion machine or Rube Goldberg — 09:32 Where do Terra’s yields come from? — 11:21 How the Terra/Luna arbitrage mechanism works — 13:11 Why did Terra have Bitcoin reserves? — 18:46 How did Terra collapse? What was the trigger? — 25:17 The role of the 3Pool/4Pool migration — 29:22 Galois Capital’s short position in Terra — 35:33 On reflexivity and Terra/Luna as the ultimate momentum asset — 40:50 On financial contagion in crypto — 44:03 What happens to other stablecoins after Terra? — 45:24 Why did big investors get involved with Terra? — 48:51 Terra and hyperinlation of Luna — 53:53

May 19th
Reply

steve

“Didn’t say anything bad”…. Gets beeped twice

Feb 18th
Reply

steve

Amplitude dropping 60% one day 🤣

Feb 18th
Reply

steve

16:30

Jan 11th
Reply

Keletsi Lehlokoe

Great episode guys. Loved it.

Jan 3rd
Reply (1)

Gene

@4/1lms /m,e9㎝@$ @gmail.com/ @n.,

Oct 20th
Reply

Gene

+7_4747 17.4

Oct 20th
Reply

vikx01

Almost 10% of what he says is just 'like'.

Jul 22nd
Reply

Alex King

well worth listening to for current issies in supply chain logistics

Jun 14th
Reply

Gihan Wickramaratne

do

Apr 29th
Reply

Craig

who's typing while the guest is speaking? joe? tracey?

Apr 4th
Reply

Newman Isacat

unless you're gonna comment on your own boss and "inequity", bloomberg, this is trash

Mar 5th
Reply

Martin Baba

Overall good episode, but mentioning Singapore for large semiconductor foundry (what's in Singapore?) and not mentioning Samsung?

Jan 25th
Reply

Todd Reynolds

Qualcomm had this in laptop products with MSFT (#windowsRT) in stores before Apple even announced they were working on the M1. There are also Chromebooks, etc. The migration away from INT started a while ago. Servers are also moving to ARM. This guy should have done some more homework before the interview.

Jan 3rd
Reply

larry g

Great listen. Viktor has some excellent insights. However- Re shift in values from freedom and personal liberties at all costs (baby boomers) to equality with costs (recent generations); is it not common for most 20 somethings over the last 200 years to be idealistic and prioritize equality/fairness which soon shifts with age into earnings/savings growth, tax minimization, and overall personal gain?

Oct 7th
Reply

ncooty

@21:06: What a bunch of crap. I had to stop listening shortly after hearing "alpha creation," measurement "via our modelling," and "now-casting." Gag. Another non-value-adding mountebank in the financial industry trying to hide his ignorance of methods, validity, etc. via vague, useless, or absurd neologisms and euphemisms. If he says enough words, idiots will think he's earned his portfolio management fee (nonsensically calculated as a % of assets, of course).

Sep 20th
Reply
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