329 episodes

Will Covid-19 reshape the global economy or simply shrink it? What are nations doing to protect jobs and businesses from the fallout, and what will the long-term consequences be for labor markets, global supply chains and government finances? On Stephanomics, a podcast hosted by Bloomberg Economics head Stephanie Flanders—the former BBC economics editor and chief market strategist for Europe at JPMorgan Asset Management—we combine reports from Bloomberg journalists around the world and conversations with internationally respected experts on these and other issues to bring the global economy to life.

Stephanomics Bloomberg Finance Talk

    • Business
    • 4.6 • 52 Ratings

Will Covid-19 reshape the global economy or simply shrink it? What are nations doing to protect jobs and businesses from the fallout, and what will the long-term consequences be for labor markets, global supply chains and government finances? On Stephanomics, a podcast hosted by Bloomberg Economics head Stephanie Flanders—the former BBC economics editor and chief market strategist for Europe at JPMorgan Asset Management—we combine reports from Bloomberg journalists around the world and conversations with internationally respected experts on these and other issues to bring the global economy to life.

    The Housing Slowdown Could Become a Global Meltdown

    The Housing Slowdown Could Become a Global Meltdown

    Young people unable to buy homes because of stratospheric price increases are cheering the downturn in some housing markets around the world. But they'd better be careful what they wish for: Frothy housing prices, empty office buildings and even a refusal to pay mortgages by many Chinese have the potential to turn a global economic slowdown into something much worse.

    In this season's final episode, we explore the confounding real estate market, where prices in many countries have reached unsustainable levels despite a global pandemic. First, reporter Maria Paula Mijares Torres relates the struggle many low- and middle-income Americans face following rent increases averaging 14% nationwide, with some places like Miami seeing a 41% spike. About 8.4 million people in the US are behind on rent payments, and with the end of many Covid-induced eviction moratoriums, advocates for the poor fear a surge of people will be made homeless.

    Bloomberg economist Niraj Shah crunches price-to-income and price-to-rent ratios to determine which housing markets are the frothiest. Topping his list are New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Australia and Canada, with the US coming in seventh. While the subprime-fueled financial crisis is still fresh in some people's minds, better mortgage quality and the growth of fixed-rate mortgages means "there is some hope that we are not going to see the worst of this," Shah says.

    Stephanie talks global real estate risks with John Authers, Bloomberg Opinion columnist and author of "The Fearful Rise of Markets." The commercial real estate market is "probably the single greatest cause for concern," Authers says, particularly in New York. For developers there, a sharp increase in the supply of commercial real estate in recent years, a steep drop in occupancy rates and rising borrowing costs have created a very tricky situation. Meantime, he sees China navigating its way around a domestic property crisis without triggering a global financial crisis, though not without risks.
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    • 37 min
    Covid's Supply Chain Chaos Is Just a Dress Rehearsal for What's Coming

    Covid's Supply Chain Chaos Is Just a Dress Rehearsal for What's Coming

    Despite all the highfalutin advances in automation and just-in-time inventory, Covid-19 has still managed to upend the world's supply chains. But all this pandemonium may be a dress rehearsal for future chaos, courtesy of challenges such as political unrest and the climate crisis, warns one author who's tracked the global flow of goods.

    In this episode, we take a deep dive into the problems plaguing the retailers, warehouse operators, truckers and shippers who labor to get widgets from factory floors to your doorstep. First, reporter Augusta Saraiva explores why everything from baby formula to Teslas can still be hard to find in the US, even though the epic West Coast container ship backlog has eased. In part, consumers are to blame since they've continued buying at levels far beyond what analysts had expected, given 9.1% inflation and fears of a potential recession.

    Meantime, importers are fighting over scarce capacity on trucks, ships and in warehouses, creating additional backlogs. One company was so spooked by delays last year that by April it already had 600 containers of artificial Christmas trees waiting at the Port of New York and New Jersey. In a follow-up discussion, Stephanie talks about how supply chains got so fragile with Christopher Mims, author of "Arriving Today," which traces advances allowing for same-day delivery. 

    Mims argues that efficient supply chains that were developed before Covid-19 struck weren't battle-tested for pandemics, wars and extreme weather. While unionized years ago, truckers today are largely non-unionized, and as a result earn about two-thirds less in real terms than truckers did 40 years ago. They are also burning out quickly from 14-hour days, Mims says. Alternately, a unionized longshoremen workforce has resisted automation, creating some of the world's least efficient ports. Eventually, supply chains will have to shorten, Mims says, with corporations bringing production in-house or nearshoring it to neighboring countries.
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    • 31 min
    Beijing Wants Young Chinese Workers to Love Capitalism Again

    Beijing Wants Young Chinese Workers to Love Capitalism Again

    Dispirited by pandemic lockdowns and a massive real estate crisis, today’s young Chinese workers are dreaming less about becoming super-rich entrepreneurs and more about the workaday lives of bureaucrats. Their new distaste for private-sector jobs has caught the attention of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, which is trying to change opinions and recruit for private-sector manufacturing jobs that are going begging.

    In this week’s episode of “Stephanomics,” reporter Tom Hancock discusses the unrest brewing among China’s youth. Many have newly minted degrees and a growing number have embraced anti-capitalist idealism, exacerbating a mismatch between the jobs that are available and the jobs they actually want. Meantime, younger workers see the country’s state-owned enterprises as more stable than privately-owned ones amid Covid-19 outbreaks and lockdowns, creating intense competition for public-sector jobs.

    The upshot is the jobless rate among China’s youth is likely to hit 20%, which has alarmed President Xi Jinping’s government. Host Stephanie Flanders talks to Bloomberg Chief Economist Tom Orlik about the outlook for the world’s biggest country. He says China likely has been overstating its growth for years, giving critics reason to question how big its economy actually is right now. But China’s leadership has proven it can develop that economy, and “it would be a big mistake for us to underestimate how big they will likely become in the next 10 or 20 years,” Orlik says.

    And, Flanders also talks worker wages with Rachel Reeves, who as the UK’s Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer is the chief economic voice of the opposition Labour Party. It’s a risky topic to address since Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey got lambasted last winter for suggesting workers forgo seeking pay raises because they might be inflationary. Reeves wouldn’t say what a reasonable increase for workers would be, given ongoing discussions over pay by UK authorities, but suggested the trick to giving everyone a raise is boosting the economy. 
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    • 29 min
    Why Italy’s Workforce Crisis Is Likely to Get Worse

    Why Italy’s Workforce Crisis Is Likely to Get Worse

    The global appeal of Italy’s fashion, food and sports cars long ago proved that the country’s businesses have few equals when it comes to marketing abroad. But selling Italians themselves on the merits of the nation’s economy has been a bigger challenge. Italy’s politicians, central bankers and academics contend the global capital of style can’t reach its full potential until it persuades more of its own citizens to seek employment.

    In this week’s episode of “Stephanomics,” reporter Alessandra Migliaccio explores why 2.6 million Italians who could be looking for work aren’t. Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco discusses how the country has one of the lowest labor force participation rates in Europe, and that demographic trends aren’t likely to make things better. The number of Italians between 15 and 64 is expected to fall by 5 million over the next 15 years, with many of those remaining living in the nation’s economically disadvantaged South.

    To be sure, other countries have seen workforce challenges throughout the pandemic. But Italy faces unique structural problems, Rosamaria Bitetti, an economist and lecturer at Luiss University in Rome, tells host Stephanie Flanders. First, Italians tend to spend more time in school and away from work, partly because the nation’s university system encourages students to linger, Bitetti said. Other challenges include a dearth of childcare providers and a growing elderly population that relies on younger generations for care.

    Finally, economist Nouriel Roubini (nicknamed Dr. Doom for his often ominous predictions) lives up to his billing as he warns that the US, UK, euro zone and other advanced economies have little hope of avoiding recession. During a talk at the recent Qatar Economic Forum, Roubini said the combination of Russia’s war on Ukraine, inflation, a Chinese Covid-zero policy that’s hurting supply chains and loose monetary and fiscal policies suggests “a situation similar to the 70s.”
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    • 30 min
    Abortion Ruling Is Part of a Global Reversal of Women’s Rights

    Abortion Ruling Is Part of a Global Reversal of Women’s Rights

    The US Supreme Court’s decision last week to overturn the federal right to an abortion will have profound effects on American women. And while prime ministers and presidents of the UK, France, Belgium and New Zealand criticized the ruling as a setback for women’s rights, it’s actually part of what observers call a global retrenchment when it comes to gender equality.

    In this week’s episode we explore the economic and societal fallout of the end of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling holding that there is a Constitutional right to abortion, and how it fits with that worldwide trend. First, reporter Katia Dmitrieva shares the story of Jane, a Honduran immigrant living near Dallas who induced an abortion through pills she obtained from a friend through the mail, a practice prohibited in Texas even before last week’s decision. Jane (not her real name) answers phones for a construction company that doesn’t provide paid time off or health benefits. She has neither the time, nor money to care for a child. Reverend Daniel Kanter, senior minister at the First Unitarian Church of Dallas, has called efforts to restrict abortion “a war on the poor.”

    Next, host Stephanie talks with Ngaire Woods, dean of the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford, about how many countries are rolling back protections for women’s rights. Even developed nations with robust laws, including the US and UK, are seeing declining rates of prosecution for rapes, Woods says. Meantime, women politicians are often subjected to a level of personal attacks on social media rarely endured by their male colleagues.

    Finally, reporter Claire Jiao shares how some Southeast Asian nations (among others) are trying to make the remote working trend more permanent. While many travelers would love to log into work from the beaches of Bali, they or their companies have feared the potential tax consequences. Jiao finds that Thailand is creating a long-term visa for remote workers that frees them from any tax obligations.
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    • 28 min
    How Sri Lanka’s Financial Crisis Could Become the World’s

    How Sri Lanka’s Financial Crisis Could Become the World’s

    As the US, UK and other wealthy nations grouse about the prospect of stagflation and risk of recession, people in some emerging nations are facing more perilous questions about how to find medicine to stay alive. A financial crisis gripping Sri Lanka’s 23 million people threatens to spread across the developing world and sweep up hundreds of millions more.

    This week, we explore profoundly different economic climates. The first are emerging markets exemplified by Sri Lanka and burdened with pandemic-related debt, double-digit inflation and food shortages; the second is Qatar, an already rich petro-state that’s getting richer thanks to a global energy crisis. Reporter Sudhi Ranjan Sen surveys the chaos in Colombo, where protesters angry with 40% inflation and days-long waits for fuel and cooking gas are demanding the ouster of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. In the words of one Sri Lankan woman who was unable to find pharmaceuticals for her parents: “It’s really hard to see somebody die without medicine, because you have the money, you don’t have a place to buy the medicine.” 

    For the wider world, the risk is that Sri Lanka’s financial crisis spreads to other developing nations that also face high debt levels, rising interest rates and weakening currencies. Ziad Daoud, Bloomberg's chief emerging markets economist, counts five countries most at risk of following in Sri Lanka’s footsteps: Tunisia, El Salvador, Ghana, Ethiopia and Pakistan. Lenders to Sri Lanka stand to lose half of their investment, Daoud tells host Stephanie Flanders, but it’s unclear how the island nation will treat its debts to China. In the past, China has been unwilling to join multilateral agreements to write down debt. But what happens if other lenders forgive much of Sri Lanka’s debt, while the nation makes good on what it owes China?

    Finally, correspondent Simone Foxman relays the remarkable turn of events in Qatar, which this week hosted the Qatar Economic Forum. Until very recently, analysts questioned the wisdom of Qatar’s plan to boost its liquefied natural gas exports by 60%, at a cost of $30 billion. Where analysts figured Qatar was overestimating demand, Russia’s war on Ukraine has European nations lining up for Qatari energy. Meantime, the Persian Gulf nation is readying its stadiums ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Doha, set for November and December. By one estimate, the nation has pumped $350 billion into badly needed infrastructure and other improvements ahead of the games.

     
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    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
52 Ratings

52 Ratings

Warwick74 ,

Great podcast!!!

Great podcast. Very informative, thoughtful and well presented. Keep up the great work!

stpnet ,

Great Content Terrible adverts

Having followed Ms Flanders for many years I find her approach thoughtful, informative and educational. She has a huge telephone book to many of the best, brightest and most influential people in economics. But the constant barrage of Bloomberg crypto adverts just demeans the whole thing. Am finally giving up. There are other economics casts out there less in hoc to the crypto pinkie rubbish. Bloomberg should know better.

Female doctor ,

A great podcast

I loved Stephanie since she worked for the BBC years ago. Like a good wine she has got better and better over the years. You go girl.

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