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Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek May 17, 2021

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Get the digital magazine subscription today and draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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United States
Bloomberg Finance LP
50 Issues

in this issue

14 min
india thought it had the virus beat. the virus had other ideas

The snaking queue outside Maasaheb Meenatai Thackeray Hospital terrified Mariselvan Thevar. More than 200 people were in line, sagging in the heat as they coughed and wheezed. Some had come hoping to find a dose of coronavirus vaccine, which remains a scarce commodity in India. Others were trying to get their hands on medication, a bed, oxygen—anything. A 21-year-old engineering student with a tall, lean frame and a patchy beard, Thevar thought he had little choice but to join the growing crowd outside the hospital, a small public facility in suburban Mumbai. His father, Kannan, had been ill for days. At 49, Kannan was far younger than the people who, for most of the pandemic, have experienced the worst outcomes from Covid-19. Yet Thevar grew increasingly anxious as they waited to…

4 min
is the future of the internet in this van?

The ideal way to connect people to the internet is to run a fiber-optic cable into their homes. When that’s impractical, there are various options to use wireless networks as a substitute. The entire global telecommunications industry is focused on building 5G networks, which promise speeds rivaling those of broadband. The world’s two richest men are backing competing efforts to beam down signals from tens of thousands of orbiting satellites, while Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. have mothballed their plans to build networks of internet-transmitting balloons and drones, respectively. Tarana Wireless, based in Milpitas, Calif., is working on another approach, with a novel way to direct wireless signals around obstacles. With sufficient computing power and the right algorithms, Tarana’s antennas can send multiple signals to each customer, rapidly hop among…

4 min
an odyssey all your own

On May 14, Greece became the first country in the European Union to open its doors for summer tourism. All you need to enter is a negative PCR test. Interest in visiting has been so intense that Prior, a travel membership club, rushed to open an office in Athens last month. “We have a lot of confidence in Greece,” says Chief Executive Officer David Prior, who suggests travelers trade the country’s tried-and-true options for some of its countless underrated gems to avoid a crush of tourists this year. Jack Ezon, founder and managing partner of luxury agency Embark Beyond, says his clients have been especially interested in sailing trips. The itineraries are glamorous and—suiting the moment—crowd-free. After the country’s reopening announcement in April, he booked $6 million in yacht charters in just…

6 min
decoding the price signals

We’ve been told for years that inflation has been too low. Now that it’s finally reached and surpassed the Federal Reserve’s 2% target, it looks as scary as the fast-growing carnivorous plant in Little Shop of Horrors. Iron, copper, lumber, cotton, computer chips, and gasoline are jumping in price. The dollar has weakened, making imports more costly. Employers are having to raise wages to fill record openings; the federal government is spending heavily; and consumers emerging from the pandemic are in the mood to light some money on fire. On May 12 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that consumer prices rose 0.8% in April from March, four times the median expectation and the most since 2009. Excluding food and energy the increase was 0.9%, the most since 1982. Stock indexes…

4 min
china’s next export: inflation

Bryant Chan’s factory in Heyuan, in China’s Guangdong province, turns out Nerf guns, LeapPad toy tablets, and other playthings for major U.S. brands, as well as electronics, such as a gadget that can capture data on golf swings. The president of Hong Kong-based Wynnewood Corp., Chan has seen prices for paint, screws, springs, solvent, metal, batteries, and packaging rise as much as 15% this year. Plastic resin has climbed up to 40%. “To put it very simply, everything has gone up in price,” he says. “This increase has been much steeper and across a broader range of categories than we have typically experienced.” To illustrate, Chan breaks down the contents of the company’s trail camera, a device used by hunters and wildlife photographers. The electronics, which make up 40% of its…

1 min

It’s another unexpected pandemic twist. Cooped-up city dwellers with access to cheap loans wanted bigger homes out of town. Others decided to stay put and renovate. After a sharp decline, housing starts soared. There’s no shortage of trees, at least in the southern U.S. Landowners planted loads of pine decades ago, and it’s now abundant and cheap. In Canada, a major supplier of U.S. wood, provincial governments adjust timber costs along with lumber prices, so they’re on the rise. Even at these prices, it’s hard for builders to shift to alternatives. Wood is by far the most common material for house framing. Since U.S. sawmills can’t cut it up fast enough to meet demand, wood buyers are increasingly looking overseas. First-quarter imports of European forest products rose from the previous year by 37% DATA:…