The Inflation Guy Is Feeling Pumped
Bloomberg Businessweek|September 20, 2021
After a spike in consumer prices, Michael Ashton finds himself very busy
Elizabeth Stanton

Michael Ashton, who styles himself “Inflation Guy” on Twitter, has been preparing for this moment for almost 20 years. In the early 2000s, he was a derivatives trader at Barclays Capital in New York when he was tapped to build a business around inflation swaps, contracts that let traders bet on a rise in consumer prices. Ashton says he was a “good enough” trader—the real job was to build a market by being “an evangelist for the product.”

He became one even though, until recently, he expected inflation to be low and stable. Correctly so: In recent years, the U.S. consumer price index has often grown by less than 2% annually. Ashton says his measured outlook irritated his bosses at Barclays, who viewed it as an impediment to drumming up business. He thought it didn’t matter: Inflation was an ever-present risk, he was inventing ways to insure against it, and low inflation made it cheap to do so. Although the market grew, and Ashton in 2009 founded an advisory business for hedging large or unusual inflation risks, he remained a voice in the desert crying out that he had rain boots for sale. “The lack of interest was amazing,” he says. “It’s incredible how little people thought about it—what that risk was.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEKView All

De-radicalizing the Extremists

Parents for Peace enlists ex-believers to help families win back loved ones drawn to Islamism, QAnon, and other ideologies. Demand has never been higher

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
October 18 - 25, 2021

Europe's Energy Crisis Is Coming for The Rest of Us

Millions of people around the globe will feel the impact of soaring natural gas prices this winter

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
October 04, 2021

Big Sky's Moment of Glory

The most rugged resort in Montana gets speedy lifts, luxury hotels, and fine dining to match its extreme slopes

6 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
October 18 - 25, 2021

Black Hairstyles Need Protection

In most U.S. states, employers and schools are allowed to discriminate against box braids, locs, and other traditional styles. A coalition of activists and legislators has started to change that.

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
October 18 - 25, 2021

High Stakes On the Lake

Justin Bibb wants to be Cleveland’s next mayor. If he beats Kevin Kelley, he’ll inherit serious problems—and a windfall to fix them

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
October 18 - 25, 2021

Can twitter get us to be nice?

Social networks are all designed to make people angry and keep them coming back for more. Now, one of the worst offenders is trying to be less of a hellscape

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
October 18 - 25, 2021

Let's Make Covid Testing Part of Our Morning Routine

A Harvard immunologist champions low-cost, at-home rapid tests to beat the pandemic

6 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
October 18 - 25, 2021

Homeopath, heal thyself

Natalie Grams believed—really believed—in the healing power of homeopathy. Then a health crisis of her own forced the German physician to question her faith

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
October 18 - 25, 2021

Stuck on the Sidelines of The U.S. Job Market

Conversations with some of the 5 million out-of-work Americans shed light on why so many jobs are going begging

8 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
October 18 - 25, 2021

The Hunt for the Most Lucrative Patients

Privately run Medicare Advantage programs get paid more when members look sicker—even if they don’t receive more care

6 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
October 18 - 25, 2021
RELATED STORIES

Down to Their Last Dollar

Businesses fail every day, from world-beaters (like TWA and Lehman Brothers) to sexy high-fliers (DeLorean, Enron) to Steady Eddie, old-school icons (Toys “R” Us, Sears). Sometimes, of course, market conditions simply turn Sisyphean. But often, when that boulder starts to roll backward, a leader’s grit, imagination, resourcefulness, and ability to conjure a little luck can mean the difference between a brave new chapter and, well, Chapter 11. Here, four businesses that went from nearly bust to total gangbusters.

3 mins read
Inc.
October 2021

Farming Grows Up

A group of startups raises lettuce, tomatoes, and berries in high-rise plant factories. The founders aren’t farmers; they’re technologists who have shown that even the most grounded industry can be radically reinvented.

10+ mins read
Inc.
October 2021

Get Into the Minds of Central Bankers as They Navigate Shocks

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED how central bankers forecast the impact of shocks on the economy?

4 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
October - November 2021

SkyCourier Visits Oshkosh

Serial No. 1 makes its very big debut.

3 mins read
Flying
October 2021

FED LIKELY TO SIGNAL A COMING PULLBACK IN ECONOMIC SUPPORT

The Federal Reserve is expected this week to send its clearest signal yet that it will start reining in its ultra-low-interest rate policies later this year, a first step toward unwinding the extraordinary support it’s given the economy since the pandemic struck 18 months ago.

4 mins read
AppleMagazine
September 24, 2021

AMERICANS HAVE LITTLE TRUST IN ONLINE SECURITY

Most Americans don’t believe their personal information is secure online and aren’t satisfied with the federal government’s efforts to protect it, according to a poll.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #516

FTC ORDERS COMPANY TO QUIT SURVEILLANCE APP BUSINESS

The Federal Trade Commission has for the first time banned a company that makes so-called stalker were — software used to surreptitiously track a cellphone user’s activities and location — from continuing in the surveillance app business.

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #514

Ashton Robinson Cook - Meteorologist

Ashton Robinson Cook always knows when a tornado, hurricane, or winter storm is coming. It’s his job to know. As a meteorologist, he analyzes weather data to figure out where and when storms are likely to hit. Typical weather forecasting tools can look only up to a week ahead. But Cook has developed software called WeatherDeep that can make predictions up to two months in advance. Cook was the first African American man to earn a PhD in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma and also earned the 2017 American Association of State Climatologists (AASC) Dissertation Award for his research on tornadoes.

3 mins read
Muse Science Magazine for Kids
July/August 2021

Stay Above the Interest Rate Fray

INCOME INVESTING

3 mins read
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
October 2021

Everything is Infrastructure Now

How spending got out of control and words lost their meaning

10+ mins read
Reason magazine
October 2021