THU AM News: Expert predicts federal officials will contain inflation in 2023; Talking Trade with Investment Strategist Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

— An expert with the investment management firm Neuberger Berman predicts federal officials will be largely successful in limiting inflation next year. 

Brad Tank, the New York firm’s chief investment officer and managing director, discussed this and other financial trends during a recent UW Now livestream hosted by UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Alumni Foundation. 

Tank, a UW-Madison alumnus, said he expects inflation to “hang around for a while,” remaining above 4 percent around the middle of 2023 and above 3 percent by the end of next year. 

“The Fed will be successful at containing inflation,” he said. “Inflation is headed lower. When do we get to 2 percent? It’s probably a 2024 event. Plenty can happen between now and then.” 

He explained inflation is likely to persist due to factors that coincided with COVID-19 but were somewhat “cloaked” by the pandemic. A big part of that equation, he said, is the demographic  shift affecting workforces for major world powers including the United States and China. 

“Probably the most important global demographic is the rapid aging of the Chinese workforce,” he said. “The factory for the world, the lowest cost manufacturer — no longer the case. And that economy is undergoing some pretty massive changes.” 

He noted no other country seems ready to step into that role of providing cheap labor at such a large scale. 

Tank said the green energy transition will continue to affect global prices, noting that change along with the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine will play a major role in the inflation picture. 

“Barring technological breakthroughs — and there will be some along the way, clearly — the cost of energy … in all likelihood will go up,” he said. “That is a big deal, because post-industrialization, late 1800s, one constant factor in the global economy is the cost of energy inputs has relentlessly gone down. That’s over.” 

He also touched on the “widely forecast” recession that’s expected to arrive next year, noting “it’s probably a good bet that we get it.” Still, he said next year’s expected slowdown probably won’t be as painful as earlier recessions. 

Watch the full webinar here: 

— In the latest episode of “Talking Trade,” former diplomat Andy Rothman of the firm Matthews Asia highlights the benefits of U.S. engagement with China and says an initially bumpy transition from strict COVID-19 protocols will improve next year.

Rothman urges continued engagement, including international investment and trade, as well as academic exchanges, partnering on innovations in science and medicine and more. 

“All of that engagement I think over the last several decades has been really, really positive for most Americans,” he said, citing positive Wisconsin trade numbers with China. “And I think it’s also been really positive for most Chinese people as well. On the business side, it’s really worked.” 

While he conceded China doesn’t follow all of the rules laid out by the World Trade Organization, he said “they follow enough of the rules” to facilitate growth in the U.S.-China trade relationship. 

He noted U.S. exports of goods to China have risen by 600 percent since China joined the WTO. That’s compared to a 100 percent increase in exports to other countries. 

“Our agricultural exports — important for Wisconsin — are up 1,600 percent to China,” he said. “It’s now our largest market in the world for agricultural goods.” 

Rothman also weighs in on China relaxing its “zero-COVID” policy and possible implications for U.S. industries and the pandemic response. He notes the country has dropped restrictions that were seen as disruptive to daily life and normal economic activity. 

“In the end — certainly by the spring or early summer in the coming year — this is going to be good news for everybody, for Chinese people and for us as well,” he said. 

Chinese health officials announced yesterday the country would begin limiting its reporting of COVID-19 data as cases there are on the rise. 

Watch the latest episode here: 

“Talking Trade” is now available in audio form on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. Subscribe and find more episodes here: 

— The latest episode of “ The Show,” features Sandy Padala of Rex Academy, a winner in the 2022 Elevator Pitch Olympics at the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium. 

Rex Academy aims to fill a chronic national need — computer science education for students in grades K-12. 

The show also recaps and previews Wisconsin Technology Council events. And in the Tech Metrics section, Tech Council President Tom Still talks about his recent “Inside Wisconsin” columns, which can be found in the Tech Council newsroom.

Watch the show here: 

— Home sales in the Milwaukee area were down 30 percent over the year in November, but the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors says the situation isn’t “nearly as bad as it looks.” 

The group’s latest report shows metro area home sales fell from 1,933 in November 2021 to 1,348 last month. This decline can be explained in part by the market experiencing a “natural slowdown” following last year’s record-high sales numbers driven in part by the pandemic. The group notes 2021 figures will be “virtually impossible to repeat.” 

Plus, rising interest rates this past summer led to some home buyers reconsidering making a purchase, according to GMAR, pushing sales lower. 

“However, buyers today are among the highest quality credit risks ever, so rising rates have not wiped them out entirely,” the group wrote in its report. 

Meanwhile, average prices were 7.6 percent higher for the month due to “exceptionally tight inventory” in the region. The number of listings in November declined over the year, falling about 16 percent from 1,566 to 1,319.  

As with previous GMAR reports, the November release notes the market’s main problem is a lack of construction on single-family homes and condominiums coupled with “overproduction” of apartments. 

See the full report here: 

— The Natural Resources Board has unanimously approved a measure to restart the process of setting numerical standards for PFAS in groundwater.

The new groundwater standards would guide PFAS regulation across a variety of areas, such as solid and hazardous waste, spills and remediation sites, wastewater and water quality, fertilizer and pesticides.

The board at a February meeting agreed on standards for drinking and surface water, but deadlocked 3-3 on limits for groundwater as board member Terry Hilgenberg of Shawano, an appointee by former GOP Gov. Scott Walker, abstained from voting. Yesterday’s action will begin an estimated two- and a half-year process to develop the rule.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or “forever chemicals,” are a series of chemicals found in industrial and everyday products, including firefighting foam and non-stick cookware. They do not break down easily in the environment and are linked to several diseases and cancers in humans.

The Environmental Protection Agency issued health advisories in June for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) and GenX chemicals. The proposed rule would establish groundwater standards for those substances.

NRB Chair Greg Kazmierski of Pewaukee, a Walker appointee, cautioned against “overselling” establishing groundwater standards as a solution to the PFAS problem. He noted people can already test their wells for contamination.

“We can already do that, and people make their own decisions whether they’re going to continue to drink their water or not drink their water without a standard in place,” Kazmierski said. “So that’s why I’m concerned that we’re overselling this – that it’s going to really have a huge impact.”

See more at 

<br><b><i>Top headlines from the Health Care Report … </b></i> 

— The Medical College of Wisconsin’s Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin endowment is providing nearly $1.5 million in grants for biomedical research, community health projects and more. 

And two health care providers in the state have been granted the federal designation of “Look-Alike” Community Health Centers, according to the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association. 

<i>For more of the most relevant news on COVID-19, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin, links to top stories and more, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from and</i>

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# Audit calls for transparency on Evers’ COVID relief spending

# Waukesha’s Lake Michigan water project could be facing a costly delay

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– Johnson elected to ASA Board of Directors


– Hundreds of apartments added to planned $180M Harbor District redevelopment


– Home sales in Milwaukee area down 30% in November, from a year ago


– UW-La Crosse continues to improve its carbon footprint


– Wisconsin regulators move ahead with groundwater PFAS rules

– Natural resources board green lights effort to limit PFAS in Wisconsin groundwater


– Aurora Health Care’s new East Coast partner plans $893M hospital bed tower

– House of Hope in Green Bay opens new space for at-risk people up to age 24


– Milwaukee software company The Way Out raises $400,000 in seed funding


– New CEO says more changes coming at Appvion after joining with Nekoosa


– Sen. Agard appoints Brad Pfaff to WEDC board


– Affordable housing project near Oscar Mayer site unanimously approved

– Developers, nonprofits to share in $10.7 million in Housing Trust Fund grants 


– Market position, deteriorated credit metrics lead Moody’s to downgrade Kohl’s


– Host of 2024 Farm Tech Days to be announced in Chippewa County


– Where do Milwaukee execs want to fly nonstop as Southwest, other airlines consider new MKE routes?


– Excellerate focuses on renewable energy, modular construction products in Wisconsin


– Opinion: Sports betting companies are turning universities into casinos


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

Wisconsin Technology Council: ‘WisBiz: The Show’ features Rex Academy’s Sandy Padala; past and coming events; Tech Metrics

American Dairy Coalition: ADC webinar: Mitloehner brings clarity to cows, climate