If you're a famous musician, a tech company CEO, or a tiny startup with big dreams, chances are you or some of the people who work for you are spending time in Austin, Texas this week for the conference known as South By Southwest (SXSW). It's an event that draws thousands of people together ever year for an exchange of ideas, business cards, and plenty of deal-making.
Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson joins Morning Report host David Brancaccio from Austin with the latest.
SXSW Interactive is in full swing in Austin, Texas. With five days packed full of panels, parties, and of course, tacos, it's impossible to get to every can't-miss event. Fear not: Marketplace Tech has you covered.
Throughout the festival, our producers and reporters are speaking to some of the biggest names in tech.
Plus, China has issued a miserable little statistic about its economy. At a time when forecasters were expecting the country's exports to grow, they shrunk 18 percent last month. That has some economists worried about the growth of China's consumer economy. And yet, others are pointing out that the numbers were impacted by the Chinese New Year.
Exchanging currency in Venezuela is a nightmare. The official exchange rate is six bolivars to the U.S. dollar, but on the black market, the rate is around 80 to one dollar.
The bolivar is like a hot potato. Rice University professor Mark Jones says the average Venezuelan has no confidence in the currency and “tries to get rid of it as soon as possible, especially with inflation that approaching around fifty percent right now.”
The country introduces a new currency exchange system today that’s meant to bring the official rate closer to the black market exchange rate. That could be good for U.S. companies, which have been unable to convert and export profits made in Venezuela.
Wolfgang Koester is CEO of FiREapps, which helps corporations manage their foreign exchange. He says Venezuela’s new system will not in itself “help corporations yet. But if they continue down this path and free their currency up, that will be helpful for corporations.”