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Latest market-sensitive news and views - Sept. 11

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(Editor’s note: This daily digest of the latest news and perspective is a must read for those in business who need to keep abreast of the newest developments in the marketplace, yet do not have time to scour all the media outlets. In less than 10 minutes you will be caught up and in the know on the current events impacting the marketplace.—Jim Wyckoff)

WSJ: Shift in Fed Officials' Rate Stance as Inflation Concerns Ease

CCC in focus | UAW deadline Thursday | Yellen on U.S. economy | Sorghum outlook

Today’s Digital Newspaper


  • Shift in Fed officials' rate stance as inflation concerns ease

  • Consumer credit growth slows in July, prompting caution about credit card use

  • European Central Bank (ECB) interest rate decision scheduled for Thursday

  • Bank of Japan signals possible end to easy money stance, jolting markets

  • Yellen confident of soft landing for U.S. economy amid inflation slowdown

  • G20 seeks to counterbalance China's financial influence

  • European natural gas prices rise for third straight session as strikes continue

  • Potential UAW strike against automakers threatens billions in economy

  • Japan and China reduce holdings of U.S. Treasury securities to record lows

  • Commodities funds

  • Robust sorghum demand & exports expected to bolster prices 2023-24

  • Ag trade update


  • Erdogan: Isolating Russia won't succeed

  • Putin seeks enhanced relations with North Korea on 75th anniversary

  • Russia's annual inflation rate reached 5.2% in August 2023


  • China's consumer prices show modest increase in Aug., producer prices stable

  • China signals decoupling from U.S. as FDI and trade volumes

  • Hong Kong hosts Belt and Road Summit to strengthen regional ties


  • U.N. sounds alarm: World not on track to achieve climate goals

  • Calif. sets pace for EV adoption in the U.S.: From 2% to 22% in five years

  • Dakota Access Pipeline's fate remains uncertain


  • WSJ: Hostess Brands nearing $4 billion sale to J.M. Smucker


  • Newsom dismisses speculation of 2024 Democratic presidential bid

  • Ohio's congressional maps challenged; other states deal with redistricting battles


  • Senate in session today; House to return on Tuesday after 47-day break


  • Remembering 9/11

  • Today’s calendar of events


Equities today: Asian and European stock markets were mixed overnight. U.S. stock indexes are pointed to higher openings. Sevens Report:Reuters, Bloomberg and the WSJ have published articles since Friday essentially saying the Fed is done with rate hikes and while that’s not new news, it’s helping futures rally this morning. Today there are no notable economic reports nor any Fed speakers, so focus will remain on Treasury yields and if yields are relatively stable, then stocks can rebound from last week’s losses.” In Asia, Japan -0.4%. Hong Kong -0.6%. China +0.8%. India +0.8%. In Europe, at midday, London +0.3%. Paris +0.6%. Frankfurt +0.6%.

U.S. equities Friday: All three major indices managed modest gains on Friday but still were down for the week, with the Dow 0.8% lower, the Nasdaq lost 1.9% while the S&P 500 was down 1.3%. On Friday, the Dow gained 75.86 points, 0.22%, at 34,576.59. The Nasdaq was up 12.39 points, 0.09%, at 13,761.53. The S&P 500 rose 6.35 points, 0.14%, at 4,457.49.

Oil prices were higher Friday with Brent rallying to nine-month highs as rising diesel futures lifted prices and increased worries about tight supplies. Both contracts closed higher about 2% week over week. Both crude benchmarks remained in technically overbought territory for a sixth straight day, with Brent's settlement its highest since Nov. 16. WTI's settlement was its highest since Sept. 6, which was its highest since November. WTI traded up $.64 or .7% to close at $87.51. Brent traded up $.73 or .8% to close at $90.65.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler faces Senate Banking Committee for oversight hearing amid crypto and climate challenges. Gary Gensler, the Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is scheduled to testify before the Senate Banking Committee in an oversight hearing on Tuesday. This hearing follows a series of legal setbacks for the agency as it endeavors to classify cryptocurrency trading by firms as unregulated securities and opposes the approval of Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Additionally, the SEC is actively working on finalizing a highly anticipated climate-related rule and is in the process of implementing a comprehensive market surveillance system, for which it is requiring the industry to bear the cost.

Quotes of note:

  • “Global trade will be less global” in the future, with exchanges occurring more within regional blocs, said Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank. It will also shift away from goods and toward services, he added, providing a boost to economies like the U.S. and India that specialize in IT and other services at the expense of manufacturing powerhouses like Germany and China.

  • World economic growth is likely to decline from 2.4% this year to just 2% next year, the lowest calendar-year growth rate since the global financial crisis, excluding 2020, according to Oxford Economics.

  • China: “We’re not seeing those meaningful stimulus measures that we’ve seen in prior downturns,” said Katrina Ell, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics, which recently lowered its forecast for economic growth in China this year to 4.9% from 5.1% previously, partly in response to what it regards as the government’s hesitancy on stimulus. Beijing is wary of large deficit-financed spending programs, while interest-rate cuts so far haven’t moved consumers and businesses out of their reluctance to borrow and spend.

WSJ: Shift in Fed officials' rate stance as inflation concerns ease. A notable shift is evident in the stance of Federal Reserve officials regarding interest rates, the Wall Street Journal reports. For over a year, there was a unanimous commitment to raising rates to combat inflation. However, a change is underway, with some officials now seeing risks as more balanced, according to the article.

This shift is driven by several factors, including easing inflation and a less overheated labor market. The rapid rate increases implemented over the past 1.5 years are also expected to impact demand in the coming months.

While the Fed is widely expected to hold interest rates steady at its meeting Sept. 19-20, the bigger debate centers on whether they will raise rates again in November or December. In the past year, the focus was on slowing economic evidence to justify pausing rate increases. As inflation cools, the burden has shifted toward evidence of an accelerating economy to justify higher rates.

Some officials remain concerned about inflation and advocate for an insurance policy of raising rates again this fall. Others support pausing rate increases and shifting the focus to how long rates can stay at current levels.

The article highlights that the difference between one more rate increase and none might not be substantial in the grand scheme of things, emphasizing that the situation now involves fine-tuning monetary policy. However, there are concerns that policy accidents could occur if there is a fixation on backward-looking data, while forward-looking indicators suggest a need for caution regarding the degree of restraint delivered by high real interest rates.

—Consumer credit growth slows in July, prompting caution about credit card use. Consumer credit experienced a modest increase of $10.4 billion in July, signaling a slowdown from the June upswing of $14 billion, which was subsequently revised downward from initial estimates. This rise in July fell below expectations, with revolving credit, including credit card spending, seeing a mere $1 billion increase, marking a 9.2% growth rate. This comes after a June decline, the first since April 2021. Non-revolving credit, encompassing items like auto and student loans, exhibited a modest 0.3% increase in July, following a more substantial 4.8% surge in June. The deceleration in revolving credit growth might suggest that consumers are becoming more cautious about using credit cards, potentially leading to restrained spending. But other data has yet to confirm this trend.

—The European Central Bank (ECB) interest rate decision scheduled for Thursday is a key economic event in Europe this week. The decision is on a "knife-edge" due to a delicate balancing act between various economic factors. The Eurozone's inflation rate is currently at 5.3%, significantly surpassing the ECB's target of 2%. Inflation levels this high make it challenging for central bankers to justify halting rate hikes, particularly with rising oil prices and rapid wage increases contributing to inflationary pressures. However, recent economic data has indicated the possibility of a sharp economic downturn. This factor introduces uncertainty into the decision-making process and could influence the ECB to consider a pause in rate hikes this time around. In essence, the ECB faces a complex decision where it must weigh the need to control inflation against the risk of harming economic growth. The outcome of this decision will have significant implications for monetary policy in the Eurozone and the broader European economy.

—Bank of Japan signals possible end to easy money stance, jolting markets. Japan surprised global markets by indicating a potential early exit from its long-standing accommodative monetary policy just as other G7 central banks contemplate tightening their policies. Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda suggested in a recent interview with Reuters that the central bank might consider ending its negative interest rate policy and bond-buying yield cap strategy once it believes it is close to achieving its 2% inflation target. Ueda stated, "If we judge that Japan can achieve its inflation target even after ending negative rates, we'll do so."

This unexpected announcement sent shockwaves through financial markets, causing the yield on 10-year Japanese government bonds to surge by more than 5 basis points to its highest level in nine years, surpassing 0.7%. The yen also strengthened by 1% against the dollar, impacting the broader foreign exchange markets.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange's banking index, however, experienced a significant 4.69% daily gain, reflecting optimism about the potential for higher net interest margins. In contrast, other stocks and the Nikkei index closed down 0.4%.

The global bond market also saw impacts, as 10-year U.S. Treasury yields increased by 5 basis points to 4.30%.

—Yellen expresses confidence in a soft landing for U.S. economy amid inflation slowdown. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen expressed growing confidence that the U>S. can successfully control inflation without causing significant harm to the job market. She cited data showing a steady deceleration in inflation rates and an increase in job seekers as evidence of this positive trajectory. Yellen stated, "I am feeling very good about that prediction," and indicated that the country is on a path that aligns with her expectations.

During an interview while returning from the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in New Delhi, Yellen also downplayed concerns about China's efforts to increase the influence of the separate BRICS grouping of major emerging nations, emphasizing that the G-0 remains the premier forum for global cooperation.

Yellen's remarks come against the backdrop of encouraging economic data in the U.S., with headline inflation slowing toward 3% (though still above the Federal Reserve's 2% target) without signs of declining payrolls or GDP. The jobless rate reached 3.8% in the previous month, partly due to an increase in the labor force participation rate, a positive development.

Yellen believes that some easing in the labor market, driven by more people actively seeking employment, is a positive development. These trends align with Yellen's consistent view over the past year that the U.S. can achieve the Fed's 2% inflation target without a significant increase in joblessness.

While China faces challenges with disappointing economic data and currency depreciation, Yellen believes that Chinese policymakers still have the capacity to take measures to support their economy if necessary.

—G20 seeks to counterbalance China's financial influence with multilateral bank expansion. In a concerted effort, the Group of 20 (G20) nations agreed to enhance the lending capacity of multilateral development banks (MDBs), with a particular focus on the World Bank. This initiative aims to counter China's increasing financial sway over developing economies, many of which are grappling with debt-related challenges.

The G20's joint communique emphasized the need for "better, bigger and more effective" MDBs, calling for improvements in operating models, accessibility, and a substantial increase in financing capacity to maximize development impact.

This move takes place as major global players such as the U.S., the European Union, and India are working to reduce China's influence in developing nations. China's financial dominance has grown significantly through extensive loans, making it the world's largest "official creditor."

While the G20's resolution aims to reform multilateral banks and offer better terms to debt-laden countries, it acknowledges the importance of China's cooperation in the process. China's insistence on multilateral lenders accepting losses on loans has created tensions with debtor nations. The reluctance of multilateral banks to absorb losses is driven by their desire to maintain high credit ratings. These banks could triple their lending capacity without a significant impact on funding costs if they opted for a lower credit rating, analysts note.

Beyond the China factor, calls for reforming multilateral banks have intensified due to the growing need for funding in emerging economies to address poverty and climate goals. A G20 panel recommended changes in culture and a more client-responsive approach, emphasizing the importance of MDBs in integrating development and climate agendas.

A panel estimated the need for $1.8 trillion for climate action and $1.2 trillion annually until 2030 to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, with MDBs playing a crucial role in providing additional official financing and mobilizing private finance.

Market perspectives:

—Outside markets: The yen rose against the dollar after Ueda Kazuo, the Bank of Japan’s governor, suggested he may reconsider the central bank’s ultra-loose monetary policy at the end of the year. Nymex crude oil prices are weaker and trading around $87.00 a barrel. The benchmark U.S. Treasury 10-year note yield is 4.294%.

—European natural gas prices rose for a third straight session as strikes continue at export sites in Australia. Chevron Corp. has applied to a labor regulator to help resolve its dispute with unions at the Gorgon and Wheatstone liquefied natural gas facilities.

—Potential UAW strike against automakers threatens billions in economic consequences. A prolonged strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union targeting major automakers like General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis has the potential to trigger substantial economic damage and high inflation. This Thursday is the deadline for talks. Even a relatively brief strike lasting just 10 days could result in a staggering $5.6 billion reduction in the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Patrick Anderson, the CEO of Anderson Economic, a firm with GM and Ford among its clients, has voiced concerns about the repercussions of a lengthy strike in 2023. He warned that such an event could push the state of Michigan and parts of the Midwest into a recession, emphasizing the significant economic impact and potential consequences for the region.

Of note: The auto industry accounts for about 3% of US GDP but plays a much bigger role in the Great Lakes economies, and Democrats will rely on winning Michigan and Wisconsin to retain the White House. President Biden has tapped Gene Sperling, former economic adviser to Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and a Michigan native, to act as a liaison between the automakers and the union.

—Japan and China reduce holdings of U.S. Treasury securities to record lows amid currency concerns. Japan and China, historically significant holders of U.S. Treasury securities, have seen their holdings drop to the lowest levels on record. Together, they accounted for $1.94 trillion in Treasury securities as of June, which represents a decline in their share of U.S. debt holdings compared to previous years. Japan holds $1.1 trillion, equivalent to 4.4% of the total, while China's holdings of $835 billion make up 3.4%.

This reduction in holdings comes at a time when the U.S. is issuing more debt than ever, with the Treasury Department increasing its net borrowing forecast. Japan and China are focusing on stabilizing their currencies, which have been struggling against a strong U.S. dollar. The yuan has weakened significantly, reaching its lowest point against the dollar since 2007, and the yen is also experiencing a slump.

Both countries are exploring ways to support their currencies, which may include further selling of U.S. Treasurys. However, China's actions may not fully reflect its true intentions, as it has shifted some of its holdings to agency-backed securities, which are less transparent but offer higher yields. Overall, while their Treasury holdings have decreased, the total American debt held by both Japan and China has increased by approximately $1 billion.

—Commodities funds: “Concerns about the demand outlook have weighed on commodities all year,” Roland Morris, a commodity strategist and portfolio manager at VanEck, told Barron’s. While performance has been lackluster, the asset class has held up fairly well, he adds.


— Erdogan: Isolating Russia won't succeed; focuses on Black Sea Grain revival for Africa. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emphasized that efforts to isolate Russia in global forums will not yield success, particularly in resolving the issues arising from Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Speaking at the conclusion of the Group of 20 summit, Erdogan stated that any initiative to isolate Russia is destined to fail, as world leaders reached an agreement that excluded previous condemnations of Moscow.

The G20 leaders jointly called for the "immediate and unimpeded deliveries of grain, foodstuffs, and fertilizers or inputs" from both Russia and Ukraine to meet the demand in developing and least developed countries, particularly in Africa.

Russia disrupted shipments in July when it withdrew from the Black Sea grain deal, which had been brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in the prior year. The deal aimed to address a global food crisis and curb inflation by enabling Ukraine to export grain and fertilizer from three Black Sea ports.

Russia's withdrawal from the agreement was prompted by its frustration over Western sanctions that obstruct its agricultural exports. Russia argued that limitations on its primary agricultural banking system and exclusion of its financial institutions from the SWIFT payment network impeded its participation in global trade, even though there were no direct sanctions on food and fertilizer.

Erdogan revealed that Russia, Ukraine, and the United Nations are actively engaged in discussions to resolve this deadlock, with Turkey committed to employing "firm diplomacy" to find a solution. He also expressed hope for the revival of the Black Sea arrangement, emphasizing its importance in fighting poverty in African nations.

Russia's decision to exit the deal was partially based on concerns that less affluent countries were not receiving an adequate share of grain from Ukraine. According to the United Nations, the Black Sea Grain Initiative facilitated the export of 32.9 million metric tons of food grains, with 57% going to developing nations. China, Spain, Turkey, and Italy were among the top recipients of these shipments.

Additionally, the United Nations reported that 725,000 tonnes of Ukrainian exports were directed to the World Food Program for humanitarian shipments to various countries, including Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, and Afghanistan.

—Putin seeks enhanced relations with North Korea on 75th anniversary amid arms deal speculation. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his desire for a strengthened relationship with North Korea on all fronts as North Korea marks its 75th anniversary. This move comes as Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have forged closer ties following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Recent reports suggest that Kim may be planning a visit to Russia to finalize an arms deal, which would involve North Korea supplying ammunition to Russian troops.

—Russia's annual inflation rate reached 5.2% in August 2023, marking its highest level in six months and surpassing market expectations, which had predicted a 5.1% increase. This rise in inflation comes after July's rate of 4.3%. The country's central bank has signaled potential interest rate hikes later this year as part of its efforts to bring inflation back to its 4% target by 2024. It anticipates that inflation will likely range between 4.5% and 6.5% by the end of 2023.

The inflationary pressures were driven by accelerated price increases in both food (3.6%, up from 2.2% in July) and non-food products (3.6%, up from 2.3%). However, the inflation rate for services slowed slightly, declining from 10% to 9.5%. Core consumer prices also accelerated, rising to 3.95% from 3.2%.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices increased by 0.28%, following a 0.6% rise in the previous month. These inflationary trends suggest ongoing challenges for Russia's economic stability and monetary policy management.


— China's consumer prices show modest increase in August, producer prices remain stable. In August 2023, China's consumer prices experienced a slight year-on-year rise of 0.1%, which fell short of market expectations of a 0.2% increase. This marginal increase follows the first drop in consumer prices in over two years, with a 0.3% decline observed in July. The uptick in consumer prices was primarily driven by non-food prices, which saw growth, while the cost of food continued to decrease.

Meanwhile, producer prices in China contracted at a slower pace in August, marking the smallest decline in five months. This stabilization is attributed to support measures implemented by Beijing to bolster the country's weakening economy.

—China signals decoupling from U.S. as FDI and trade volumes decline. China is displaying signs of a gradual decoupling from the United States, as both foreign direct investment (FDI) and trade between the two nations decrease. Chinese FDI in the U.S. hit a low of $2.49 billion in the previous year, less than half of the 2021 amount and the smallest since 2009, according to research from the Rhodium Group. Furthermore, official data reveals a decline in Chinese imports from the U.S. since 2018, when the US intensified its trade tensions with China.

Several factors contribute to this trend, including U.S. efforts to restrict Chinese investment, particularly in advanced technology sectors, and limitations on Chinese involvement in U.S. electric vehicle production. China's Covid Zero policy, which impeded overseas travel for Chinese executives, also hindered offshore expansion.

Assets held by Chinese companies in the U.S. have stagnated, reaching $282 billion as of 2021, like 2017 levels. Employment by Chinese firms in the U.S. dropped by over 60% from 2017 levels to just 140,000 in 2021.

The peak of Chinese investment in the U.S. occurred in 2016, but Beijing subsequently imposed restrictions on high-profile asset purchases, fearing financial risks and disguised capital flight. Tariffs imposed during the U.S./China trade war of 2018 have also affected the trade landscape, reducing China's purchases from the U.S. and U.S. imports from China.

Of note: While some economists argue that bilateral data may not fully demonstrate decoupling, suggesting companies can reroute trade and investment through third-country subsidiaries in Mexico, Vietnam and South Korea, the decline in direct investment and trade volumes indicates a shift in U.S./China economic relations.

—Hong Kong hosts Belt and Road Summit to strengthen regional ties amid Western challenges. Hong Kong on Wednesday will host a Belt and Road Summit, with trade ministers and foreign diplomats expected to attend. The summit coincides with the ten-year anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, and it will feature a special Middle East forum. Key representatives from the Middle East, including the UAE's economy minister and Egypt's international cooperation minister, will be in attendance. China aims to bolster its ties with the Middle East and Southeast Asia as its relations with Western countries face challenges, including Italy recently withdrawing from the Belt and Road Initiative.

Background. Chinese leader Xi Jinping first outlined his vision for a Silk Road Economic Belt connecting China and Europe in September 2013 on a trip to Kazakhstan. The following month, he called for a 21st-century Maritime Silk Road along the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, laying the foundation for Belt and Road. More than 150 countries have since signed memorandums of understanding with China, including for cooperation on investments. China is hosting the third Belt and Road Forum in Beijing this October.

China's trade with Belt and Road participants grew 76% from 2013 to 2022, outpacing the 51% increase in China's overall trade, according to its customs agency. Tough Chinese conditions on Belt and Road-related financing have also led to problems. Covid-19 was a key trigger for China to reevaluate its approach. The pandemic dealt a blow to emerging economies, leading to a surge in debt renegotiations and write-offs. A total of $76.8 billion in loans involving Chinese lenders have essentially gone bad between 2020 and 2022, according to U.S.-based Rhodium Group — 4.5 times as much as between 2017 and 2019.


—U.N. sounds alarm: World not on track to achieve climate goals set in Paris agreement. The United Nations has issued a stark warning in its first assessment since the 2015 Paris Agreement, stating that the world is not on course to meet its climate objectives. The Paris Agreement aimed to limit global warming to 1.5°C, but the U.N.'s assessment reveals that achieving this goal would necessitate an extra 20 gigatonnes of carbon emissions reductions within this decade. World leaders are set to convene at COP28 in November to evaluate their progress in addressing this urgent climate crisis.

—California sets the pace for electric vehicle adoption in the U.S.: From 2% to 22% in five years. Over the last five years, the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in California has surged from 2% to 22% of new car sales. This acceleration in EV adoption began in earnest when EVs reached a 5% share of new car sales, a tipping point where mainstream car buyers start to favor electric vehicles. California became one of the first major car markets to reach this threshold in 2018, and this trend has since spread to 23 other countries.

—Dakota Access Pipeline's fate remains uncertain as new environmental study withholds recommendation. The Biden administration has left the future of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, operated by Energy Transfer LP, hanging in the balance by releasing a new draft of an environmental study that refrains from making a definitive recommendation regarding its operation. The study, conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, explored various options, including granting Energy Transfer's request to increase the oil flow under the existing easement, imposing new operational requirements, or potentially abandoning or rerouting the pipeline. The agency has stated that a final recommendation will be made after considering public comments.

Background. The 1,200-mile pipeline carries approximately 200 million barrels of crude oil annually from North Dakota's Bakken oil fields to the Patoka oil terminal in Illinois. Its future has been plagued by uncertainty, beginning with a federal judge's order in 2021 to conduct an environmental analysis of the pipeline's route under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, and a subsequent rejection of an Energy Transfer appeal by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022. The pipeline, initially approved during the early days of the Trump administration, has faced vehement opposition from climate activists, celebrities, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who argued that it posed a threat to their water supply and cultural heritage.

The Army Corps' study concluded that the release of crude oil is "remote to very unlikely" if the pipeline continues with its existing easement. The agency also indicated that sufficient safeguards are in place to prevent, respond to, mitigate, and remediate potential oil releases into the project area.


WSJ: Hostess Brands nearing $4 billion sale to J.M. Smucker, signaling a snack industry merger. Hostess Brands, the owner of iconic treats like Twinkies, is approaching a significant deal to be acquired by J.M. Smucker, a move that could bring together two major players in the snack industry, the Wall Street Journal reports (link). The potential agreement, valued at approximately $4 billion, is on the verge of announcement, expected as early as Monday, pending any unforeseen obstacles, according to sources familiar with the matter. In a competitive bid, J.M. Smucker outshone General Mills, the parent company of well-known brands such as Cheerios and Betty Crocker, to secure the deal.

This potential sale marks a remarkable turnaround for Hostess Brands, which has endured two Chapter 11 bankruptcies. A decade ago, the company was rescued from liquidation by two investment firms, successfully relaunching Twinkies after an eight-month absence from store shelves. Hostess returned to the public markets in November 2016 under the ticker symbol TWNK and currently boasts a market value of around $3.7 billion, partly fueled by recent reports indicating its exploration of a sale.

Headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas, Hostess Brands was established in 1930 and is the force behind various popular brands like Ho-Hos and Ding Dongs, in addition to Twinkies.


California Governor Gavin Newsom dismisses speculation of 2024 Democratic presidential bid. Newsom has put an end to rumors surrounding a last-minute challenge to President Biden for the 2024 Democratic nomination. In an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, Newsom stated emphatically, "We need to move past this notion that he's not going to run." He emphasized that his campaign is gearing up and eagerly looking forward to the upcoming election season, dispelling any doubts about his intentions.

—Ohio's congressional maps challenged, but other states grapple with redistricting battles. Ohio's 2022 congressional maps are safe from changes after the state Supreme Court dismissed a challenge. However, numerous other states are still embroiled in redistricting disputes ahead of the 2024 elections. Here's a brief update on recent developments based on a Bloomberg assessment:

  • Alabama: Court-appointed special master Richard F. Allen is pushing for proposed maps to be submitted promptly, giving parties until Monday and others until Wednesday. Allen is tasked with redrawing Alabama's lines after a federal court blocked the Republican legislature's map due to its exclusion of two districts where Black voters could choose their preferred candidates. Republicans have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Florida: Secretary of State Cord Byrd (R) has appealed a judge's decision invalidating the 2022 election map, which dismantled a Black-plurality district.

  • Georgia: A trial over GOP-drawn congressional and state legislative districts is halfway through, with plaintiffs arguing for an additional Black-majority district in metropolitan Atlanta due to robust Black population growth.

  • Kentucky: The state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Sept. 19 in a partisan gerrymandering case. Republicans seek to uphold a ruling that permits partisan gerrymandering, while Democrats contest it.

  • Louisiana, New Mexico, New York: Mark your calendars for Oct. 6 when oral arguments are scheduled at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The case seeks to maintain an injunction against a Republican-drawn map in Louisiana. In New Mexico, a trial court will hear a case from Republicans on Sept. 27-29, alleging that the state's congressional map favors Democrats. The New York Court of Appeals will hold arguments on Nov. 15 in the state's redistricting case.

  • Wisconsin: Despite a disciplinary panel rejecting complaints against Justice Janet Protasiewicz, some Republicans consider impeaching her to prevent her from hearing the state's redistricting case.

  • New Jersey: A State Commission of Investigation report criticized New Jersey's bipartisan congressional redistricting commission, calling for clearer legal authority, codified criteria, data compilation by a public institution, and online posting of maps before final votes. The report found no evidence of improper data manipulation during the 2021 redistricting process.


Senate is in session today, and the House is set to return on Tuesday after a 47-day break. However, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is facing a multitude of challenges as he returns to Congress, particularly the possibility of a gov’t shutdown. To avert a gov’t funding halt, McCarthy is pushing for the passage of a stopgap funding bill, aiming to keep the government operational beyond the Sept. 30 deadline, possibly until November or a little later. This strategy is designed to prevent a shutdown while providing House Republicans with more time to pass appropriations bills.

The House will debate the $886 billion defense spending bill this week, and if they manage to pass a Homeland Security spending bill in the following week, it would establish a clear House GOP stance on border security funding, which can then be used as leverage in negotiations with the Senate.

In a closed-door House Republican meeting on Wednesday, McCarthy is expected to stress that he is willing to engage in a showdown with the Senate over fiscal year 2024 funding. However, he stresses the importance of passing bills to strengthen his position, which necessitates more time in the House.

—On tap in the House this week: a bill to prevent bans on gas-powered cars. The Environmental Protection Agency would be prohibited from granting waivers for vehicles emissions laws to states that directly or indirectly limit the sale or use of new gas-powered cars under a House bill, HR 1435. The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the measure by a 26-22 vote on July 27. Of note: Even if it clears the House, it will not be approved in the Senate.

Republicans are making a strategic move just ahead of a potential strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW) if a deal isn't reached with major automakers like General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis by Thursday. The Biden administration, on the other hand, is actively involved in negotiations and seeks the UAW's endorsement for the 2024 elections. However, the issue of how the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) impacts labor could pose a challenge for President Biden. UAW President Shawn Fain has strongly emphasized the concerns of auto workers regarding the EV transition, stating that it is causing distress among workers. Fain has cautioned Washington, D.C. that the current experience of workers with the EV transition is unfavorable. Any message suggesting that jobs may disappear due to this transition is likely to strike a chord with the UAW and its members, making it a sensitive and critical issue for the Biden administration.


— Remembering 9/11: 22 years later, unidentified victims and ongoing grief highlight the tragedy's legacy. On this day, 22 years ago, the world witnessed a horrific terrorist attack as four planes were hijacked, resulting in crashes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. In just a matter of hours, nearly 3,000 lives were tragically lost. Today, many will pause to honor the victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks and reflect on the enduring emotional impact this tragedy had on the nation. Following the attacks on the World Trade Center, a total of 2,753 individuals were reported missing in lower Manhattan. Shockingly, even after more than two decades, approximately 40% of these victims, roughly 1,100 people, remain unidentified. Recent efforts by New York City officials led to the identification of two new victims through DNA testing, underlining the ongoing work to provide closure to the families and loved ones who continue to grieve.


—Events of note today include:

Monday, Sept. 11

President Joe Bidenwill begin the day in Hanoi, Vietnam, meeting with several Vietnamese officials.

9/11 events.President Joe Biden late afternoon will deliver remarks to service members, first responders, and their families on the anniversary of 9/11. The National Park Service hosts the Flight 93 National Memorial Ceremony. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum hosts the 22nd Anniversary Commemoration ceremony. The Pentagon will hold its annual September 11th Observance Ceremony with Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III; and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley participating.

• National Farmers Union fall legislative fly-in, through Wednesday.

Agriculture issues.National Association of State Departments of Agriculture annual meeting in Wyoming, including sessions on new frontiers in agriculture, African Swine Fever Project, state and regional trade meetings; runs through Wednesday.

Food security and nutrition.U.S. Agency For International Development holds a meeting of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD), including a discussion of "A Vision for USAID Research to Advance Food Security, Nutrition, Climate and Environment Goals" and a deliberation on the Draft Report Recommendations From the BIFAD Subcommittee on Systemic Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems.

Trade issues.National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America Government Affairs Conference, including remarks from Federal Maritime Commission Commissioner Carl Bentzel; Garrett Wright, director of the Trade Modernization Office in U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Trade; and Brandon Lord, executive director of trade policy and programs in the US Customs and Border Protection's Office of Trade. Runs through Tuesday.

Economic outlook.American Bar Association's Economic Advisory Committee virtual discussion with bank economists on "Economic Forecast."

Future of U.S./Korea relations.Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion on "U.S./Republic of Korea Bilateral Dialogue for the Next 70 Years of the U.S./ROK Alliance."

State of terrorism.Brookings Institution virtual discussion on "The State of Terrorism Around the World."

Climate issues.Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion on "2023's Summer of Climate Shocks."

Energy reports.International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors meeting; runs through Friday | Holiday: Venezuela.

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