Posted in News

Is Dark Money ‘Anti-Hate’ Group CCDH Run By An Intelligence Operative?

Is Dark Money ‘Anti-Hate’ Group CCDH Run By An Intelligence Operative?

A UK dark money nonprofit with outsized influence over the digital advertising space and political sphere, which popped up seemingly out of nowhere, is run by a British operative who reportedly had dreams of being a spook in his younger years – only to surround himself with spook-adjacents in his quest to deplatform opinions that diverge from establishment orthodoxy.

Imran Ahmed

As Paul Thacker writes in Tablet, Former British Labour party operative Imran Ahmed heads up the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), which in March of 2021 released a report about online misinformation that quickly reached the pre-Musk Twitter regime, and was used to silence Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who the report named as one of “The Disinformation Dozen.” The report was then cited by by the Biden administration.

“There’s about 12 people who are producing 65% of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms,” claimed former White House spox-turned-MSM gaslighter Jen Psaki in July 2021.

After Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced he was running against Biden for the Democratic nomination and appeared on Joe Rogan, Ahmed told the BBC, “He’s working really hard to keep people from knowing he’s a hardcore anti-vaxxer.” -Tablet

The report notes how Ahmed’s group, funded by all sorts of dark money, pulled off a near-impossible feat in DC – climbing to the upper echelons of influence in the DC cesspool dominated by massive think tanks and hardball lobbyists.

The scale of the CCDH’s success must be emphasized for those unfamiliar with the crowded mob of D.C.-based nonprofits churning out reports that seldom get a passing glance from the nation’s policymakers. For a tiny, unknown, nonprofit to gain so much attention in D.C.’s crowded, competitive policy space is akin to a pudgy, amateur athlete catching the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl, while setting a new world record in the marathon, all in one week.

So who is the CCDH’s founder and leader Imran Ahmed? Where does he get his money? Why did he decide to leave behind politics and start a nonprofit focused on misinformation? And perhaps most importantly, how did a relative unknown from London gain such enormous influence from the White House bully pulpit and within Democratic Party politics? -Tablet

Founded in 2018 in London, CCDH’s funding has been the focus of numerous articles, independent “X” threads, and of course, the Twitter Files, while Ahmed’s previous group, “Stop Funding Fake News,” has also come under scrutiny. The CCDH’s influence has also been covered extensively by journalist Matt Taibbi.

Thacker, a former Senate investigator for Chuck Grassley and master of rabbit holes, has just tossed a stick of dynamite into this one.

A brief summary of excerpts via Tablet:

“Shortly after appearing on Twitter in 2019, Stop Funding Fake News claimed some very sizable left-wing scalps in London, mostly by lobbing vague accusations of fake news at political enemies. The group helped to run Jeremy Corbyn out of Labour Party leadership while tanking the lefty news site Canary, after starting a boycott of their advertisers…
“Although CCDH is still based in the U.K., Ahmed grew the group dramatically after he jumped across the Atlantic to incorporate CCDH as a D.C. nonprofit in 2021. In the states, he forged ties in Hollywood: Talent agent Aleen Keshishian, who teaches in the cinema program at the University of Southern California, now sits on his board.”
“When a federal judge chastised the Biden administration for possible censorship and restricted federal agency interactions with social media companies last July, Ahmed criticized the decision in a New York Times report.
“Ahmed’s history is hard to track. The two groups he has run—Stop Funding Fake News and CCDH—seem to pop up out of nowhere, switch addresses, rarely disclose funders, omit naming all employees, and feature websites that change names or disappear from the internet.”
“One rumor that came up often in the dozen or so conversations I’ve had, with people who have observed Ahmed for years, is that he works for British intelligence. Along with other questions emailed to Ahmed a couple weeks back, Tablet asked him to address the allegation he is connected to British intelligence, but he did not respond to repeated requests for comment. One of Ahmed’s long-standing friends told me that Ahmed once mentioned that he had applied to either MI5 or MI6. Because the conversation took place so long ago, the friend couldn’t remember which of the two British intelligence agencies it was, and they never later discussed if he had gotten in.

CCDH also targeted ZeroHedge with a false report initially claiming that we were demonetized by Google for peddling hate speech, when in fact the CCDH took passages from our comments section and claimed they were the views of ZH. The report was laundered through NBC‘s “verify” fact check unit. NBC News was internationally condemned for going after a rival using CCDH research, and written by a 25-year-old (trust fund) UK journalist who has since bounced around various outlets without much in the way of actual journalism to show for it.

12. But Ahmed’s report wasn’t true. Ahmed took passages from the comments section and claimed they were articles. NBC then stealth edited their story.

This is NBC’s “verify” fact check unit, mind you.

— Paul D. Thacker (@thackerpd) July 18, 2023

In short, Ahmed – who reportedly wanted to join British intelligence, has been successful at handing censorious governments talking points on ‘misinformation,’ and deplatforming anti-establishment voices by convincing advertisers to abandon outlets with disfavorable reporting.

Dark money

Thacker confirmed that CCDH took in $1.47 million in 2021 after Ahmed took the helm – of which $1.1 million (nearly 75%) came from the Schwab Charitable Fund, which allows people to anonymously donate money via private accounts.

3) CCDH is running their money through Schwab Charitable Fund, that allow anonymous donors to give without leaving a paper trail. I found someone gave Ahmed $1.1 million in 2021, meaning 75% of their funding.

Ahmed won’t respond to questions.

— Paul D. Thacker (@thackerpd) October 2, 2023

Meanwhile, CCDH’s chairman is Simon Clark, a former senior fellow at the John Podesta-founded Center for American Progress (CAP), a Democrat think tank. CAP also has close ties to the Biden administration.

“Indeed, one might conclude that CCDH functions as an arm of the corporate wing of the Democratic Party, to be deployed against the perceived enemies of corporate Democrats, whether they come from the left or the right.” -Tablet

Thacker also notes that Clark was also a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Lab, which Taibbi noted is funded by various US government agencies and defense contractors, and which remains a key element to the “censorship industrial complex.”

8) Ahmed’s bridge into American politics is Simon Clark–formerly Center for American Progress and Atlantic Council.

Basically, Clark is a Democratic Party operative w/ ties to the CIA.

— Paul D. Thacker (@thackerpd) October 2, 2023

According to former State Department official Mike Benz, who now runs the Foundation for Freedom online, a free speech watchdog, “The Atlantic Council, in the past several years, has had seven CIA directors on its board of directors or board of advisers,” adding “And it’s one of the premier architects of online censorship.

Who is funding this organization? They spread disinformation and push censorship, while claiming the opposite. Truly evil.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 18, 2023

Lawsuits and inquiries

The CCDH’s blazing rise to prominence as a tool of the establishment has piqued the interest of Congress amid a very public fight with Twitter which has erupted into a lawsuit.

Last July, Musk’s lawyer sent Ahmed a letter, warning him that a report CCDH put out contained false and misleading claims about Twitter’s control of hate speech on the platform. Ahmed’s research consisted of eight papers, including one alleging that Twitter had taken no action against 99% of the 100 Twitter Blue accounts that CCDH accused of “tweeting hate.”

Publicly, Ahmed ridiculed Musk’s letter, saying it was a declaration of war. Twitter then filed a lawsuit against him and CCDH. Seizing on the lawsuit, Ahmed sent out an appeal for funding, and gave a series of interviews where he claimed Musk was bullying him. -Tablet

Meanwhile, GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio sent a letter to CCDH demanding they provide a list of funders, along with communications they’ve had with social media companies and federal agencies accused of censoring online content. When CCDH  told Jordan to pound sand, he slapped Ahmed with a subpoena and accused them of working directly with Biden officials.

It is too early to say how congressional investigations and lawsuits involving Ahmed will end, but whatever their final outcomes, they are likely to shed more light on how an ambitious Brit came to play such a prominent role in American politics. Ahmed’s path to influence, it’s clear, relied on a new idea of expertise that has more to do with politics than technical knowledge. The fact that fly-by-night nonprofits with political motives can now be elevated into scientific authorities, says less about these groups than it does about hardball politics played by corporate Democrats in the U.S. and new Labour officials in the U.K. -Tablet

In short, stay tuned…

Tyler Durden
Mon, 10/02/2023 – 11:45 


Posted in News

The USA vs. SBF: Jury Selection In Sam Bankman-Fried Trial To Begin Tuesday

The USA vs. SBF: Jury Selection In Sam Bankman-Fried Trial To Begin Tuesday

Jury selection in the Sam Bankman-Fried trial begins on Tuesday this week, kicking off a trial that is expected to last about six weeks following the crypto firm’s historic $40 billion bankruptcy. 

US prosecutors have labeled FTX “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history,” Financial Times noted in their trial preview this weekend. SBF stands accused not only to defrauding “dozens” of the world’s top investors, but also his millions of customers. The report also noted the trial will likely include “millions of pages of evidence” and testimony from SBF’s friends and romantic partners. 

Prosecution is going to be tasked with trying to get seven different charges, including conspiracy to commit money laundering and fraud against lenders, investors and customers, to stick, the report notes. They will try to show that Bankman-Fried collaborated covertly to channel billions from FTX customers to his cryptocurrency trading company, Alameda Research.

Funds were then spent on luxury property, political contributions and high-profile advertising.

As the report notes, four people who used to work under Bankman-Fried have already admitted guilt. Caroline Ellison, who was previously the CEO of Alameda and was once romantically involved with SBF, is anticipated to be a key witness in the case.

If the trial goes the distance and SBF doesn’t admit guilt, plea out or settle prior to trial, the defense is slated to cast blame on others, including Ellison. SBF has claimed to be uninformed about the financial mechanisms that were operating behind the curtain of his business empire, insisting that he had no intention of committing fraud. 

Sarah Paul, a former federal prosecutor and partner at law firm Evershed Sutherland told Financial Times: “This is a hugely important case. This is the biggest trial we have seen in the crypto world. If there is not justice here for the victims, I think it will be a real blow. And I think it’s dangerous. You have to get bad actors like this out of the industry.”

She continued: “I think the government’s case looks extremely strong. They have multiple co-operating witnesses who worked very closely with him and are going to say that they committed a crime with him. It’s hard to imagine that doesn’t carry the day here.”

If it does make it to trial, one key question will be whether SBF takes the stand. Bradley Simon, a criminal defense partner at Schlam Stone & Dolan, told Financial Times:  “It would be foolhardy for Bankman-Fried to testify. He’s shown himself to be very erratic. Presumably his counsel are telling him that’s out of the question. But sometimes clients don’t listen.”

Simon added: “This is a young man who I don’t think is going to generate a lot of sympathy. He was a high roller. There are going to be jurors from every walk of life. I don’t think they are going to relate to him very well. But you never know. All it takes is one juror to hold out and then everything for the government goes down in flames.”

Meanwhile, over the weekend, short seller Jim Chanos lashed out at author Michael Lewis after Lewis made comments on a 60 Minutes interview seemingly defending Bankman-Fried and comparing the fall of FTX to a bank run.

This was literally Enron’s defense. “If it wasn’t for those meddling short-sellers and journalists causing a run-on-the-bank, we would’ve been fine.” This is nonsense, as both FTX and Enron were both massively insolvent, not illiquid.

— Diogenes (@WallStCynic) October 2, 2023

Lewis said during the interview that the fall of FTX left a “Sam Bankman-Fried-shaped hole in the world.” Lewis, who apparently does not seem to understand that FTX was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, also claimed that “if there hadn’t been a run on customer deposits, they’d still be sitting there making tons of money.”

“This was literally Enron’s defense. ‘If it wasn’t for those meddling short-sellers and journalists causing a run-on-the-bank, we would’ve been fine.’ This is nonsense, as both FTX and Enron were both massively insolvent, not illiquid,” Chanos responded on X/Twitter, over the weekend. 

As MarketWatch correctly noted on Monday, a crucial distinction between illiquidity and insolvency lies in the quality of assets a company holds. An illiquid business possesses high-quality assets that it can either liquidate or use to secure loans, whereas an insolvent one lacks such assets. Prior to its downfall, Alameda Research had a balance sheet laden with (now worthless) FTT tokens, according to reports by CoinDesk.

Now let’s see if a jury can understand the difference…

Tyler Durden
Mon, 10/02/2023 – 11:10 


Posted in News

UPS Offers Rebates To Win Back Diverted Volumes

UPS Offers Rebates To Win Back Diverted Volumes

By Mark Solomon of FreightWaves

In an effort to recapture volumes diverted to rivals ahead of a five-year contract with the Teamsters union, UPS will offer rebates to offset early-termination penalties should customers break their new contracts to return their traffic to the carrier.

UPS CEO Carol B. Tomé affirmed the policy at an analyst breakfast this week, according to those in attendance. According to Ken Hoexter, analyst at Bank of America, Tomé said the costs of the rebates would be minor and would not impact the company’s or the industry’s yield focus. There were no specifics about how widespread the rebate program would be.

UPS lost about 1.2 million daily parcels as shippers concerned about service disruptions shifted traffic to other carriers. Rival FedEx Corp. received about 400,000 of the diverted parcels. The rest was split between the U.S. Postal Service and an array of regional delivery carriers.

UPS has said it hopes to win back most, if not all, of the diverted volumes by the end of 2023 and expects year-on-year domestic parcel volume growth to return to flat by year’s end, compared to what was a 10% year-on-year drop in the second quarter. September volumes are returning at a faster clip than in August, UPS told analysts.

Much of the analyst meeting focused on UPS’ attempts to leverage automation to drive down labor costs in its facilities. To offset its union contract cost — nearly half of the overall increase will occur in the first year — UPS plans to lower the 140,000 part-time employee head count inside its sort centers over the next few years, analysts were told. Collectively, these part-time unionized workers represent about $3 billion a year in potential cost savings, according to analysts attending the meeting.

Language in the contract requires UPS to negotiate with the Teamsters at least 45 days before it introduces certain technology such as drones, driverless vehicles and platooning into its network. Much of the public discussion, however, centered on technology like autonomous vehicles and drones that support transportation functions. It did not address the use of robotics, for example, inside the company’s sortation centers.

It is believed that UPS gained broader freedoms to use inside-the-facility technology in return for the significant wage increases in the contract’s first year. Increases will be muted in years two through four and re-accelerate in year five, though not as significantly as in year one.

The company will expand on its labor-savings and productivity efforts in March when it hosts an investor’s day in Atlanta, where it is based.

At the meeting, UPS executives acknowledged that volumes continued to be pressured by macro weakness in the U.S. and abroad. Inflation, a slowing economy and a shift in consumer expenditures from goods to services are all impacting volume growth, executives said.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 10/02/2023 – 10:55 


Posted in News

‘Ukraine Fatigue Will Grow’: Kremlin Reacts To Congress Dropping Aid

‘Ukraine Fatigue Will Grow’: Kremlin Reacts To Congress Dropping Aid

Just as Congress over the weekend passed its short-term funding package which narrowly avoided a government shutdown by dropping assistance for Ukraine, President Biden has warned that time is running out on available aid. He told Congress to “stop playing games” with urgently needed funds and weapons. 

“We cannot under any circumstances allow America’s support for Ukraine to be interrupted” the president had said, and added, “We have time, not much time, and there’s an overwhelming sense of urgency.” Biden vowed he will “not walk away” from supporting Kiev. Just before those late Saturday remarks, CNN reported the following words of a top US defense official as follows

A top official from the Pentagon told lawmakers on Friday the Department of Defense “has exhausted nearly all available security assistance funding for Ukraine,” offering stark warnings about the battlefield effects of failing to pass new assistance. 

Getty Images

Under Secretary of Defense Michael McCord has also warned in a letter to Congress that “Without additional funding now, we would have to delay or curtail assistance to meet Ukraine’s urgent requirements, including for air defense and ammunition that are critical and urgent now as Russia prepares to conduct a winter offensive.”

The Kremlin on Monday reacted to the ongoing Washington fight over whether to fund the Ukrainians for next fiscal year, and amid the White House dire warnings that time is fast running out on approved aid.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Ukraine fatigue and war weariness on the part of the Western public “will grow” from here on out.

“Fatigue over this conflict — fatigue from the completely absurd sponsorship of the Kyiv regime — will grow in various countries, including the U.S.,” he said, according to AFP. But he still acknowledged that Washington would nonetheless “continue its involvement in this conflict.”

Peskov pointed to broader fragmentation and disunity as the war enters its 20th month. “Fatigue will lead to the fragmentation of the political establishment,” he emphasized.

Last month, the biggest development related to this disunity was NATO/EU member Poland’s declaration that it will not longer fund and supply new arms for Ukraine, saying it must focus on its own defense. Ukraine supporters now fear more in the Western alliance may peel off, given also they see the conflict as a losing cause.

#Poland: More than one million protested and joined rally in support of the #Polish opposition party.

Poland is holding Parliamentary elections on 15 October while relations with #Ukraine are at a 2 year low and many #Poles are complaining of war fatigue.

— News Bulletin (@newsbulletin05) October 1, 2023

US mainstream media also been increasingly open for the first time about the “fatigue” gripping the West. Days ago, CNBC wrote that “Ukraine is trying to keep its international backers close as the spillover effects of the war with Russia — as well as the thorny issues of diplomatic gaffes, conflict fatigue and elections — threaten to upset its alliances and damage support for its cause.”

Opinion polls in both Europe and the U.S. carried out this summer show there has been an overall decline in support for measures backing Ukraine, particularly when it comes to additional funding and the supply of military equipment,” the report underscored.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 10/02/2023 – 10:35 


Posted in News

Shutdown Averted For 45 Days

Shutdown Averted For 45 Days

By Philip Marey, senior US strategist at Rabobank


The government shutdown has been averted, as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy decided to defy the Freedom Caucus on Saturday and pass a stopgap measure (continuing resolution) to keep the government funded through November 17 with bipartisan support. The Senate adopted the same measure and President Biden signed it into law on Saturday night.

This week we are likely to see a challenge to McCarthy’s speakership from members of the Freedom Caucus.

Before November 17, the House still has to adopt 8 appropriations bills for fiscal year 2024, and then reconciliation of the House and Senate versions of the 12 appropriations bills has to take place. Meanwhile, there is still no agreement about the level of total federal spending for FY2024. What’s more, border security and additional funding for Ukraine are still unresolved.

This means that we could still be looking at a government shutdown after November 17, unless a new stopgap measure is approved.


On Saturday, in an unexpected and courageous move, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy defied the hardliners in his own Republican party and proposed a stopgap measure (continuing resolution) to extend government funding through November 17 at the $1.6 trillion annual rate of fiscal year 2023. The measure includes $16 billion in disaster relief, but still omits any additional aid for Ukraine. It also excludes the border security provisions sought by Republicans. The House of Representatives voted 335-91 in favor of this measure. All but one Democrat voted in favor, but nearly half of Republicans voted against it. The Senate followed with 88-9, despite hesitation about the absence of Ukraine aid, which was a part of last week’s bipartisan Senate stopgap proposal. President Biden signed the continuing resolution into law late Saturday night, just in time to avert a government shutdown on Sunday.

Bring it on

Earlier last week, in an attempt to include the hardliners, McCarthy proposed a continuing resolution (CR) at a lower $1.471 trillion annual rate and with the condition of strict border security measures. This measure already excluded any new support for Ukraine. This proposal was rejected on Friday. It had been expected that McCarthy would take more time to make this switch from appeasing the hardliners and showing that he had done everything in his power to get their demands through Congress. The real world impact of the government shutdown would have given him the cover needed to make his switch to a bipartisan solution to the shutdown. However, last week’s voting behavior by the hardliners seems to have brought McCarthy to the conclusion that he might as well make this switch prior to a shutdown and that delaying the inevitable would not change the position of the hardliners. He seems to accept that a speakership challenge is coming anyway, even if he were to go along with the wishes of the House Freedom Caucus and go into a government shutdown. After Saturday’s vote he said: “If somebody wants to make a motion against me, bring it. There has to be an adult in the room.” He also said: “It’s easy to be a conservative that wants to do nothing, but I believe America wants to find the conservative that can make government work efficiently, effectively and accountable.”

This means that a government shutdown has been averted, at least until November 17, but that we could see a challenge to McCarthy’s speakership as soon as on Monday. Note that at the start of the year, in order to get elected, McCarthy accepted that it would take only one member of the House of Representatives to challenge his speakership. On Sunday morning, Republican Matt Gaetz announced on CNN that he intends to file a motion to vacate against Speaker McCarthy this week. This comes as no surprise as we discussed last week in Shutdown. A key question for the Democrats is whether they should bail out McCarthy if he does not get enough Republican votes. Note that Republicans have a small (221-212) majority in the House of Representatives.

What’s ahead?

Besides a leadership challenge among House Republicans, the stopgap adopted on Saturday still leaves considerable unfinished business. The stopgap only lasts through November 17, which means that this measure only buys Congress 7 weeks to approve all 12 appropriations bills for fiscal year 2024 (which starts today, on October 1). If the House and the Senate have not approved and reconciled the 12 bills by then, we are looking at a shutdown after November 17, unless a new stopgap measure is adopted. Note that the Senate has already approved 12 appropriations bills, but the House did not get further than 4 of them, 3 of which last week (Defense, Homeland Security, Department of State; the agriculture bill failed). Until recently, only the bill for veterans affairs had passed in the House. Also, there is still no agreement which total federal spending levels should apply for FY2024. All of this has to pass the House, while Republican hardliners want to depose the House Speaker. What’s more, the issue of border security will come up again, by Republicans. The same is true for additional funding for Ukraine, which has been requested by President Biden.


Saturday’s unexpected move by House Speaker McCarthy has averted a government shutdown on October 1, but we are heading for a new deadline on November 17. Meanwhile, several issues about fiscal year 2024 remain unresolved and on top of that we could start the week with a speakership challenge. Political turmoil on Capitol Hill continues, but at least federal workers and contractors will get their money for the next seven weeks.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 10/02/2023 – 10:15 


Posted in News

“Renewed Upward Pressure On Inflation” – US Manufacturing Surveys Signal Stagflation

“Renewed Upward Pressure On Inflation” – US Manufacturing Surveys Signal Stagflation

Despite disappointing macro data (and tightening financial conditions), US manufacturing survey data was expected to rise in final September data released this morning and S&P Global’s PMI Manufacturing jumped from 47.9 in August to 49.8 in September (and up from 48.9 in the flash September print). That is the highest print for US manufacturing since April but remains in contraction (below 5). That is the 5th straight month in contraction and 10th month in the last 11 in contraction (sub 50).

The ISM Manufacturing print also rose (to 49.0), up from 47.6 and better than the 47.9 exp (but still below 50 for the 10th straight month).

Quite a decoupling from the ‘hard’ data’s decline…

Source: Bloomberg

While the two surveys show the same headline (just sub-50 – contraction) headline prints, below the surface they could not be more different…

Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said:

September saw a welcome near-stabilization of business conditions in manufacturing, but a further increase in price pressures is a concern on the inflation front.

“Output reversed some of the loss seen in August as higher employment and improved supply availability helped factories fulfil backlogs of orders.

Although the pace of production growth remains disappointingly subdued thanks to a further decline in new orders received during the month, notably from weak export markets, there are signs that the situation will improve as we head through to the end of the year.

“Manufacturers’ expectations of future output have jumped to their highest for nearly one and a half years, supply conditions continue to improve, and the rate of order book decline has moderated considerably in recent months, in part due to fewer producers and customers reporting deliberate cost-focused inventory reduction policies.

Less encouraging was the news on the inflation outlook, as producers’ costs rose at the fastest rate for five months, largely on the back of higher oil prices. These increased costs are already feeding through to higher prices to customers, which will inevitably result in some renewed upward pressure on inflation.

So, take your pick!

PMI – higher prices (fast inflation) and slower orders/production (growth slowing)

ISM – lower prices and faster orders

However as the chart shows, the ISM’s faster orders remain below 50 (in contraction)

It would seem the tightening financial conditions may finally be having an effect…

So, summing everything up, despite the headline improvement in the ‘soft’ survey data, the Manufacturing reports shows production continuing to slow while prices are re-accelerating higher… in other words ‘Stagflation’.

Time to panic Mr.Powell?

Tyler Durden
Mon, 10/02/2023 – 10:08 


Posted in News

Key Events This Busy Week: Payrolls, Jolts, ADP, ISM And Tons of Fed Speakers

Key Events This Busy Week: Payrolls, Jolts, ADP, ISM And Tons of Fed Speakers

As we start October, DB’s Jim Reid asks whether we can power out of the gravitational pull of bad September seasonals. He notes that September 2023 was the 4th year in a row that the S&P 500 and the STOXX 600 were down for the month, as well as the 7th year in a row that Bloomberg’s global bond aggregate was down for the month. The damage in bonds has been more severe and more sustained than for equities and you can’t help wondering where the real damage is. The bottom line as the strategist puts it, is that “you can’t have this much value destruction in bonds without there being some stress somewhere. However, it’s near impossible to work out where exactly it might come to the surface.”

One thing that is certain is that it will, just give it time.

The good news as we start the week and the new business month is that the US averted a shutdown just before the deadline on Saturday night which will keep the government running until November 17th. This gives negotiators more time to pass something more long standing. We will see if we’re in the same position in six weeks’ time though.

For now no shutdown means that US data will get published on time this week. The highlight is clearly Friday’s payrolls. Before that, the JOLTS (tomorrow) and ADP (Wednesday) data will give us some early clues. The former is a month behind but is obviously a key report to assess labour market tightness by looking at the quits rate, hirings and vacancies etc.

The highlights for the rest of the week are the US ISM and a Powell roundtable discussion today, an expected hold from the RBA tomorrow, US services PMI, Euro Zone retail sales, Euro Zone PPI and a Lagarde speech on Wednesday, French IP on Thursday with German factory orders on Friday. The full week ahead is at the end, including a bevy of central bank speakers, but we’ll quickly preview today’s ISM and Friday’s payrolls below.

Going back to the main events, DB’s economists and the consensus are expecting +165k for headline payrolls (+187k previously) with the unemployment rate expected to dip back down a tenth to 3.7% after surprisingly increasing three tenths last month. A reminder that every headline payroll number has now been revised lower in 2023. In early summer we were on a run of 13 successive beats but some of that has now gone with revisions.

Today’s US manufacturing ISM (47.5 expected at DB vs. 47.6 last) and Wednesday’s services ISM (54.1 vs. 54.5) are expected to be fairly stable. For the former our economists’ models suggest an uptick but the UAW strikes could offset that as perhaps foretold by a weak Chicago PMI last week. Note that it’s likely too early for this strike to impact payrolls but it could make a sizeable impact next month. For services watch for the employment index as this surprisingly soared 4 points to 54.7 last month.

Talking of such indices, the official China manufacturing PMI edged up to 50.2 (50.1 expected) over the weekend from 49.7 in August. Services also beat by a tenth to 51.7 from 51.0 in August. The private Caixin equivalents were at 50.6 and 50.2 respectively, below the 51.2 and 52.0 expected. So a mixed set of data as China starts a holiday week.

Courtesy of DB, here is a day-by-day calendar of events

Monday October 2

Data: US September ISM index, August construction spending, UK September Nationwide house price index, Japan Q3 Tankan indices, Italy September manufacturing PMI, new car registrations, budget balance, August unemployment rate, Eurozone August unemployment rate, Canada September manufacturing PMI
Central banks: Fed Powell, Harker and Williams speak, BoJ Summary of Opinions September MPM, ECB’s Centeno and de Cos speak, BoE’s Mann speaks

Tuesday October 3

Data: US September total vehicle sales, August JOLTS, Japan September monetary base, France August budget balance
Central banks: Fed’s Mester and Bostic speak, ECB’s Simkus, Lane and Villeroy speak, RBA decision

Wednesday October 4

Data: US September ISM services, ADP report, August factory orders, UK September official reserves changes, Italy September services PMI, Q2 deficit to GDP, Eurozone August retail sales, PPI
Central banks: Fed’s Bowman and Goolsbee speak, ECB’s Lagarde, Guindos, Centeno and Panetta speak
Earnings: Tesco

Thursday October 5

Data: US August trade balance, initial jobless claims, UK September construction PMI, new car registrations, Germany September construction PMI, August trade balance, France August industrial and manufacturing production, Canada August international merchandise trade
Central banks: Fed’s Daly, Barr and Mester speak, ECB’s Nagel, Villeroy, Guindos and Lane speak, BoE DMP survey, Broadbent speaks
Earnings: Constellation Brands

Friday October 6

Data: US September jobs report, August consumer credit, Japan August leading and coincident indices, labor cash earnings, household spending, Italy August retail sales, Germany August factory orders, France August trade balance, current account balance, Canada September jobs report
Central banks: Fed’s Waller speaks

* * *

Turning to just the US, Goldman writes that the key economic data releases this week are JOLTS job openings on Tuesday, the ISM services report on Wednesday, and the employment report on Friday. There are many speaking engagements from Fed officials this week, including Chair Powell, governors Bowman and Waller, Vice Chair for Supervision Barr, and presidents Harker, Williams, Mester, Bostic, Goolsbee, and Daly.

Monday, October 2

10:00 AM Construction spending, August (GS +0.8%, consensus +0.6%, last +0.7%)
10:00 AM ISM manufacturing index, September (GS 48.5, consensus 47.7, last 47.6): We estimate the ISM manufacturing index rebounded by 0.9pt to 48.5 in September, reflecting the rebound in East Asian industrial activity and upward convergence towards other business surveys. Our GS manufacturing tracker was unchanged on net at 49.1.
11:00 AM Fed Chair Powell and Philadelphia Fed President Harker (FOMC non-voter) speak: Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker will participate in a roundtable discussion with workers, small business owners and community leaders in York, Pennsylvania. A Q&A is expected. On August 25 Harker said, “right now, I think that we’ve probably done enough… I’m in the camp of, let the restrictive stance work for a while… and that should bring inflation down.”
01:30 PM New York Fed President Williams (FOMC voter) moderates discussion: Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams will moderate a discussion with Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz at 2023 Environmental Economics and Policy Conference: Measuring and Adapting to Climate Risk, hosted by the New York Fed and Columbia SIPA. Text is not expected. On September 29 Williams said, “my current assessment is that we are at, or near, the peak level of the target range for the federal funds rate. I expect we will need to maintain a restrictive stance of monetary policy for some time to fully restore balance to demand and supply and bring inflation back to our 2% longer-run goal.”
07:30 PM Cleveland Fed President Mester (FOMC non-voter) speaks: Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester will speak on the economic outlook at the 50 Club of Cleveland monthly meeting. Text and audience Q&A are expected. On September 1 Mester said, “In the labor market, some progress is being made in bringing demand and supply into better balance, but the job market is still strong.”

Tuesday, October 3

08:00 AM Atlanta Fed President Bostic (FOMC non-voter) speaks: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic will take part in a moderated conversation at Leadership Atlanta’s alumni roundtable. He will discuss the economic outlook for 2024, inflation, interest rates, the labor market, and sources of uncertainty. Audience Q&A is expected. On September 4 Bostic said, “I think that it’s appropriate to just be cautious at this stage. We don’t have to rush and we can let our policy do its work and continue to slow the economy down and continue us on that road to the 2% target.”
08:15 AM ADP employment change, September (GS +190k, consensus +158k, last +177k): We estimate a 190k rise in ADP payroll employment in September, reflecting stronger Big Data employment indicators.
10:00 AM JOLTS job openings, August (GS 8,800k, consensus 8,830K, last 8,827k)
05:00 PM Lightweight motor vehicle sales, September (GS 15.5mn, consensus 15.4mn, last 15.0mn)

Wednesday, October 4

10:00 AM Factory orders, August (GS +0.3%, consensus +0.3%, last -2.1%)
10:00 AM ISM services index, September (GS 53.5, consensus 53.5, last 54.5): We estimate that the ISM services index deletion declined to 53.5 in September. Our forecast reflects a net decline in business surveys (our nonmanufacturing tracker fell 0.4pt to 52.6) and our GSAI.
10:25 AM Fed Governor Bowman speaks: Fed Governor Michelle Bowman will deliver the keynote address at a community banking research conference at the St. Louis Fed. Text is expected. On September 22 Bowman said, “I expect it will likely be appropriate for the Committee to raise rates further and hold them at a restrictive level for some time to return inflation to our 2 percent goal in a timely way.”
10:30 AM Chicago Fed President Goolsbee (FOMC voter) speaks: Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee will deliver welcoming remarks at the Chicago Payments Symposium. On September 7 Goolsbee said, “we are very rapidly approaching the time when our argument is not going to be about how high should the rates go; it’s going to be an argument about how long do we need to keep the rates at this position.”
03:00 PM Chicago Fed President Goolsbee (FOMC voter) moderates discussion: Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee will moderate a discussion with former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, the Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago’s Booth School. Q&A is expected.

Thursday, October 5

08:30 AM Initial jobless claims, week ended September 30 (GS 210k, consensus 210k, last 204k): Continuing jobless claims, week ended September 23 (last 1,670k)
08:30 AM Trade balance, August (GS -$59.7bn, consensus -$64.3bn, last -$65.0bn)
09:00 Cleveland Fed President Mester (FOMC non-voter) speaks: Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester will introduce a keynote speaker presenting on cybersecurity trends at the Chicago Payments Symposium.
12:00 PM San Francisco Fed President Daly (FOMC non-voter) speaks: San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly will speak at the Economic Club of New York. Q&A is expected. On September 22 Daly said, “the thing that would be a problem is if we decided that we wanted to call it done we’d say we’re done, we say definitely one more, when we actually don’t know. Patience is a prudent strategy.”
12:15 PM Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Barr speaks: Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr will speak on cyber risk in the banking sector at the Cleveland Fed’s Large and Foreign Banking Organizations Cyber Conference. Q&A and livestream are expected.

Friday, October 6

08:30 AM Nonfarm payroll employment, September (GS +200k, consensus +168k, last +187k); Private payroll employment, September (GS +180k, consensus +150k, last +179k); Average hourly earnings (mom), September (GS +0.30%, consensus +0.3%, last +0.2%); Average hourly earnings (yoy), September (GS +4.28%, consensus +4.3%, last +4.3%); Unemployment rate, September (GS 3.7%, consensus 3.7%, last 3.8%); Labor force participation rate, September (GS 62.8%, consensus 62.7%, last 62.8%): We estimate nonfarm payrolls rose by 200k in September (mom sa). Big Data indicators indicate strong job growth, consistent with the further decline in initial jobless claims and fewer end-of-summer layoffs than usual. We do not assume a drag from labor disputes, because the United Auto Workers strike started after the beginning of the survey week. On the negative side, September payrolls exhibit a negative bias in the initial prints, with payroll growth subsequently revised higher in eight of the last ten years (we assume a 40-50k headwind in Friday’s report). We estimate that the unemployment rate declined to 3.7%, reflecting a rise in household employment and unchanged labor force participation at 62.8% (we do not expect the August rise in the foreign-born labor force to reverse). We estimate a 0.30% increase in average hourly earnings (mom sa) that edges the year-on-year rate lower by 1bp to 4.28%, reflecting waning wage pressures but positive calendar effects (the latter worth +5bps month-over-month, on our estimates).
12:00 PM Fed Governor Waller speaks: Fed Governor Christopher Waller will participate in a moderated discussion about the payments system at a Brookings Institution event. Q&A is expected. On September 5 Waller said, “I don’t think one more hike would necessarily throw the economy into recession if we did feel that we needed to do one. It’s not obvious that we’re in real danger of doing a lot of damage to the job market, even if we raise rates one more time.”

Source: DB, Goldman. BofA

Tyler Durden
Mon, 10/02/2023 – 09:56