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Wednesday April 2, 2008 - 11:27:21 GMT
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European Market Update: UK Mortgage Approvals Remain Near 9-Year Low

European Market Update: UK Mortgage Approvals Remain Near 9-Year Low


· SP Mar Net Change in Employment: -14.4K v -5.1Ke

· UK Feb Final M4 Money Supply: M/M 0.2% v 0.3% prior || Y/Y 12.4% v 12.3% prior

· UK Feb Final M4 Sterling Lending: £17.4B v £16.4B prior

· UK Feb Net Consumer Credit: £2.4B v £900Me

· UK Feb Net Lending: £7.4B v £7. 2Be

· UK Feb Mortgage Approvals: 73K v 72Ke

· UK Feb BSA Mortgage Approvals: £3.58B v £4.29B y/y

· UK Mar Construction PMI: 47.2 v 52.0e

· UK Q4 Housing Equity Withdrawal: £7.3B v £9.5Be || Prior revised from £10.5B to £10.8B

· EU Feb PPI: M/M 0.6% v 0.6%e || Y/Y 5.3% v 5.2%e


· EU's Almunia: Most sectors not experiencing problems related to the strong Euro || Scale of financial crisis still unclear, lack of trust in banks persists [German Press]

· ECB's Weber: Concerned about accelerating inflation and said the ECB may take actions to counter trend || Says a long-term inflation rate of more than 2% is unacceptable [Bild]

· SNB Jordan: CHF has partly regained 'safe haven status' ||Financial crisis underscores the limits of monetary policy || Banks must be transparent to win back confidence || Authorities must cooperate more in time of crisis


· European fixed income futures are currently mixed in the session, but are trending upwards following a lower open. There was little data and little commentary in today's session. In the
UK gilts have been outperforming their European counterparts, and remain focused upon Thursday's £3.75B 4.75% June 2010 auction. The share of the European yield curves is relatively unchanged from yesterday due the lack of news flow overnight. Focus for the remainder of today, and probably for the remainder of the week, is likely to fall upon activity in the US. Treasuries are expected to remain vulnerable to the news flow for the remainder of the week. In New York the Fed is getting ready for the second Term Securities Lending Facility, the results of which are due out on Thursday. Auction results are expected to provide some insight as to how badly global money markets are hurting. Recall that the initial auction covered 1.15x perhaps indicating that markets were not as desperate for liquidity as some people thought. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to provide Congress' Joint Economic Committee with an update on the US' economic situation today. Bernanke is widely expected to assure congress that the Fed will continue to take all plausible measures to thwart the development of further problems, and to keep the US economy from falling into a recession. The ADP employment change is also due today, and is seen as the unreliable precursor to the jobs number due out on Friday. Consensus estimates for Friday's jobs number range from -150K to +65K, while the mean estimate is around -50K. Recall that both the January and February readings were negative, making for the first consecutive negative readings since 2003. All of these factors will certainly be relevant for treasuries through the end of the week, and will also play a role in the FOMC's April 29th/30th policy-setting meeting. We will, before then, see interest rates from both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank. The ECB is widely expected to maintain rates given its recent hawkish commentary, while the BOE is expected to cut rates by 25bps to 5.00%. Current consensus expectations for the FOMC's April policy-setting meeting are for a 50bps rate cut to 1.75%; April fed fund futures are currently pricing in a 36% probability that the Fed will cut rates by 50bps at that meeting.

· The European indices opened the session in positive territory, but have since drifted from session highs with both the CAC and the FTSE making their way into negative territory. The news flow was extremely slow overnight, and relatively dry as well. Shares of Infineon rose after Nanya Technology said that it may raise money in the second half of 2008 to buy Qimonda's 35.4% stake in their semiconductor venture. Shares of Bayer were trading lower overnight on market chatter that the co. would lower their earnings guidance; A Bayer spokesperson later said that the market rumors were unfounded. Earnings reports are expected from a few
US notables today including Bestbuy, Carmax, and Monsanto. Results are expected before the US market open.

· The USD retraced its recent gains during the European morning. The EUR/USD is around the 1.5650-level, some 100 pips higher from its late Asian price action. Dealers cite that the trading was more technical rather than reacting to any particular news. Oil and Gold were also firmer as they retraced their recent steep losses. Dealers note that the USD/JPY tested a 23.6% fibonocci level of its 10-month range of 124.20 to 95.70. The Icelandic Kroner firmed after comments from a central banker noting that the ISK was undervalued. The ISK was also aided by comments from PM Geir Haarde stating that
Iceland was prepared to order direct intervention in the currency and stock markets in an attempt to punish international hedge funds that it claims are attacking its financial system. \

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