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Monday April 14, 2008 - 11:58:46 GMT
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European Market Update: UK PPI Data Soars in March

European Market Update: UK PPI Data Soars in March


· FR Mar Bank of France Sentiment: 105 v 106e || Prior revised from 107 to 106

· SW Mar CPI: M/M 0.9% v 0.7%e || Y/Y 3.4% v 3.2%e

· SW Mar Underlying CPI: M/M 0. 9% v 0.5%e || Y/Y 2.3% v 2.1%e

· UK Mar PPI Input: M/M 1.8% v 1.9%e || Prior revised from 1.7% to 1.9% |||| Y/Y 20.6% v 19.3%e || Prior revised from 19.4% to 19.7%

· UK Mar PPI Output: M/M 0.9% v 0.5%e || Prior revised from 0.3% to 0.5%e |||| Y/Y 5.6% v 6.2%e || Prior revised from 5.7% to 5.9%

· UK Mar PPI Output Core: M/M 0.3% v 0.4%e |||| Y/Y 3.1% v 3. 0%e || Prior revised from 3.0% to 3.1%

· EU Feb Industrial Production: M/M 0.3% v 0.2%e || Prior revised from 0.9% to 0.6% |||| Y/Y 3. 1% v 2.9%e || Prior revised from 3.8% to 3.3%


· ECB's Quaden: Inflation in the euro zone was not likely to fall into the central bank's target range any time soon || Current monetary policy stance and interest rates appropriate || Unclear if inflation will slow down if growth slows down

· ECB's Liikanen: Real risk wage deals will add to inflation pressure || Euro area growth ongoing, but risks to the downside

· ECB's Wellink: No leeway for rate cut, must watch 2nd round effects || Not sure slower growth to help ease price pressure

· ECB's Mersch: Cannot rule out upward revision for ECB inflation forecast || Sees no room for rate cuts

· ECB's Gonzalez- Paramo: ECB tools working well, short-term rates stabilized well

· SNB's Roth: Vigilance is need on European inflation || Swiss inflation to remain relatively high || Inflation rates are a temporary phenomenon || Optimistic on inflation falling below 2% in H2.

· SZ Swiss Economic Minister: IMF Swiss GDP forecast is very pessimistic || Sees no reason to lower 2008 GDP forecast

· EU The Spanish government to spend €10B per year on an economic stimulus package || Of the €10B, €6B will be used on €400 rebates for tax payers || Funds will also be used to help finance small and medium-sized firms and guarantees for banks that extend loans to those buying subsidized housing. [The Guardian]

· GE Finance Minister: To meet with representatives of the Kuwait Investment Authority at the end of May || The meeting is reportedly to clear up misunderstandings as sovereign wealth funds are viewed with caution in Germany. [Der Spiegel]

· Deutsche Bank is seeking to sell as much as $20B of LBO related debt to a group of investors || The report follows press speculation of LBO debt sales by Goldman and Citigroup [WSJ]

· FR Economy Minister Lagarde: Regarding G7's FX stance, says we are all concerned by the current, brutal fluctuations as they are bad for growth || Bankers at G7 admitted their collective responsibility for the credit crisis


· In equities news overnight M&A activity along with poor earnings results were the focus of the session. Royal Philips Electronics reported a 75% y/y decline in first-quarter net income, falling well below analysts' estimates. Sales results fell slightly below estimates, however the company did reaffirm its 2010 EBITDA margin target of 10%-11%. Groupe Danone opened lower in the session, but pushed higher on the back of a 18. 7% y/y rise in first-quarter sales, along with its FY08 revenue growth forecast of 8%-10% and its EPS growth forecast of 15% or more. M&A news overnight included was varied. Titian Europe elaborated on news circulating this weekend. Titan Europe announced that it was in preliminary talks for the US-based Titan International to acquire the rest of the shares that it does not already own in the company in an all share deal. According to the preliminary terms, the Titan Europe shareholders would receive 1 Titan International share for every 8 Titan Europe shares they own. UK-based industrial holding company Enodis announced overnight that it will be acquired by the US-based Manitowoc for 260p/share, in a deal valued at £948M. Under the terms of the Offer, Enodis Shareholders will receive 258 pence in cash for each Enodis Share. In addition, prior to the Scheme becoming effective, Enodis will pay a dividend of 2 pence per Enodis Share in lieu of an interim dividend in respect of the financial year ending 30 September 2008. Manitowoc expects that the deal will be accretive to earnings in FY09. Finally, what is, thus far, likely to be the talk of the morning, Blockbuster announced that, in a letter to the Circuit City chairman sent on February 17th, it offered to acquire the company in an all cash merger with a price range of $6.00/share to $8.00/share. Blockbuster noted that Circuit City has failed to provide the due diligence necessary for Blockbuster to make a definitive proposal. Blockbuster announced that by releasing this news it believes the shareholders of Circuit City should have the opportunity to participate in determining the destiny of the company.

· Following this weekend's G7 meeting there was a large handful of central bank speakers on the wires overnight. While much of the commentary from ECB members was in line with recent ECB rhetoric, some of the “less hawkish” members were “stepping it up”. The ECB's Mersch said that he sees no room for rate cuts, adding that upward revisions to the ECB's inflation forecast cannot be ruled out. Similarly, the ECB's Wellink said that there is no leeway for interest rate cuts, while the ECB's Quaden said that Euro-Zone inflation is not likely to fall into the central bank's target range anytime soon. Elsewhere the Swiss National Bank's Roth said overnight that vigilance is needed on European inflation, adding that Swiss inflation is seen remaining relatively high, but is expected to fall below 2.0% during the second half of the year. Once again, the commentary all follows the G7 meeting this past weekend, where G7 changed its verbal stance on currencies for the first time in around four years. While the new statement was equally as vague as the previous statement, it did have a more aggressive, definitive tone. Recall additionally that prior to the meeting, the German Finance Minister said on Friday that the Euro at $1.60 massively impacts Germany's economic interest. While this commentary has been heard and heard again in France, this is one of the first comments of this nature from a ranking German official. All in all, an ECB rate cut is looking less and less likely in 2008, but perhaps some hard-line currency intervention is in the works.

· Fixed income futures opened higher in the session on the back of weaker equity markets, but slowly drifted lower throughout the early session. The most movement was seen in long- gilts, which were quickly knocked into negative territory following the release of stronger than expected PPI data for the month of March. There was no new supply in the UK, nor in the Euro-Zone overnight, however the Greek PDMA head did deny the imminent 10-year launch. France, Italy, and Germany will collectively supply €17.5B this week. The Italian auctions are scheduled for Tuesday, with an aggregate €4.0B in 2013 BTPs and 2014 BTPs. Germany will sell up to €7.0B in 2010 schatzs on Wednesday. In France, the AFT will sell €5.0B to €5.5B in 2010 BTAN, and 2013 BTAN, as well as €1.0B to €1.5B in 2013 OATi and 2020 OATei. In the UK, the DMO will sell £2.25B in 2042 bonds in Thursday's session.

· On the data front the Bank of France business sentiment fell shy of estimates overnight, accompanied by a downward revision to the back month reading. Both headline and core CPI data exceeded expectations in Sweden overnight. March PPI data was mixed in the UK. PPI put beat out estimates reaching its highest y/y level since March of 1980. Similarly, PPI output beat out estimates posting its highest y/y read since March of 1991. PPI output core was mixed; the y/y reading edged out estimates, while the m/m reading fell slightly below. In the Euro-Zone, February industrial production data was slightly ahead of estimates, however there were some heavy downward revisions to January's readings. Finally, Portuguese CPI data for March was slightly ahead of expectations on both headline and harmonized bases, seeming to further confirm the ECB's inflationary outlook.

· In energy related news overnight OPEC's head of petroleum market analysis said that diverging trends within the global oil markets may start to play out during coming months, which could undermine oil prices. The OPEC representative added that the recent oil price gains are more related to the weak USD. Statoilhydro announces gas discovery in Norwegian Sea; the discovery has an estimated 1.5 BCM of recoverable gas.

· In currencies, the EUR/USD drifted higher during the European session aided by continued by hawkish ECB inflation talk. Although G7 did amend its wording its forex portion of the communiqué, noting that it would not watch USD continue to weaken, dealers seemed keen to test USD downside to see where G7 would actually act. The JPY was initially firmer as renewed concerns over the financial market crisis resurfaced ahead of earning seasons. WSJ reported that Deutsche Bank is seeking to sell as much as $20B of LBO related debt to a group of investors. Wachovia moved up its earnings, prompting chatter of a possible writedown. The JPY was retracing its gains as equity markets recovered from their worst levels in the session.

· As it stands now, the European indices are in negative territory, but are off of their worst levels of the session, and could see positive territory if they continue to follow their current path. Fixed income futures are in the lower end of their respective session ranges, however are back in positive territory. The European yield curves are relatively flat, while swap spreads have posted a modest rise. Looking ahead, focus is likely to fall upon March advanced retail sales, and February business inventories in the States, as well as comments from the Fed's Warsh, and the ECB's Trichet, both of whom are expected to speak in New York later today.

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