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Monday May 12, 2008 - 11:09:36 GMT
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Forex Blog - European Market Update: UK PPI Data Soars to Multi-Decade Highs


· *** ECONOMIC DATA ***

· IT Mar Industrial Production: M/M -0.2% v 0.0%e || Y/Y -2.5% v -1.1%e || Prior Y/Y revised from -0.8% to -0.7%

· IT Mar Industrial Production Y/Y nsa: -7.4% v -4.6%e || Prior revised from 2.9% to 3.1%

· UK Apr PPI Input: M/M 2.4% v 1.8%e || Prior M/M revised from 1.8% to 1.7% |||| Y/Y 23.3% v 21.4%e || Prior revised from 20.6% to 20.1%

· UK Apr PPI Output: M/M 1.4% v 0.6%e || Prior M/M revised from 0.9% to 1.1% |||| Y/Y 7.5% v 6.4%e || Prior Y/Y revised from 6.2% to 6.5%

· UK Apr PPI Output Core: M/M 1.0% v 0.3%e || Prior M/M revised from 0.3% to 0.4% |||| Y/Y 4.6% v 3.2%e || Prior Y/Y revised from 3.1% to 3.4%

· UK Mar Visible Trade Balance: -£7.44B v -£7.5Be || Prior revised from -£7.49B to -£7.58B

· UK Mar Trade Balance Non-EU: -£3.77B v -£4.0Be || Prior revised from -£4.02B to -£4.09B

· UK Mar Total Trade Balance: -£4.03B v -£4.4Be ||Prior revised from -£4.44B to -£4.33B

· *** SPEAKERS/FIXED INCOME/FX/COMMODITIES/ERRATUM ***

· All was quiet on the equity front overnight. In equity news Encana (ECA) announced plans this weekend to split into two separate companies. Encana's board voted to split EnCana into two highly focused energy companies - one a natural gas company with an outstanding portfolio of early life, North American, natural gas resource plays and the other a fully integrated oil company with industry-leading in-situ oilsands properties and top-performing refineries, as well as an underlying foundation of reliable oil and gas resource plays. Elsewhere, following a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in
China an Intel (INTC) spokesperson said that the Company has not yet determined the impact of the earthquake on its Chengdu operations. Chengdu is in the Sichuan province in China, the same province as Wenchuan county where the earthquake occurred.

· In the newspapers, according to the Financial Times Vodafone (VOD) said that it has no plan to bid for South Africa's MTN (MTN.SA) According to the Sunday Express Lloyds (LLOY.UK) is expected to cut hundreds of jobs in the UK; Most of the job cuts are expected to come from Lloyd's IT unit. The Wall Street Journal wrote overnight that AiG's (AIG) airplane leasing unit may seek to split from the company. According to the Telegraph the
UK government has decided not to sell entire stake in British Energy [BGY.UK] to just one bidder. Il Sole 24 Ore wrote this weekend that Finmeccanica may make a $5.4B buyout offer for DRS (DRS)

· In energy news overnight an Iranian official said overnight that there will be no emergency OPEC meeting before September. Similarly, the Qatari oil minister said overnight that he sees no need for OPEC to meet before September. According to wire reports overnight Exxon (XOM) is restarting a gasoline unit at its
Beaumont Texas refinery (349K bpd). Sources reported overnight that Valero (VLO) is restarting its 135K bpd Wilmington California refinery units following a power outage on Sunday. Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) said overnight that it is losing the equivalent of 30K bpd due to the recent attacks in Nigeria. The Wall Street Journal wrote overnight that a US House committee has started a probe into speculation in energy markets. Hearings have been scheduled for May and June. The article notes that lawmakers are particularly taking aim at hedge funds and investment banks.

· In fixed income related news overnight the Financial Times looked at the impact of central banks on the mortgage bond market in a piece written overnight. The FT notes that central bank interventions helped drive a sharp rally in bonds backed by good-quality mortgages. The safest
UK mortgage bonds have seen sharp increases in value, while in Europe risk premiums on these assets has more than halved since the end of March. Despite the recent rally in some types of mortgage bonds, risk premiums on such assets are still many times higher than pre-credit crunch levels. The FT notes that the recent gains in some mortgage bonds have been driven by improved sentiment in credit markets and the continued "central bank bid" The Financial Times wrote overnight that writedowns taken by UK banks may hurt the country's public finances due to lower corporate tax revenues. According to the FT, the £10B of writedowns unveiled by RBS, Lloyds and HBOS in recent weeks will cut more than £2.5B off of the 3 banks combined tax bills. The Telegraph wrote overnight that the UK's Loan Market Association is expected to move to close a lending loophole, which allows private equity companies to buy back their own debt at a discount. The Telegraph reported overnight that the BOE will unveil new economic forecasts this week, which will predict that CPI will top 3% over the next months The Telegraph wrote overnight that bankers for Alliance Boots are in talks to sell the company's £9B of debt to private equity buyers, including KKR. According to the Times the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) said that the BOE should not wait to cut rates further. The BCC added that the BOE missed a valuable opportunity to raise confidence on Thursday by not cutting rates.

· All was quiet on the central bank speaker front overnight. Making a single comment the EU's Juncker said overnight that the Dollar FX rate is no longer a cause of European crises. Elsewhere the ECB's Quaden said that [the current] monetary policy is fully appropriate, adding that the ECB can act flexibly as needed.

· In currencies, the USD started the European session on a firm note as dealers took notice of comments in the weekend press regarding a ''possible'' floor plan being worked on for the dollar. A WSJ article reported over the weekend that a
US official stated that the Bush administration is leading the international effort to put a floor under the weak USD. The article cites a senior U.S. Treasury official noting that the move to address USD plunge at G7 came at the behest of the American side. The EUR/USD probed below the 1.54-handle before consolidating its gains. The JPY was broadly softer aided by firmer global equity markets and comments from BOJ's Shirakawa who noted that it is appropriate to keep interest rates steady as the chance of the U.S. economy stalling remains high over the near-term. The USD/JPY approached the 104-handle as the European morning wore on.

· The GBP/USD rebounded from session lows of 1.9445 after higher than expected inflation data, surging to 1.9590. The EUR/GBP is off 50 pips at 7875, while the GBP/JPY up 300 pips at 203.30.

· On the data front Italian industrial production data fell below analysts' estimates for the month of March, with the unadjusted y/y reading declining to its lowest level since April of 2006 at -7.4%. In the
UK the April PPI input, output, and output core readings all skyrocketed beyond the already inflated consensus expectations in some cases reaching levels not seen since the 1980's. In China, the PBOC announced a 50bps reserve requirement hike, bringing the reserve ratio up to 16.50%. The RR hike will take effect on May 20th, and is the fourth RR hike this year.

· Looking ahead, on the data front there is one economic release scheduled in the
US today, and that is the April monthly budget statement due at 14:00 ET. In Fed speak the Fed's Evans is due to speak about the US economic outlook in Illinois this morning, while the Fed's Lockhart is due to speak at a financial markets conference this evening. On the earnings front, today will be the big day this week in terms of volume; key earnings reports expected in the pre-market today include Charter Communications (CHTR), Gerdau Ameristeel Corp. (GNA), Holly Corporation (HOC), JA Solar Holdings (JASO), and MBIA (MBI).

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