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Thursday May 29, 2008 - 11:16:59 GMT
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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Russian Chatter of Ruble Revaluation Continues to Circulate; UK Nationwide House Prices Slide


·UK May Nationwide House Prices: M/M -2.5% v -0.5%e || Prior revised from -1.1% to -0.9% |||| Y/Y -4. 4% v -2.1%e

·GE Apr ILO Unemployment Rate: 7.4% v 7.3%e || Prior revised from 7.3% to 7.4%

·SP May Preliminary Harmonized CPI Y/Y: 4. 7% v 4.3%e

·SP Apr Adjusted Real Retail Sales Y/Y: -3.4% v -3. 5%e

·SP Apr Real Retail Sales: -0.3% v -8.7% prior

·SZ Q1 Employment Level: 3.899M v 3.894Me

·SZ Q1 Employment Level Y/Y: 2.8% v 2.6%e

·GE May Unemployment Rate: 7.9% v 7.8%e

·GE May Unemployment Change: +4K v -25Ke

·EU Apr M-3 Y/Y: 10.6% v 10.3% || Prior revised from 10.3% to 10.1%

·EU Apr M-3 3-Month Avg: 10.7% v 10.7%e || Prior revised from 11.1% to 11.0%

·NO Apr Retail Sales: M/M 0.4% v 0.6%e || Y/Y 3.2% v 3.8%e

·IT Mar Large Company Employment: 0.2% v 0.3% prior

·EU May Business Climate: 0.54 v 0.41e || Prior revised from 0.44 to 0.43

·EU May Consumer Confidence: -15 v -12e

·EU May Economic Confidence: 97.1 v 96.8e

·EU May Industrial Confidence: -2 v -2e

·EU May Services Confidence: 9 v 7e


·In equity news overnight, Yahoo's (YHOO) CEO Yang says Microsoft (MSFT) has a lot of interest in a deal with YHOO, and that they are listening. Yang said that he feels that a combination with MSFT has a tremendous amount of power. KMG Chemicals (KMGB) guided FY08 revenue “above $135M” v $148.6Me; Furthermore KMGB said that they expect 2008 EPS to be 10%-20% below 2007's $0.80, implying $0.64-0.72 v $0.99e. GE Energy (GE) signed contracts for more than $500M to support projects in Saudi Arabia Costco (COST) reported Q3 earnings of $0.67 overnight, above estimates of $0.65, and revenue of $16.61B, above estimates of $16.35B. Total same store sales for the quarter were +8.0%. Infineon (IFX) guided Q3 revenue flat sequentially, noting that they expect Q3 EBIT to post a sequential decline. The company cited lower volumes in some wireless platform projects for the revised outlook, adding that results in Q4 are expected to improve from Q3.

·In the newspapers overnight the Wall Street Journal wrote that General Motors (GM) is expected to announce new cost cutting measures. The measures will be announced at GM's annual shareholder meeting on June 3. According to the Independent Barclays (BCS) Bank has revised down its calculation of analysts' consensus for its FY profit for the second time this month. Barclays cut the figure for 2008 by nearly 8% after a drop of 15% two weeks ago.

·In energy news overnight Petroleos Mexicanos said that they will miss their production target of 3.1M barrels of oil per day. The UAE's OPEC Governor said overnight that the UAE is ready to raise crude production if needed. The Governor added that oil markets are satisfied and that no extra demand seen, asserting that he sees no good explanation of why oil prices are so high. The New York Times noted overnight that record gas prices are causing some gas stations to price gasoline by half- gallon increments. The equipment of some gas stations is too old to calculate prices above $3.99/gallon. According to the Wall Street Journal the US DoE said that oil exporters cannot keep up with demand. The amount of petroleum products shipped by the world's top oil exporters fell 2.5% in 2007, while prices rose by 57%. The reasons for the declining exports include aging oil fields and low investment levels. The article notes that
Saudi Arabia has become a major energy consumer and since 2004 its oil consumption rose by about 23% to 2.3M barrels. Energy Intelligence wrote overnight that the volumes of Iranian oil in floating storage will start decreasing in June as customers who deferred liftings over the past two months because of refinery turnarounds, especially in Asia, begin increasing nominations, a senior Iranian oil official says. NIOC's Hojatollah Ghanimifard adds that shipping agents' reports that over 30 million barrels of crude are being stored on 17 VLCCs are exaggerated and that the current total is less than 20 million barrel.

·On the speaker front overnight the Fed's Fisher said overnight that the Fed will not let inflation get out of control, adding that the Fed could hike even if the economy is still weak. Furthermore Fisher said that if inflation worsens he expects that a rate hike could come sooner than later. In the Q&A session Fisher said that he is not forecasting a recession, but rather a slowdown in the economic cycle. Fisher added that inflation expectations and pressures are too high, noting that inflation remains a big risk. Finally, Fisher noted that worst-case scenarios for the economy have not played out. The ECB's Trichet said overnight that the Euro acts as a shield against global challenges, adding that the Euro seems more necessary today than 10 years ago. Trichet added that the job of central banks is to preserve medium-term price stability. The Russian Central Bank Head said overnight that conditions are favorable to lower inflation in the near future, adding that they may widen currency band. The Spanish Economy Minister said overnight that the 2.3% growth forecast this year may not be met. The French Finance Minister said overnight that the April jobless results are probably very good, adding that the French deficit will not be above 3.0% in 2009. The finance minister also reiterated that the strong Euro is hurting competitiveness, but helps cope with higher oil prices. The Norwegian Stats Agency revised some of the forecasts that they had issued in February. The Stats agency forecasted 2008 non-oil GDP growth of 2.9%, up from the previous forecast of 2.8%, and forecasted a money market rate of 6.3%, up from the previous forecast of 5.7%. The Stats agency also boosted its forecasts for the 2009 money market rate, core CPI, non-oil GDP, and wage growth. An Icelandic central bank economist said overnight that the Sedlabanki may resume rate increases as the weaker Krona is fueling inflation faster than was forecasted. The economist noted that Icelandic inflation may exceed the forecast rates in Q3 and Q4.

·In currency news overnight the Slovakian Koruna was revalued by 17.6472% overnight, with a new band to the Euro at 25.6071-34.6449. Following the Slovakian Central Bank's revaluation the ECB said that the revaluation was justified by ongoing improvements in underlying fundamentals and is based on a firm commitment by Slovak authorities to maintain price stability in a stable manner. Furthermore the ECB said that Slovakian anti-inflation measures include adopting an even tighter fiscal stance if warranted by inflation. Some recent dealer chatter began re-circulating overnight that
Russia may revalue its currency in an attempt to combat inflation. Recall that on Tuesday the Russian Central Banks said that they were not ruling out a Ruble revaluation as an anti-inflation measure. The Ukraine Central Bank said overnight that they are prepared to buy dollars at a rate of 4.84 Hryvnia to the dollar. Without any further explanation the Polish Economy Minister Pawlak said that the Polish Central Bank should avoid Zloty appreciation. In trading the USD maintained a firm footing against the majors. European currency dealers focused in on hawkish comments from the Fed's Fisher after the NY close on Wednesday. Most notably Fisher said that the Fed will not let inflation get out of control adding that the Fed could raise interest rates even if US economy remained weak. The yield on the US 2 year was broadly higher from yesterday, up 13 basis points. The Spread between the US and German 2-year notes narrowed back down to low 150 basis point area from the 170 basis point area on Wednesday. The EUR/USD was also hampered by re-circulated chatter that Russia may revalue its currency to combat inflationary pressures. There was similar talk on this topic in early May. Dealers noted that under the Russian inflation scenario, the Russian Central bank would often set off a procedure in which it bought USD/RUB then purchased EUR/USD to maintain a ''balance'' in its currency basket. This neutralized the USD and helped to firm the Euro. Under the Russian revalue scenario, dealers noted that the operation would diminish for the time being.

·In new supply overnight
Italy sold €2.5B in 3. 75% 2011 bonds with an average yield of 4.49% and a bid-to-cover of 1.57x, as well as €3.0B in 4.50% 2018 bonds with an average yield of 4.86% and a bid-to-cover of 1.42x, and €750M in 2012 floating rate notes with a bid-to- cover of 1.89x. The Wall Street Journal wrote in an analysis piece overnight that various banks have been reporting significantly lower borrowing costs for the Libor rate than what another market measure suggests they should be. The banks include Citigroup, WestLB, HBOS, JP Morgan and UBS. The lower borrowing costs is having an impact on Libor and has led the benchmark to act as if the banking system was doing better than it was at critical junctures in the financial crisis. The BBA is expected to on Friday report on possible adjustments to the system, but that report is not expected to recommend any major changes.

·On the data front in the
UK overnight Nationwide House Prices declined by much more than expected, with both the m/m and y/y readings at their lowest levels since records began in February of 1991. The average home price was £173,583 in May. According to Nationwide's Chief Economist, weak economic news along with tighter credit conditions added to the negative housing market sentiment. Preliminary harmonized y/y inflation in Spain rose to 4.7%, its highest level since records began in January of 1997. As has been the case of late, higher food and energy prices were are being cited for the rise in inflation. In Spain, home-building permits declined by 70.2% y/y in March to 35,513. Euro-Zone M-3 data for the month of April was mixed with the Y/Y reading coming in a 10.6%, above estimates of 10.3%, while the 3-month average was in line with expectations at 10.7%. The data was accompanied by slight revisions to the back month reading.

·Looking ahead, on the data front preliminary Q1 annualized GDP, personal consumption, core PCE, and price index data, along with the weekly initial jobless claims, and continuing claims are all due out at 8:30 ET this morning. Shortly thereafter the April help wanted index is due out for the month of April is due at
10:00 ET. In new supply the Treasury is scheduled to sell up to $19B in 5-year notes. On the earnings front US notables Big Lots (BIG), HJ Heinz (HNZ), and Sears Holdings (SHLD) are due out in the pre-market this morning.


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