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Monday June 16, 2008 - 11:25:05 GMT
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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Euro-Zone CPI on the Approach of 4.0%

  *** ECONOMIC DATA ***

·SZ Apr Adjusted Real Retail Sales Y/Y: -9.4% v 4.1%

·SW May Average House Prices SEK1.773M v 1.787M prior || Prior revised from 1.787M to 1. 809M

·IT Q1 Labor Costs: Q/Q 4.0% v 0.6% prior || Y/Y 5.6% v 2.5% prior || Prior revised from 2.5% to 2.8%

·EU May CPI: M/M 0.6% v 0. 6%e || Y/Y 3.7% v 3.6%e || Core CPI Y/Y 1.7% v 1.8%e

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

·In equity news overnight an analyst at JP Morgan said overnight that the worst is over for European banks. The analyst speculated that Deutsche Bank may writedown an extra €3.6B, Credit Suisse may writedown an extra CHF2.1B, Societe Generale may writedown an extra €1.8B, and Natixis may writedown an extra 1.4B. Barclays [BARC.UK] responded to press reports overnight noting that issuance of new equity is under consideration. Instore [INST.UK] announced overnight that it is in talks with a third party which may or may not lead to an offer for the company. Alstom [ALO.FR] announced €1.0B in contracts with Essent in the
Netherlands. The contracts are for the repowering of Claus B and the construction of Claus C, resulting in a 1,280 MW GT26-based combined-cycle power plant. Mexico's Axtel denied having plans to acquired Spain's Banco Popular [POP.SP] overnight, noting that it is not participating in, nor does it intend to participate in any transactions involving Banco Popular.

·In energy news overnight the Secretary General of the UN noted that
Saudi Arabia will increase oil production by 200K bpd in July. The UN's Secretary General added that Saudi Arabia raised production in June by 300K bpd. The Wall Street Journal wrote questioned overnight whether Saudi Arabia can effectively reduce the upward pressure on oil prices. According to the article, Saudi Arabia does not currently have its usual leverage over oil markets. Some industry insiders believe that in order to lower oil prices, Saudi Arabia may seek to raise production and discount prices. The article adds that some analysts believe that if Saudi Arabia attempts to lower crude oil prices it could have a fleeting impact on markets and could even lead to higher prices. Furthermore on the Saudi front, CNBC said in a report citing sources that Saudi Arabia will not be able to meet its pledge to boost output. The BBC reported overnight that talks are expected to resume between Shell's [RDSA. UK] tanker drivers and subcontractors today. The workers started a strike over wages on Friday. In related news the UK government has raised its terrorist threat warning in the UAE to high from general, noting that a terror attack in the UAE could occur "any time". The government warns of potential attacks on expats in the UAE. Statoilhydro [STL.NO] announced a gas find in the Norwegian Sea estimated at 1B-3B cubic meters.

·In fixed income related news overnight, according to a press report citing a leaked copy of a Bank of England paper, high oil prices add to perceived pressures from CPI. The paper said that perceived CPI and CPI expectations have risen "materially," adding that there is no clear evidence CPI expectations rose in recent years. The paper added that persistent high CPI expectations could become a key risk. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) lowered its 2009 GDP growth forecast to 1.3% from 1.7% overnight, adding that they see CPI peaking in at 3.8% in Q3.

·On the speaker front the ECB's Papademos said overnight that EU inflation may remain above 3% for a protracted period, adding that upside risks to price stability remain in the medium to long term. The EU's Almunia reiterated overnight that he sees upside risks to the EU's inflation forecasts. The ECB's Tumpel- Gugerell said in an interview with Wirtschaftsblatt that inflation at 3.6% is a warning signal. He added that the ECB is in a state of heightened vigilance, noting that medium-term inflation risks have increased, and adding that inflation is seen around 3.0% in the short-term. Tumpel- Gugerell added that the ECB has noted strong volatility in the Euro, adding that they are currently analyzing the implications for inflation and growth. Belgian Finance Minister Reynders said overnight that the ECB should pay attention to growth, adding that the ECB should hold rates at 4% if inflation slows in H2. Reynders added that Trichet may have been too fast in flagging a rate hike, adding that he sees slowing inflation in 2H08. The ECB's Gonzalez Paramo said overnight that the inflation trend is dangerous, adding that inflation expectations must be anchored. Paramo noted that the ECB has reached a consensus despite differing economic outlooks. The German DIHK Institute raised its 2008 GDP growth forecast to 2.3% from 2.0% overnight, and put its 2009 GDP forecast between 1.0% and 1.5%. DIHK said that the strong Euro is slowing but not stopping export growth. The DIHK noted that inflation is returning and acknowledged that there are signs that central banks will raise rates. Furthermore the DIHK said that a “small” interest rate increase would be appropriate to anchor inflation expectations.

·In currencies the USD was softer in European trading as some doubts emerged whether the Saudi's can actually deliver the 10M B
PD production output that is being proposed. The is EUR/USD at 1.5430 after opening the week at the 1.5350 area. Dealers continue to circulate chatter that an option barrier remains well protected at 1.5250. The USD/JPY continues to hit fresh 3-month highs above the 108.55 level. The JPY is softer as European equity markets maintain a steady tone in positive territory. The GBP was broadly firmer as positive chatter circulates in regards to capital raising by UK banks. GBP/USD at 1.9600, up 116 pips since the Asian open and EUR/GBP cross at 0.7872, lower by 20 pips for the session. In related news an Ex-Japanese MOF Official Sakakibara (better known as "Mr. Yen") said overnight that the G8 statement was weaker than expected, speculating that coordinated USD intervention is not likely. Sakakibara said that Japanese intervention on EUR/JPY is possible, and expressed concerns about the Vietnam Dong.

·*** NOTES ***

·There has been a lot of talk, speculation, and criticism about the ECB's upcoming policy-setting meeting on July 3rd after the ECB's Trichet effectively signaled a rate hike. There has since been speculation that perhaps the ECB would opt for a smaller rate hike than usual. Recall comments from the ECB's Trichet in early June. On June 5th Trichet said that he sees a “small rate hike” similar in size to past rate hikes. Trichet effectively shot down any speculation about the possibility of a 12. 5bps rate hike at the July policy-setting meeting. Despite this criticism, speculation, and assessment has been heard continuously from all levels. Recall the ECB's Noyer using the term “small rate hike” on June 11th, just as the German DIHK institute did today. While the ECB is said to have agreed upon the need for an interest rate hike despite the members' differing economic views it is interesting to note that there is an underlying tone of hesitance. The hesitance grows the further that you move away from the policy-setters, take for example comments from the Belgian Finance Minister today noting that perhaps Trichet raised the flag on rates too soon. The point that I'm driving at here is that slowing economic growth still remains a major concern in the marketplace and one does not have to dig deep to find it.

·The Irish vote on the Lisbon Treaty did not stir up much of a market reaction last week, especially when you take the market reaction seen in 2005 when the French and Dutch voted against it. This seems to imply that markets believe that the EU will be able to steamroll its way through the situation as
Ireland is small, however there are some that do not think that it will be so easy. While the vote is out of the way and the story is on the back burner, this could appear again in 2008.

 

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