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Monday June 23, 2008 - 11:11:26 GMT
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Forex Blog - European Market Update: German IFO Declines; French and Euro-Zone PMI Figures Signal Contraction


·UK June Rightmove House Prices: M/M -1.2% v 1.2% prior; Y/Y 0.1% v 2.2% prior

·FR June Preliminary Manufacturing PMI: 49.2 v 51.0e

·FR June Preliminary Services PMI: 49.2 v 50. 8e

·GE June Advanced Manufacturing PMI: 52.3 v 53.2e

·GE June Advanced Service PMI: 53.3 v 53.1e

·GE June Business Climate: 101.3 v 102.5e

·GE June Current Assessment: 108.3 v 109.0

·GE June Expectations: 94.7 v 96.3e || Prior revised from 97.3 to 97.2

·EU June Advanced Manufacturing PMI: 49.1 v 50.2e

·EU June Advanced Services PMI: 49.5 v 50.5e

·EU June Advanced Composite PMI: 49.5 v 50.7e


·In equity news overnight SCS Upholstery [SUY.UK] announced overnight that it received an approach, noting that due diligence is underway. TDG [TDG.UK] confirmed that it is still in talks with Laxey, noting that the extension has been granted to give Laxey the time to finalize the financing for the offer. Weir Group [WEIR.UK] announced overnight that it will divide its operations into three divisions. The company also forecasted that they will report their FY pretax at the upper end of consensus expectations Aggreko [AGK.UK] noted that 1H trading has been strong, adding that they see their FY08 profit above market expectations. Bunge (BG) confirmed the Wall Street Journal report overnight that it will acquired Corn Products (CPO) for $56/share. The total value of the acquisition is $4.8B including the assumption of $414M in Corn Products' debt. Bunge also to raised its FY08 guidance to $9.35-$9. 65, up from the previous range of $7.10-$7.40. The current consensus for FY08 is $7.70.

·In the newspapers, according to the Wall Street Journal Citigroup (C) is expected to announce job cuts in its investment banking unit; As much as 10% (6,500 jobs) of the company's investment banking unit could be cut. The Financial Times reported that art sales in June are expected to hit a new record. Both Sotheby's (BID) and Christie's may sell a combined $790M of art during the period. The Independent wrote that KKR (KFN) may be mulling a bid for Babcock & Brown [BNB.AU] The Financial Times noted overnight that Rio Tinto [RIO.AU] and BHP [BHP.AU] have asked their Chinese clients to accept record price increases for iron ore or risk supply interruptions. Der Spiegel wrote overnight that Lloyds TSB [LLOY.UK] has made a non-binding bid for Allianz's [ALV.GE] Dresdner Bank unit. The Financial Times wrote overnight that Goldman Sachs (GS) is expected to cut as much as 10% of its investment banking workforce. The Wall Street Journal reported overnight that over the past few weeks bank executives have encountered unexpected resistance from investors as they seek to raise capital

·In energy news overnight the Times wrote that OPEC could seek to raise production following the Jeddah oil meeting. The Times report, which cites sources, said that other OPEC countries in addition to Saudi Arabia, may seek to raise their output levels. According to source reports Nigerian rebel group MEND reportedly declared a unilateral ceasefire; Effective on Tuesday at midnight. A Haaretz article downplayed Friday's New York Times report about an Israeli military drill that could have been preparation for a future attack on Iran. The Haaretz article noted that Israel has not made any decisions on Iran and that the country was preparing for a potential worst-case scenario. According to the Lundberg Survey, the price for a regular gallon of US gasoline was $4.10 (record); The survey notes that gasoline prices may start to move lower due to more oil coming onto the market Colombia's Cano Limon oil pipeline (225K bpd) has been reportedly attacked by rebels. In a radio interview overnight OPEC President Khelil said he does not see demand on world oil market for extra production output, adding that OPEC and Non-OPEC producers can only raise output if there is a demand for more oil. Khelil said that oil prices will remain high until end of 2008, and, when asked, noted that he does not believe that oil will rapidly hit $200/barrel. Khekil point out that oil prices will fluctuate due to geopolitics, USD and ECB interest rate decisions.

·In fixed income news overnight, orders for Belgium's 5-year Dollar benchmark bond are reportedly over $1.0B. According to the Times' Economics Editor, the Bank of England's most recent comments on interest rates were intended to be neutral, and were not an attempt to signal early rate hikes. The Financial Times wrote overnight that, according to former Fed Governor Larry Meyer, recent hawkish talk by the Fed represents a "conditional commitment" to raise rates if the sources of inflation risk deteriorate, but the market has problems distinguishing this from an "unconditional signal that policy tightening is imminent". The Financial Times noted overnight that various US bond insurers are talking with bankers about cancelling out $125B of credit default swap contracts. The swaps were sold by bond insurers to banks. The Financial Times reported overnight that UK wage settlements may become a threat to the government's inflation targets.

·In currencies the USD was broadly firmer against the majors as evidence of slower economic growth appeared in Europe. The EUR/USD probed the 1.5500 level after French PMI data showed that a contraction is occurring in both its manufacturing and service sectors, while German IFO data came in below expectations. IFO members were divided on the position of whether the ECB needs to enact further policy tightening. The GBP was softer after MPC hawk Sentence lightened his view on inflation. The GBP/USD was down 100 pips at 1.9650 after Sentence noted that slower economic growth should help to bring inflation back towards the 2.0% target level.

·On the speaker front, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) left its 2008 GDP forecast unchanged at 1.9%, and cut its 2009 GDP forecast to 1.3% from 1.5%. SECO raised the 2008 CPI forecast to 2.5% from 1.7%. The agency also forecasted the 2008 unemployment at 2.5%, and the 2009 unemployment at 2.6%, and said that that prolonged financial market turmoil is main risk for the economy. Elsewhere on the Swiss front the Swiss KOF institute cut its 2008 GDP growth forecast to 2.0% from its previous forecast of 2.1%, and cut its 2009 forecast to 1. 8% from 2.0%. The KOF raised its 2008 CPI forecast to 2.6% from its previous forecast of 1.7%, and raise the 2009 CPI forecast to 1.4% from 1. 1%> the KOF also noted that they expect the SNB to adopt a “wait-and- see” policy stance. The ECB's Liebscher said overnight that Post-July rate decisions hinge on the future noting that the ECB must maintain its 'tough' stance as inflation is 'alarming'. Liebscher said that there is some chance that second round effects will materialize, and reiterated that inflation will persist much longer than previously thought. Liebscher also said that he does not trust that slower GDP will tame inflation. The BOE's Sentance said that the BOE must ensure that commodity price inflation does not become broad base. Sentance added that wages must not rise in line with the temporary increase in headline inflation. Sentance asserted that weaker UK housing market and economy will offset rising prices over the next year. Sentance added on noting that CPI has not noticeably affected wage demands, ressuring that the BOE will take CPI to 2.0% in a “reasonable time frame”. Furthermore Sentence said that slower growth will help to offset inflation pressure. The head of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) reiterated the BDI's 2008 German GDP forecast of 2.0% overnight. The BDI head added that German industries benefit from the strong Euro. Following the release of the IFO sentiment index the IFO's Abberger said that he sees no room for a significant ECB rate hike. Abberger said the he does not see any signs of a recession in Germany, adding that German firms are suffering from high oil prices. The IFO's Nerb said that Euro strength is weighing on companies' margins and exports. Furthermore Nerb added that economic conditions do not warrant an ECB rate hike, noting that it does make much sense for the ECB to raise rates.

·*** NOTES ***

·Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote in the Telegraph overnight about the Irish vote on the Lisbon treaty, as well as speculation that Poland and the Czech Republic would not ratify the treaty. He drove the point that “the survival of EMU does not depend on Lisbon as such, although the failure of the treaty would make it harder for the EU to orchestrate a covert bail out, but there is a deeper issue at stake. As the Bundesbank warned long ago, EMU will eventually buckle under strain over time without the cement of political union. This means a de facto EU treasury, a unified wage system, and the plausible prospect of a debt and pensions pool. None of this exists. Nor will it.” As noted over the previous couple of weeks developments related to the Lisbon Treaty could have major implications for the future of the Euro-Area.

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