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Friday July 25, 2008 - 11:09:32 GMT
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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Long is the way and hard..


·GE June Import Price Index: M/M 1.5% v 1.0%e || Y/Y 8.9% v 8.4%

·IT July Retailers Confidence: 98.4 v 107.0 prior || Prior revised from 107.3 to 107. 0

·SW June Trade Balance (sek): 8.3B v 10.0B prior || Prior revised from 10.3B to 10.0B

·EU June M-3 Y/Y: 9.5% v 10.3%e

·EU June M-3 3-Month Avg.: 9.9% v 10.4%e

·UK Q2 Advanced GDP: Q/Q 0.2% v 0. 2%e || Y/Y 1.6% v 1.6%e

·IC July CPI: M/M 0.9% v 0.6%e || Y/Y 13.6% v 13.2%e


·In equity news Belgacom [BELG.BE] reported 1H net income of €471M, in line with consensus estimates, EBITDA of €1.02B in line with estimates of €1.04Be, and revenue of €2.B, also in line with estimates. The company guided FY08 revenue down 2%; the company had previously guided revenue down 1%. Infineon [IFX.GE] reported a Q3 net loss of €592M, well below the expected loss of €270M, however the company noted that the headline net included a charge related to a Qimonda writedown. Revenue was in line with consensus estimates at €1.03B. The company also announced that it plans to cut 3,000 jobs. Infineon anticipates €200M in savings within five quarters following the staff reduction. Groupe Danone [BN.FR] reports 1H net income of €701M, above estimates of €670M, and revenue of €7.7B, in line with consensus forecasts. Danone guided FY08 revenue growth of 8%-10%, and EPS growth of “at least 15%”. The company also expects its FY08 operating margin target to improve to a range of 40bps-50bps, up from its previous expectations of 30bps. Rentokil Initial [RTO.UK] cut its FY08 pretax forecast by £35M overnight. The company said that problems associated with the restructuring of the its UK washrooms business and the integration of its washrooms and pest control acquisitions in Australia have continued throughout the second quarter. Rentokil added that trading has deteriorated in the company's Textiles & Washrooms division during the quarter, noting that it expects problems to continue for at least the remainder of the year. Munich Re [MUV2.GE] cut its profit guidance overnight citing instability in the global markets. The company guided FY08 profit of “well over €2.0B,” which compares to the €3.75B consensus estimate. The company had previously guided €3.0B-€4.0B. Munich Re said that its long-term targets remain unchanged.

·In currencies, dealers noted that the reality of "gloom and doom" brought back the risk aversion theme back into the picture. Multiple corporate profit warnings, soft housing data coupled with higher foreclosures and ongoing financials woes continued to simmer on the front burner. The JPY Carry related currency pairs were softer at the European open as EUR/JPY tested 167.50 and USD/JPY dipped back below its 200-day moving average. The EUR/USD was firmer by 35 pips to 1.5725 during the session as German import prices were above expectations and the ECB's Leibscher reiterated his hawkish stance afterwards.

·On the speaker front the ECB's Liebscher said overnight that the ECB has further room to maneuver on interest rates, adding that it is better to act preventively. Liebscher said that the interest rate level is good for now, adding that he does not expect recession in Europe. Liebscher noted that the ECB is far from giving the "all clear" on inflation. In the UK overnight NIESR forecasted GDP growth of 1.5% in 2008, and 1.4% in 2009. The research institute said that the Bank of England should raise interest rates in order to contain inflation expectations, forecasting inflation of 4.1% by the fourth quarter.

·*** NOTES ***

·All was relatively quiet in Europe overnight. The import price index data rose to its highest y/y level since November of 2000 as a result of energy price inflation, while advanced Q2 GDP readings in the UK were at their lowest levels since 1H of 2005. While we're all well aware of the growth vs. inflation scenario by this point, I would just like to point out once again that inflation is leading to multi-year highs in most of the inflation gauging economic data, while growth data is at multi year lows. As has been the case over the past couple of weeks the ECB has stepped up its hawkish tone. The ECB's Liebscher maintained that the ECB does not have any bias going forward, but reminded us that the ECB still had room to maneuver on rates, and seeks to act in a preventive manner. Now, we saw lower than expected M3 data in Europe overnight, with readings back below the 10% level. Coupled with declining commodity prices (if sustained) declining M3 could by the ECB some time to pause. Simultaneously we must consider the threat of second round effects, with particular emphasis on wage developments. According to the Verdi Union Lufthansa's ground and cabin staff are set to commence a strike on Monday. If we continue to encounter more employer-employee scuffles over wage rates the materialization of second round effects cannot be ruled out. Munich Re, the world's largest reinsurance company, hacked its outlook overnight citing market conditions, leading to similar comments by other companies including Hannover Re. A number of other big European reinsurance companies promptly declined to discuss their respective situations. If the reinsurance companies begin to get wobbly in the knees, theoretically, it could lead to higher systemic risk. RealtyTrac data released for the US was depressing as it show that US foreclosure filings rose by 121% y/y. According to RealtyTrac 1 out of every 171 homes in the US is in default. Although statistically less than 1% of homes are in default the outlook is still quite grim. If things continue to progress in the same manner over the next year then what? Dogs dating cats? That's insanity! Before we can all mull this over for the weekend we'll see a few notable earnings in the US this morning including Black & Decker (BDK), Coventry Health Care (CVH), Fortune Brands (FO), ITT Corp. (ITT), and Netflix (NFLX).

·“Put me back on my bike!” - Tom Simpson (last words before dying on Mont Ventoux during the 1967 Tour de France)

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