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Friday August 29, 2008 - 11:11:52 GMT
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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Euro-Zone CPI Estimate Cools from Recent High

*** DATA ***

·UK Aug GFK Consumer Confidence: -36 v -41e

·SP July Real Retail Sales Y/Y: -4. 8% v -10.2%e

·SP July Adjusted Real Retail Sales Y/Y: -6.0% v -7. 1%e

·SP June Current Account: -€8.5B v -€9.4B prior

·SW Q2 Current Account (sek): 38.8B v 77.6B prior || Prior revised from 81.1B to 77.6B

·IT June Retail Sales: M/M -0.5% v -0.1%e || Y/Y -3.4% v -0. 5%e

·NO July Retail Sales: M/M -0.6% v 0.1%e || Y/Y 1.5% v 2. 6%e

·IT Aug Preliminary CPI: M/M 0.1% v 0.5%e || Y/Y 4.0% v 4. 0%e

·IT Aug Preliminary CPI Harmonized: M/M 0.0% v -0.2%e || Y/Y 4. 2% v 4.0%e

·EU Aug CPI Estimate: 3.8% v 4.0%e

·EU July Unemployment Rate: 7.3% v7.3%e

·EU Aug Business Climate Indicator: - 0.33 v -0.30e || Prior revised from -0.21 to -0.20

·EU Aug Consumer Confidence: -19 v -20e

·EU Aug Economic Confidence: 88.8 v 89. 3e

·EU Aug Industrial Confidence: -10 v -9e

·EU Aug Services Confidence: 3 v 1e


·Dexia [DX.FR] reported Q2 net income of €532M, down from €787M a year ago, noting a tier 1 ratio of 11.4% at the end of June. Dexia noted that 2H will be marked by volatility and uncertainty. Dexia added that FSA provisions had a €216M impact on net income. [Shares were +3.1% in early trading]. Norddeutsche Affinerie [NDA.GE] reported Q3 net income of €48M, up from €23M a year ago, EBIT of €88M, up from €43M, and revenue of €2.62B up from €1.72B. Norddeutsche said that they are positive on their Q4 outlook. [Shares were +0.2% in early trading]. Banca Monte Dei Paschi Siena [BMPS.IT] reported 1H net income of €522.2M, up slightly from the €513.8M a year ago. Fees for 1H were €247.5M, down from €260.2M a year ago. The bank noted a tier 1 capital ratio 5.1%. [Shares were +0.4% in early trading]. PPR [PP.FR] reported 1H net income €344M, above consensus expectations of €327Me, and revenue of €9.6B, which was flat year over year. PPR noted that its EBITDA margin was 9.8%, up from 9.0% a year ago. PPR said that they are confident in their 2H results, and confirmed their FY08 targets. [Shares were +3.9% in early trading]. Novartis [NOVN.SZ] announced overnight that it decided not to pursue development of Aurograb due to the lack of efficacy in phase 2 results. The company will incur a $235M charge in Q3 of FY08. [Shares were -0.1% in early trading]. Ipsen [IPN.FR] reported 1H net income of €111.1M, up from €78.2M a year ago, operating income of €145.9M, up from a €112.9M a year ago, and revenue of €551.1M, up from €498.6M a year ago. [Shares were +4.2% in early trading]. Aeroports de Paris [ADP.FR] reported 1H net income of €127.1M, up from €114.5M a year ago, EBITDA of €404.2M up from €364.1M a year ago, and revenue of €1.21B, up from €1.08B a year ago. ADP reiterated its outlook for FY08. [Shares were +0.1% in early trading]. Bradford & Bingley [BB.UK] reported 1H net income of £236.1M, up from £325.5M y/y, and pretax of £70.2M, down from the £181.3M a year ago. The company noted an impairment charge of £74.6M for the 1H. Furthermore that company noted that 1H arrears levels continued to rise, and said that they are still cautious on the economy. [Shares were +0.5% in early trading].

·In macro related news, according to the IRS pay deals in the
UK rose to 3.5% in the 3 months to July, remaining 1.5% below retail price inflation. According to the Times the UK's Chancellor and Housing Minister have proposed to next week announce emergency measures for the UK mortgage market. The plan could encourage councils to offer low-income families at risk of repossession the opportunity to sell a stake of their property in return for financial aid. German Labor union IG Metall is reportedly ready to have temporary strikes. The union said that it plans to make a pay demand recommendation on September 8th. Recall that according to a report from 8/24 the labor union may demand a larger wage raise than in 2007. In 2007, the union requested a 6.5% wage hike.

·In currencies the USD was mildly weaker during the European shift, but remained within the 1.4670 to 1.4800 range seen throughout the most of the week. The softer Euro-Zone CPI data helped to cap further Euro gains at this time. However, ECB members continued to stress the importance of containing any secondary effects of inflation. The JPY was broadly firmer against its major pairs following the details of the Japanese economic stimulus package valued around ¥11.7T.

·On the speaker front overnight the ECB's Bini Smaghi said that inflation remains too high, noting that inflation must be brought down to the ECB's target of 2.0%. Bini Smaghi asserted that interest rates are the ECB's only tool against inflation. The ECB's Liebscher said overnight that there is no reason for the ECB to relax on its inflation stance. Liebscher reiterated that the ECB must curb inflation expectations, adding that price stability remains the ECB's primary objective.

·*** NOTES ***

·There have been two prevalent themes throughout the final week in August. The first theme is the slight decline in annual inflation as measured by the recent CPI figures in
Europe. The second theme this week was the ECB's renewal of its firm stance on inflation. Despite the recent decline in European inflation figures the ECB reiterated its tough stance on inflation, and rightfully so as oil price are not the only inflation threat that Europe faces at the moment. With talks of an IG Metall strike in the works wage developments will be key in the coming months. It should also be noted that the decline in annual inflation figures was miniscule. Inflation is still well above the ECB's 2.0% target, and “they're willing to do what it takes to bring inflation down”. While lower oil prices have curbed any speculation about another ECB hike in the works, the ECB members themselves squashed the idea of a cut in 2008. Despite this we are seeing calls for an ECB cut in 2009. During today's session Barclays updated their ECB outlook. The bank previously forecasted that the ECB would hold rates, and now expected the ECB to cut interest rates by 25bps in March of 2009. In one sentence, this week can be characterized by the ECB seeming to say 'hey guys, don't get ahead of yourselves, we're not out of the dark yet; we still have work to do, and we're going to get it done'.

·Another theme, which is less of a theme and more of a circulating question was the following: are we witnessing a EUR/USD retracement, or a EUR/USD reversal? I cannot answer this for you, nor can I give you my personal opinion. However, I will say that a smart man told me that, [SIC] “the EUR/USD trend of Euro strength has been in the works for around six years now. Is this a reversal? I can't say for sure, but it seems to me that the trend is over done. It's time for change”. Best of luck everyone.

·“Last words are for fools who haven't said enough.” - Karl Marx


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