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Monday September 15, 2008 - 11:03:37 GMT
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Forex Blog - European market Update: Chicken Little was an optimist; European equities slump, yield curve steepens on risk aversion


- (FR) July Current Account (EUR): -€3.8B v -€4.3B prior.

- (SZ) July Retail Sales (Real) YoY: 6.2% v 2.3%e

- (SZ) August Producer & Import Prices M/M: -0.5% v -0.2%e; Y/Y: 4.0% v 4.3%e; The prior number was 4. 9%

- (DE) August Wholesale Prices M/M: % v 0.7% prior; Y/Y% v 11. 0% prior.

- (IT) August CPI (NIC incl. tobacco) M/M: 0.1% v 0.1%e; Y/Y: 4.1% v 4.0%e;

- (IT) August CPI (EU-harmonized) M/M: 0.0% v 0.0%e; Y/Y: 4.2% v 4.2%e

- (NO) August Trade Balance (Kroner): 41. 1BB v 37.4B prior.

- (EU) Q2 Euro-Zone Labor Costs YoY: 2.7% v 3. 5%e;

- (RU) Russia Aug Industrial Production Y/Y: 4.7% v 5. 0%e


- Lehman Brothers [LEH] declared chapter 11-bankruptcy protection; None of broker dealer subsidiaries or other subsidiaries will be included in Chapter 11 filing. Exploring sale of broker dealer operations. UK FSA stated that it is working with US regulators to ensure orderly liquidation of Lehman
UK operations. The regulator added that is working with London Clearing to limit market impact. ||Bank of America [BAC] Acquired Merrill Lynch [MER] for $50B in a stock transaction (which represented about $29/share compared to Friday's close of $17.05). || Biovitrum [BVT.SW] announced its intent to acquire Kepivance and Stemgen and exclusively license Kineret for $130M from Amgen [AMGN]. || Ciba [CIBN.SZ} Germany's BASF [BAS.GE] made an offer to acquire company for CHF50/shr in cash, deal valued at CHF6.1B. BASF's CEO stated that the company will continue stock added that it did not need to sell K+S stake to help fund its Ciba bid. || Basilea [BSLN.SZ] FDA accepted for review the Complete Response to Ceftobiprole NDA Approvable Letter. ||NicOx [COX.FR] Announced 2nd naproxcinod pivotal phase 3 study meets efficacy primary endpoints and supports non-detrimental blood pressure effect. || UCB [UCB.BE] Announces Keppra XR was approved in U.S. || Smit [SMIT.NV] Boskalis plans to bid €62. 50 per share for company, represents 30% premium from Friday's close. || Prostrakan Group [PSK.UK] Announces FDA approval for Sancuso before year end.

In Speakers: Indonesia Central Bank Deputy Governor: Currency decline is due to global forces and will intervene in FX market to curb Rupiah volatility. ||
Spain's Solbes noted in a French press interview that Q3 Spanish economic growth could be around zero. These comment s were promptly downplayed by the Economic Ministry. || French Fin Min Legarde noted that the Lehman bankruptcy comes as a shock and global credit crunch continues. German Fin Min and Bundesbank issued a joint statement noting that Germany's bank exposure to Lehman bankruptcy was limited, and added that they were closely observing developments in the financial markets. || ( German Fin Min noted that the financial market crisis has had little impact on the real economy as of this time and noted that german banks were not exposed to same degree as US, UK lenders.

- In Central Bank announcements:
China's PBoC lowered the key CNY lending rate by 27bps in a move to ensure fast and stable economic growth. The PBoC left its Deposit rates unchanged. Swiss National Bank Spokesman: SNB continues to observe global markets very closely and will maintain liquidity to money markets. || ECB continues to closely watch EU money markets. || BoE stated that it was monitoring situation and would take appropriate measures when becomes necessary to stabilize money markets. The BOE added GBP5M in a 3-day repo operation and added that it would review reserve target range in due course. ECB Trichet's reiterated the need for price stability and added the necessity that the ECB remain on "permanent credible alertness".

- In energy: Oct NYMEX crude fell over $4 per barrel to test below the $97 per contract (lowest since Feb 2008) following Hurricane Ike. Early indications show Ike did not inflict as much damage as initially feared. Reportedly, Nigerian militant group MEND claimed to have destroyed an Alakiri oil flow station owned by Shell. Over the weekend, MEND threatened to attack on oil facilities in
Nigeria. Other enegy components broadly lower as well with reformulated Gasoline off 6.55 to 259.08 and Natural Gas lower by 0.75% at 7.31.

- In currencies, the USD overcame its intial bout of weakness following the LEH and MER news. The EUR/USD traded as high as 1.4480 in
Asia but moved back towards the 1.4250 area as dealers re- evaluated the global risk scenario. Risk aversion sent JOY and CHF broadly higher against the major pairs. EUR/JPY bacl below its 200-week moving average as it trades back below the 150 handle. EUR/CHF was off 130+ pips at 1.5890 (aided by M&A flows between BASF and Ciba which was announced prior to the European equity open).

*** NOTES ***

- Dealers noting that the turmoil is likely to continue in the financial sector as evident that there were no takers in US broker Lehman Brothers following an emergency weekend discussions and an examination of the company books. LEH promptly filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the aftermath. However, the saga did not end there as Bank of America swallowed Merrill Lynch whole in an all-stock transaction valued around $50B . Dealers noting that more dominoes could topple with their sights are set on AIG being next in line at the slaughterhouse. UBS reportedly will use the opportunity to announce another round of write down in the neighborhood of $5.0B.

- Some acquisition flows taking advantage of the turmoil as BASF announced its bid to purchase CIBA for CHF3.5 B. This weighing upon the EUR/CHF cross coupled with risk aversion theme.

- The global financial market turmoil prompted some speculation that the G7 central banks will lower rates, The probability that the FED will lower at its key rates at its Tuesday FOMC meeting is gaining some momentum. Fed also expanded its collateral accepted. A $70B fund by a consortium of banks put together to help liquidity and to facilitate an orderly resolution of derivatives exposures between LEH and counter parties.
China's PBoC used the turmoil to announce a rate cut in a key lending rate by 27bps and lowering the reserve ratio for all but the largest of banks.

- Equities are steeply lower with S&P December contract off 40 handle throughout the European morning. Most Asian markets were closed for public holiday. Gold is currently firmer by $15 near the $782. However, dealers a bit puzzled one wonders why its not 882 already. The yield curve steepened dramatically on risk aversion with the
US 2-year falling by its largest amount since Sept 2001. The US 2-year yield at 1.83%, lower by 17% in the session., while the 10-year note was at 3.49%, off by 6%

Looking ahead

- 8:30 CA) Jul New Motor Vehicle Sales MoM: 0.0% v -1.0% prior

- 8:30 (US) Sept Empire Manufacturing: 1.0e v 2.8 prior

- 9:00 (BE) Jun Trade Balance: No estimate v -1.65B prior

- 9:15 (US) Aug Industrial Production: -0.3%e v 0.2% prior

- 9:15 (US) Aug Capacity Utilization: 79.6%e v 79.9% prior

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