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Wednesday September 17, 2008 - 11:28:22 GMT
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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Credit concerns linger in session; BOE again considered all options on interest rates in Sept policy meeting


- (UK) BOE voted 8 to 1 to keep interest rates at 5.00% in its Sept policy meeting; MPC member Blanchflower sought a 50bps rate cut to 4.5%

- (UK) August Claimant Count Rate: 2.8% v 2.8%e

- (UK) August Jobless Claims Change: 32.5K v 23.0Ke

- (UK) July Avg. Earnings Inc Bonus 3M/YoY: 3.5% v 3.4%e; Avg. Earnings Ex Bonus 3M/YoY: 3.7% v 3.6%e

- (UK) July ILO Unemployment Rate (3months): 5.5% v 5.4e

- (UK) Manu. Unit Wage Cost (3mnths/YoY): 1.9% v 1.7% prior

- (IT) July Current Account: -€ v -€3.60B

- (SZ) July ZEW Survey (Expectations): -44.4 v -79.6 prior

- (EU) July Euro-Zone Trade Balance: -€2.3B v €3.0Be; Euro-Zone Trade Balance SA: -€6.4B v -€3.5Be

- (EU) July Construction Output MoM: 0.1% v -0.9% prior; YoY: -3.3% v -3.0% prior

- (UK) U.K. CBI September Industrial Trends: -26 v -13 prior


In equities news overnight: HBOS was the focal point for the session. [HBOS.
UK] BBC reported that the bank was in merger talks with LLoyds for up 300p/shr. This helped the stock rebound from session lows of 88p/shr on liquidity concerns. The FSA stated that they are satisfied that the bank remains well capitalized || Emmi AG [EMMW.SW] Reported H1 Net CHF26.6M compared to CHF22.7B year ago. Revenues came in at CHF1.3B versus to CHF1. 2B last year. Company guided FY net at 2% of revenue. || Inchcape [INCH.UK] Reported the sale of non-core UK assets for £3M and announced it has completed the sale of five of its six Volvo franchises. The company has retained ownership of the relevant properties which will be subject to a market rent. || Invensys [ISYS.UK] acquired Quantum Engineering for $38M cash. || Tui [TUI1.GE] Reportedly the Hapag-Lloyd due diligence process has been completed with Neptune Orient Lines [NOL.SI} favorite to purchase unit. || Grupo Ferrovial [FER.SP] announced Plans to sell Gatwick airport citing pressure from regulator as antitrust regulators recommended that the company be split up . CEO noted that retaining London operations will hinder overall expansion. || Bank of Ireland [BKIR.IR] Guided H1 revenue lower compared to prior year and announced a 50% reduction in the FY dividend. Company stated that FY earnings negatively impacted and stated that an impairment charges in H1 "mid 30's" bps range coupled with charges of around "mid 40's," for the fiscal year. and in 2010 seen around"60 to 90" bps Its H1 lending growth was at 8%, but will slow in H2. || Arcelor Mittal [MTP.FR] Guided its 9 month EBITDA 2008 above $21.B and announced savings plan over $4B over next 5 years. || DSM [DSM.NV] Announced a collaboration agreement with Caliber Therapeutics to expand Stanyl production capacity with new factory in Geleen; also developing novel drug delivery device. || Bayer [BAY.GE] Announced price increases for coating, adhesive raw materials in EMEA by up to 13%. || Continental AG [CON.GE] had its long term rating cut a notch by Fitch to “BBB-“ from “BBB”

- Speakers: EU's Juncker dismissed any suggestion that Euro-Zone could break up and again stressed that Euro-zone core inflation level remains too high for comfort. He did note that perhaps one day the
UK would join EMU. Juncker stated that the financial crisis has not yet reached its end and expressed a degree of satisfaction that AIG collapse was prevented. He added that that Europe will not be hit as hard as US in the current crisis. Lastly he did not expect recession within Euro-Zone. || RBA Kraehe stated that the Australian economy remained resilient to financial crisis. The central banker noted that the country's banking sector remained strong. He added that one can not remain indecisive in the face of global downturn and financial market crisis. Lastly he noted that the slowing growth was likely to ease inflation pressures. ||BoJ Governor Shirikawa noted increased tension in global financial markets and stated that the BOJ needs to continue to observe economic risks on both upside and downside. He added that the US housing and credit market correction would likely continue. BOJ noted that the Fed liquidity steps have helped to stabilize the USD and that the recent drop in commodity prices is helpful for Japan. The BOJ cautioned that Japanese stagflation could linger for some time. || ECB Tempel-Gugerell stated that the ECB sees the first signs of second round effects. He added that the central bank has mid-term time horizon and must not react to short-term developments.

- Central Banks: (SW) Riksbank released their minutes of their recent decision to raise interest rates. The Central Bankers were split regarding September rate decision to raise interest rates with 3 of the 6 members disagreeing with interest rate hike. Central Bank chief Ingves stated that the rate hike was justified in order to show that the bank is determined to counter inflation risks. Ingves wanted lower inflation expectations before any rate reduction and added that the SEK is important in dampening external inflationary pressures. || (SZ) SNB declined comments on conditions in the money market moves, but noted it will continue to act in a manner that maintained a flexible and generous stance. || The BOE voted 8 to 1 to maintain interest rates at 5.00% at its Sept 3rd-4th MPC meeting. Ultra-dove David Blanchflower sought a 50bps cut to 4.50% and argued that
UK demand have subsided. BOE Hawk Tim Besley switched his view to "No Change" from prior MPC "Rate Hike" . the MPC once again considered all three interest rate options (hike, hold and cut). The BOE stated that an interest rate increase would have showed that bank was committed to its inflation target, but was unsure of the potential impact on its currency. The Bank added that a rate cut would have might have showed undue focus on economic growth and also led to GBP decline, thus higher inflationary expectations.

- In Currencies: The USD was on the defensive in early European trading as commodities rebounded. USD rebounded from session lows as continued concerns over the global financial market remained elevated, despite the
US bailout of insurer AIG. The early indications of another higher LIBOR fixings prompted a sell-off in European equities and safe-haven flows into USD coupled with some unwinding of carry-related positions. The GBP was softer as concerns over HBOS.UK weighed upon its sentiment. GBP/USD at 1. 7850 and EUR/GBP at 0.7965.

- In Energy: Goldman Sachs analyst amends oil outlook. - Lowers 3-month WTI oil forecast to $115 from $149 prior. Lowered its 6-month WTI forecast to $125 from $142 prior; cut its 2009 average WTI oil forecast to $123 from $148. Analyst noted that oil prices are a compelling buy and that it would take longer to reach

previous forecasts. || Nigerian military spokesperson confirmed a fresh attack on a Shell [RDS.A]facility in the
Niger delta region.

In Fixed-Income: The ECB has been vocal in its concerns over the secondary effects of inflation. Reportedly Irish companies, unions reach pay deal of 6% over 21 months.

*** NOTES ***

- The Bank of Japan (BOJ) maintained their steady policy for the 11th straight time with another unanimous decision. The BOJ noted that it expected a sluggish economic activity for the foreseeable future. Government officials are trying their best in assuring that the financial market crisis impact is limited, but that has not stopped customers from demanding redemption of AIG paper the company's
Singapore office. A similar situation in the UK as HBOS tries to reassure its customers they 'demand' withdrawal of their funds. Concerns over HBOS heightened as early indications of the Overnight Libor fixing suggested another 'elevated' Dollar Libor rate above yesterday's 6.44%. Dealers noted that the o/n rate traded up as high as 12% as banks scrambled for USD funding, although some calm have returned back to the market. HBOS rebounded from earlier lows on liquidity concerns on chatter that Lloyds was seeking a merger with the bank. Asia encountered some chatter that perhaps Morgan Stanley [MS] was considering a merger, but not currently in talks with anyone at this time as media reports note that recent volatility in MS stock price could and possibly will force the company to seek a merger partner.|| Russia (which at one point was down 19% yesterday) stated that it will take steps to stabilize its financial markets following its steep decline on Tuesday and spat f softness encountered in early trading today.

Looking ahead

7:00 (US) Sept. 12 MBA Mortgage No estimate versus 9.5% prior

8:30 (CA) July Int'l Securities Transactions: C$5.50Be v C$7.25B prior

8:30 (US) Q2 Current Account Balance: -$180.Be v -$176.4B prior

8:30 (US) August Housing Starts: 950Ke v 965K prior

8:30 (US) August Building Permits: 928Ke v 937K prior


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