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Forex Blog - European Market Update: BHP walks away from its offer for Rio Tinto, citing turmoil in global markets

Today 05:47am

European Market Update: BHP walks away from its offer for Rio Tinto, citing turmoil in global markets


- (GE) German Sept Real Construction Orders NSA Y/Y: +2.2%

- (GE) German Q3 Final GDP Q/Q: -0.5% v -0.5%e; Y/Y: 0.8% v 0.8%e; Y/Y nsa: 1.3% v 1.3%e

- (GE) German Q3 Final Private Consumption: 0.3% v 0.1%; Final Government Spending: 0.8% v 0.5%e

- (GE) German Q3 Final Capital Investment: 0.1% v -1.3%e; Construction Investment: 0.3% 0.0%e; Final Domestic Demand: 1.3% v 0.5%e

- (GE) German Q3 Final Imports: % v 1.0%e; Final Exports: % v -0.7%

- (GE) German Dec GFK Consumer Confidence Survey: 2.2 v 1. 5e

- (FR) French Nov Business Confidence Indicator: 80 v 85e; Production Outlook Indicator: -69 v -68e; Own- Company Production Outlook: -28 v -25e

- (SP) Spanish Oct Producer Prices M/M: -1.2% v -0.7%e; Y/Y: 5.9% v 6.4%

- (IT) Italian Nov Consumer Confidence: 100.4 v 100.3e

- (NE) Dutch Nov Producer Confidence M/M: -9.1 v -8.3e; Y/Y: -29 v -30e

- (SW) Swedish Oct PPI M/M: 0.0% v -0.3%e; Y/Y: 3.8% v 3.4%e

- (SW) Swedish Oct Trade Balance. SEK10.0B v SEK11.3B prior

- (IT) Italian Oct Trade Balance Non-EU: -€380M v -€3.28B prior

- (NO) Norwegian Q3 GDP Q/Q: -0.7% v 0.0%e; Mainland Norway Q3 Q/Q: 0.2% v 0.0%e

- (SZ) Swiss Oct UBS Consumption Indicator: 1.316 v 1.642 prior

- (UK) Q3 Preliminary Total Business Investment M/M: -0.2% v -1.9%e; Y/Y: -0.5% v -2.2%e

- (UK) Oct BBA Loans for House Purchase: 21,584 v 23,422.

- (EU) OECD November Economic Outlook: Sees protracted recession in many member economies with contraction on avg by 0.4% in 2009; urges Fed and ECB to cut interest rates


- In equities: Rio Tinto [RIO.UK] BHP will not proceed with $66B offer citing difficulty of potential divestures of Rio's assets negatively impacted the deal. BHP stated that the merger was no longer in best interest of shareholders and will not offer any amends to EU Commission. BHP was concerned over deterioration of global markets and falling commodity prices. It would take a $450M charge related to the acquisition costs. Lastly BHP stated that combined debt of merger entity would carry unacceptable market risks. Rio Tinto stated that would continue with its strategy of operating low cost assets

|| Axa [CS.FR] Guided 2008 Op profit €3.6-4.0B below consensus of €6.71B. CEO noted that its balance sheet remained solid but that the forecasts now reflected reduced commissions on assets. He added that expected 2012 assumptions are becoming more and more obsolete and would continue to avoid unjustified shareholder dilution. No need for capital increase and the co,pany could absorb further shocks with current capital levels || Skanska [SKAB.SW] To cut 3.4K staff in Nordic region (16.6% of regional staff) citing 15% booking decline in 2009. Restructuring to cost approximately SEK600M in Q4|| BMW [BMW.GE] Reportedly to cut 8.6K jobs (about 8.3% of global workforce) according to German press|| Volkswagen [VOW.GE] Reportedly could consider halting production at Wolfsburg plant from Dec 18 to Jan 11 - German press|| Memory Pharma [MEMY] Swiss's Roche signed definitive agreement to acquire company for $50M in cash || Imperial Tobacco [IMT.UK] Reported FY Net of £428M below estimates of £597.8M. Revenues were £20.5B compared to levels of £12.3B year ago. It stated that it was comfortable with current financing position and expressed confidence that several opportunities lie ahead. Efficiencies projects were impacting workforce and on course to deliver targeted cost savings || AstraZeneca [AZN.UK] Provided update on agreement with Abraxis in which it would receive $268M in fees if Abraxis requires exclusive marketing rights || Topps Tiles [TPT.UK] Reported FY08 Revenues in amount of £208.1M versus year-ago levels of £207.9M. SSS -5.4% y/y and its will not pay a final dividend || Balfour Beatty [BBY.UK] Awarded NZD230M contract to carry out overhead line works on the North Island Grid Upgrade Project || Randstad [RAND.NV] Acquired a 10% stake in Fujistaff for €12.3M noting that the acquisition would not add to earnings || Severn Trent [SVT.UK] Reported H1 Loss £83.3M compared to year-ago profit £150.9M. Revenues came in at £814.3M versus £774M y/y. Company noted that it had a strong liquidity position and was funded for investments and cash flow until march 2010. lastly it was on track for Reg obligations

- Speakers: ECB's Bini Smaghi noted that deflation talks has been 'imprecise' and that s suggests that no country is currently in deflationry environment. He saw inflation falling sharply but remaining in positive territory and added that long term inflation still expected around 2% level. Anchoring inflation would keep deflationary risks remote and if and when deflation risks emerge the central banks must act fast. Lastly central banks must not 'exhaust' all ammunition too early|| BoE's King stated that inflation has fallen sharply and that the economy is contracting. He noted that it was likely that the UK has entered recession in H2 of 2009 and has encountered a remarkable series of events. King noted that the BoE would take necessary action to keep CPI within target. Bank lending was the most pressing policy challenge. The VAT cut would lower inflation in short run. Might have not reached the end of bank recapitalization process and could not rule out government intervening directly. Lastly King stated that the BOE might need to cut rates further as banks are slow to pass though rate cuts || ECB's Nowotny: Stated that the ECB Cannot rule out cutting interest rates to 2% (currently at 3.255). He noted that the central bank would maintain 'steady hand policy' regarding interest rate decisions . Gov't measures need time to work. ECB must maintain future rate cutting capabilities and that the economic slowdown warrant calls for 'some rate cuts. He stated that the economy may have passed worst elements by H2 2009. || BoE's Gieve noted that the fiscal stimulus would raise economic growth as well as CPI. The BoE would make assessments to see if more needs to be done but the case for UK fiscal stimulus was strong || BoE's Sentence stated that he saw clear signs that UK economy was in recession and expected alower CPI and weak FX to boost growth. Noted that interest rate cuts during the CPI increase could have posed risk to BoE credibility and that the BoE policy must counter deflation pressures || BoE's Bean stated that bank rate may need to move more aggressively to achieve the same result during normal economic times. The supply of credit is key, policy transmission mechanism currently uncertain || BoE's Barker: housing market remains extremely difficult and suffers from lack of mortgage access and lack of confidence. || Chancellor Darling: UK will continue to do all that is necessary adding that inaction would be irresponsible. Noted that UK has given substantial assistance to help business and that the UK Stimulus package would make a difference. Banks must be motivated by Gov't to begin lending . Lastly he added that his forecasts are close to BOE's. || Spain PM Zapatero: Gov't joint action against financial market crisis has been intense || Indonesia Central Bank Deputy Gov noted that recent declines in its FX reserves were not a cause for concern . he also saw annual 2009 GDP growth in a range of 5.0-5-5%. || OECD November Economic Outlook: stated that it saw a protracted recession in many member economies with the contractong on average by 0.4% in 2009. the OECD urged the Fed and ECB to cut rates. The report noted that the UK GDP was to fall by -1.1% in 2009 ( biggest contraction since 1991) giving scope for BoE rate cuts. It lowered China 2009 GDP forecast to 8.0% from 9.5% prior, sees domestic demand slowing. Russia's 2009 GDP forecast cut to+2.3% from +6.5% prior

- In Currencies: The USD saw a moderate recovery after weakening on Monday. The recent inverse relationship of USD and JPY in regards to equity price movements remained intact. ECB's Nowotny noted that the ECB could not rule out cutting interest rates to as low as 2% from its 3.25% stance. ; European equity markets are softer, but the overall impact on the FX majors has been somewhat muted. The EUR/CHF pair extended its recent gains to trade near1.5493, while USD-CHF consolidated after it moved back above the 1.2000 handle. A dealer noting that the Norwegian data released ealier today leaves plenty of room for further aggressive Norges Bank rate cuts.

-In Fixed Income: Italy sold €2B 2y zero coupon bonds at an average yield of 3.265% and a bid-to-cover ratio of 1.95 times.

- In Energy: Russia Energy Min Shmatko stated that Russia to cooperate with OPEC in order to protect 'its interests' and coordinate with OPEC on oil output. The minister noted that low oil prices hurt fresh investments and that 2009 would be a 'difficult year' for oil || Russian reportedly to have finalized Chinese energy deal by year end 2008 according to Russian Energy Min || Norway Dep Oil Min stated that tier country had no plans to cut oil supply || Reportedly Kuwait govt handed in its resignation; it is uncertain whether it was accepted, but recall earlier today Kuwaiti ministers walked out of parliament in protest over PM questioning

*** NOTES ***

BHP walks away from its Rio Tinto offer citing the turmoil in global markets. The U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve will unveil as soon as today a lending program to shore up the consumer-finance market, using money from the government's $700B rescue. Dealers noting the Equity price action that has seen it recover from its worst two-day performance and turn it into it s best two-day performance. The newfound risk appetite should be tested today with second look at US Q3 GDP data later this morning. The forces of financial-system deleveraging remain enormous and would likely continue as long as VIX remains elevated. Dealer chatter about a recent Bernstein research report on deleveraging factors with hedge funds.

Looking Ahead:

- 8:30 (CA) Canadian Sept Retail Sales: M/M consensus expectations are 0.4%; The prior number was -0.3%. Retail Sales Less Autos : M/M consensus expectations are 0.2% ; The prior number was -0.3%.

-8:30 (US) Q3 Preliminary GDP Q/Q (annualized): Consensus expectations are -0.5%; The prior number was -0.3%

- 8:30 (US) Q3 Preliminary Personal Consumption: Consensus expectations are -3.2%; The prior number was -3.1%

- 8:30 (US) Q3 Preliminary GDP Price Index: Consensus expectations are 4.2%; The prior number was 4.2%.

- 8:30 (US) Q3 Preliminary Core PCE: Q/Q consensus expectations are 2.9%; the prior number was 2.9%

- 9:00 (US) Sept S&P/CaseShiller Home Price Index: Consensus expectations are 163.0; The prior number was 164.4

- 9:00 (US) Sept S&P /CS Composite -20 Y/Y : Consensus expectations are -16.9%; the prior number was -16.6%

- 9:00 (US) Q3 S&P / Case-Shiller US HPI. There are no consensus expectations ; The prior number was 155.3

- 9:00 (US) Q3 S&P / Case-Shiller US HPI Y/Y 5: Consensus expectations are -17.1%; The prior number was -15.4%

- 10:00 (US) Nov Consumer Confidence: Consensus expectations are 38.0; The prior number was 38.0

- 10:00 (US) Nov Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index. Consensus expectations are -26; The prior number was -26

- 10 :00 (US) Sep House Price Index : M/M consensus expectations are -0.7%; The prior number was -0.6%

- 10 :00 (US) Q3 House Price Purchase Index: There are no consensus expectations ; The prior number was -1.4%.


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