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Friday December 19, 2008 - 11:20:11 GMT
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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Thinning conditions continue to give rise to fresh volatility in currencies; Honda wants Japan to halt JPY appreciation; S&P downgrades 12 major banking institutio

Today 06:03am

European Market Update: Thinning conditions continue to give rise to fresh volatility in currencies; Honda wants Japan to halt JPY appreciation; S&P downgrades 12 major banking institutions long term debt ratings


- (DE) Danish Central Bank cuts rates by 50bps to 3.75%, Not Expected

- (VN) Vietnam Central Bank cut interest rates by 150bps to 8.5%, not expected

- (RU) Russian Nov Unemployment Rate: 6.6% v 6.4%

- (RU) Russian Retail Sales (Real): -3.4% v1.6% prior; Y/Y: 8.0% v 11.0%e

- (GE) German Nov Producer Prices M/M: % v -0.8%e; Y/Y: % v 6.1%e

- (GE) German Oct Real Construction orders M/M: -3.0%; Y/Y -20.6%

- (FR) French Dec Business Confidence Indicator: 73 v 78e; Production Outlook Indicator: -73 v -70e; Own Company Production Outlook: -40 v -30e

- (SZ) Swiss Nov Money Supply: 1.6% v 2.1% prior

- (DE) Denmark Nov Consumer Confidence Indicator: -13.5 v -10.

- (IT) Italian Oct Industrial Orders M/M: -5.4% v -2.5%e; Y/Y: -12.2% v -7.1%e

- (IT) Italian Oct Industrial Sales M/M: -4.3% v -1.2%e; Y/Y: -5.9% v 5.4% prior

- (UK) Q3 Final Total Business Investment Q/Q: -1.3 % v -0.2%e; Y/Y: 0.1% v -0.5%e

- (BR) Brazil Nov Unemployment Rate: 7.6% v 7.3%e

- (BR) Brazil Dec IBGE CPI M/M: 0.29% v 0.43%e

- Slovakian Interest Rate Decision: Consensus expectations are for no change; current benchmark rate is 2.50%


- In equities: S&P downgraded 12 major banking institutions debt to to AA- from AA including GS, MS, C, WFC, BAC, UBSN.SZ, HSBA.UK, RBS.UK, DBK.GE || UBS [UBSN.SZ] Swiss national Bank (SNB) took over the first trance of assets from UBS for stabilization fund valued at $16.4B as of Sept 30. The SNB noted that assets mainly comprised of US and European residential and commercial backed mortgage securities || ABB [ABBN.SZ] ABBN.SZ: Remains in strong financial position and reaffirms FY08 targets despite lower order intake in Q. It saw a lower order intake for October and November reflects weak market, lack of funding, volatile commodity prices and reduction of CAPEX expenditures by the customers. Spokesperson stated that it could not rule out the possibility of job cuts; have not seen significant order cancellations || Roche [ROG.SZ] Phase III Study Showed Rituxan Decreased the Progression of Joint Damage in Patients with Early Rheumatoid Arthritis. Secondary endpoints showed a significantly higher proportion of patients with a substantial improvement in RA signs and symptoms || UCB [UCB.BE] Received FDA complete response letter for NEUPRO to treat advanced Parkinson's disease. FDA concluded that there was substantial evidence of effectiveness of Neupro in patients with advanced Parkinson's disease and in patients with RLS. However, UCB needs to first resolve the issue of crystal formation in the patches. || Arpida [ARPN.SZ] Published top-line data of phase II data for oral iclaprim || Antisoma [ASM.UK] Receives FDA approval for oral fludarabine, plans commercialization deal to bring drug to US patients || Thales [HO.FR] Dassault Aviation signed a definitive deal to acquire Alcatel-Lucent stake in company || ASM Intl [ASMI] Signed Licensing Agreement with Tokyo Electron For Atomic Layer Deposition Technology || Hunting [HTG.UK] Guided FY results in line with previous expectations || Natixis [KN.FR] Firm cutting 840 positions (4% of global workforce). It would accelerate restructuring and cost cutting operations but added it would not break up firm or make alterations to current board of directors || Bang & Olufsen [BOB.DC] Guided its FY08/09 Pretax loss DKK 260-380M compared to expectations of a profit DKK115.2M. Revenues were guided lower to a range of DKK3.1-3.3B versus consensus expiations of DKK3.74B. Company noted that revenue expectation not meet in Nov to Dec period. And would implement a cost cutting program. || Husqvarna [HUSQB.SW] Sated that it saw Q4 earnings substantially lower y/y due to lower volumes and sales. The company noted that it would Deepens its planned job cuts citings costs and weakened demand. It now plans to eliminate 960 job cuts (6.4% of workforce) above the 850 previously announced || RWE [RWE.GE] To invest €2.8B in 1000 MW in off-shore wind park off German North Sea Coast || Enel [ENEL.IT] Italian press Reports that company is to receive €1.5B in grid sale from Terna || Lanxess [LXS.GE] To delay some investment projects due to declining demand for chemical products globally;. It reaffirmed its FY EBITDA in a range of €710-730M versus expectations of €701M. || RBS [RBS.UK] To cut roughly 70 Asian investment banking jobs (less than 1% of workforce) || Grupo Ferrovial [FER.SP] Studying possible merger with sister companies including Cintra unit || Hypo Real Estate [HRX.GE] German press report that company was planning restructuring which would eliminate one third of workforce ||

- Speakers: BOJ's Shirakawa stated that a Strong JPY hurts economy in the short term but added that he was not singling out strong JPY in overall economic view. Recent, measures announced are not a return to quantitative easing but today's interest rate cut of 20bps to 0.1% level was warranted by rapid worsening market conditions during the past several months. He added that could not rule out future interest rate cuts || Econ Min Yosano noted that today's BOJ rate cut was a bold move which reflected Japanese commitment to international cooperation in fighting current economic crisis. BoJ purchasing of commercial paper to boost corporate funding until 2009. he added that the rate cut unlikely to improve banks' lending attitude. || Press speculation that Germany considering a new €40B stimulus package. German comment noted that it had not made a decision on the size of the second stimulus package || Russia's Dep Energy Minister noted that the government was drafting a RUB146B rescue package for state utilities. Funding for package to come from budget, state banks and the issuance of Bonds. He added that utility companies should reduce CAPEX by 20% || German Upper House approved 2009 budget || Ukraine Central Bank stated that the Government polices are pushing country into default

- In Currencies: thinner conditions continue to give rise to fresh volatility. The USD continued its rebound from multi-month lows against the European pairs. The moved was underway after the ECB announced a reduction in its deposit rate and increase in marginal lending rates on Thursday. Dealers noted that move by the ECB was viewed to discourage Euro-Denominated deposits. The USD received additional momentum after the Danish Central bank unexpectedly cut its interest rates by 50bps in today's session. European selling against the JPY-related pairs also a factor in today's price action. Dealers testing BOJ resolve after Gov Shirakawa noted that he was not singling out strong JPY in overall economic view. EUR/USD tested 1.3990 level during the European morning after testing its 200-day moving average of 1.4705 on Thursday ||SNB took over the first trance of assets from UBS || Lots of discussion on the “triangle” formation on the EUR/AUD daily chart. Dealers watching to see if the recent breakout suggests a sizeable trend move || Honda Motor Co [HMC] CEO stated that the Japanese Government needs to take action to halt JPY appreciation. Honda hoping to remain in positive numbers in FY09 even is dollar remains at ¥90 level || USD/CAD saw the USD rally towards the 1.24 area during the European morning. Weaker gold and steady oil prices cited for soft CAD sentiment. Canadian CPI data due out later today as well.

-In Fixed Income: The JGB 10y cash yield plunged to 1.21% its lowest lever since 2005, after Japan's unexpected rate cut, and hints at JGB purchases from the BoJ. The March futures contract rallied over 14 ticks to close in positive territory at 139.71. Trade in European fixed income has been characterized by light volumes this morning, with higher yields across curves in both Germany and the UK . A mid-morning collapse in the short end of the UK yield curve - with short sterling futures moving 100 ticks in a matter of minutes - was being attributed to sticky fingers, however an investigation by Liffe has cleared all trades.

- In Energy: OPEC Pres Khelil state that he believed oil price has 'found' floor. He added. OPEC will review oil market again in Jan during its Kuwait meeting || Saudi Oil Minister noted that Saudi Arabia would pump less oil in January at new quota levels. Current price levels are causing havoc on industry investment noting that non-fundamentals are still greatly influencing prices. Reiterates that $75/bbl is fair and reasonable price. Lastly he saw the need for all viable means to accommodate future global needs || UK PM Brown stated that price volatility remained biggest challenge on oil adding that high prices had caused significant economic damage. Producers would need to invest in oil capacity and that the global market crisis demand international response ||

*** NOTES ***

- The chatter has been focused on the pending option expiration set for today. Overall sentiment for equities seems 'bleak' once the December expirations out of the way. Bearish sentiment fixated on the recent S&P revision of GE's outlook to negative and Moody's downgrade of Citigroup's senior debt. S&P downgraded 12 major banking institutions debt to “AA-“ from “AA”. Hopes that perhaps President Bush's plan for automakers could be unveiled at some point on Friday. The State level of financial affairs was also on the radar after lawmakers in California passed a package to lower the state's budget gap by $18B over the next year and a half. Dealers wondering if California is heading towards “financial Armageddon” and what State would be next…

- Lastly in the “race” to ZERO interest rates, the BOJ moves ahead after cutting by 20bps to 0.1%. Honda'a chief telling Japan to address JPY appreciation, thus possible intervention scenarios playing out in dealers' minds…

Looking Ahead

- 7:00 (CA) Canadian Nov CPI: M/M consensus expectations are -0.8%; The prior number was -1.0%. Y/Y Consensus expectations are 1.5%; The prior number was 2.6%.

- 7:00 (CA) Bank of Canada CPI Core: M/M consensus expectations are -0.1% ; The prior number was -0.2%. Y/Y Consensus expectations are 1.6%; The prior number was 1.7%.

- 9:00 (BE) Belgian Dec Consumer Confidence: There are no consensus expectations; the prior number was -22.0


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