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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Safe haven flows dominate as Mid-East tensions build; Russia devalues Rouble for a 12th time within a 7 week period

Today 05:52am

European Market Update: Safe haven flows dominate as Mid-East tensions build; Russia devalues Rouble for a 12th time within a 7 week period


- (FR) Q3 Final GDP Q/Q: 0.1% v 0.1%e; Y/Y: 0.6% v 0.6%e

- (SP) Spain Nov Producer Prices M/M: -2.6% v -1.2% prior; Y/Y: 2.5% v 5.9% prior

- 3:30 (HK) Nov Trade Balance: -HK$8.2B v -HK$14.3B prior

- 3:30 (IT) Italy Dec Business Confidence: 66.6 v 70.6e (lowest reading on record)

- 4:00 (GE) German Dec CPI-Saxony: M/M: +-0.3% v -0.5% prior; Y/Y: 1.3% v 1.7% prior

- 4:30 (UK) Q3 BOE Housing Equity Withdrawal: -£5.7B v -£3.3Be

- 5:00 (BR) Brazil Dec FGV Inflation M/M: -0.13% v -0.05%e

- 5:30 (SZ) Swiss Dec KOF Swiss Leading Indicator: -0.39 v -0.26e


-Equities: Kaufman & Broad [KOF.FR] Reported FY revenues of €1.17B versus €1.25B estimates. It secure an additional €75M credit facility and noted that it had suspended dividends until 2012 || Lafarge [LG.FR] Considering strategic options for its Turkey operation || Yule Catto [YULC.UK: Signed a new three year loan facility of £30M with its principal banks. Loan replaced existing revolving bank loan facility maturing in Nov of next year. The company also suspended payment of dividends || X 5 Retail [FIVE.UK] Acquired franchisee in Rostov, Russia for RUB400M || Lottomatica [LTO.IT] Gtech unit was awarded $105M New Jersey State lottery contract || Linde [LIN.GE] Awarded engineering JV in India with its share of the venture valued at €350M || Vestas Wind System [VWS.DC] Awarded 100MW order in China || GDF Suez [GSZ.FR] Reported a gas find in Anethyst Field located in North Sea || Sea Drill [SDRL.NO] Took delivery of deepwater drillship West Capella

- Speakers: German Fin Min Steinbrueck commented that the size of government stimulus package was still undecided in a press interview. Comments in reply to whether package would cost €25 to €40B || French Econ Ministry commented that the current market conditions do not allow for the 'satisfactory' sale of public assets || Czech Central Bank Chief Tuma noted in a newspaper interview that Czech Central bank has room to cut rates to zero from current level of 2.25% || Reportedly Polish Gov't advisors see 2009 GDP at 3,1% or less versus 3.7% official forecast ||China raised tax rebates for motorcycles to 14% from 11% prior, increases tax rebates on for 553 products effective Jan 1st || Chinese Stats Office saw 2008 GDP growth above 9% level || Taiwan MOF stated that the Tax reform panel approved corporate tax cut from 25% current rate || French Public Debt increased by €15.6B in Q3 to 66.1% of GDP according to INSEE ||

- In Currencies: The USD was softer against the major currency pairs but the the session was all about safe haven theme. CHF gains on the back of safe haven flows due to the conflict in the Middle East. The GBP remained weak for the most part. UK households the prior Q2 data had shown that repayments exceeded new borrowing for the first time in a decade and the trend continued in Q3. EUR/GBP continues to probe fresh all-time highs with the 0.97 giving way in today's session with expectations that the run on parity would continue at least in the very near-term. . || Russia devalued the currency for the 12th time in seven weeks after the government forecasted its first budget deficit in a decade last week

- Energy: IEA Chief Economist commented that he expected oil price to climb to $100/barrel by 2010-2015 period || Reportedly Nigeria arrested suspected militant leader Jackrich || Israeli Def Min Barak stated in a speech to Parliament that Israel moves with 'determination' towards objectives and would fight 'to death' with Hamas. He added that Israel is not at war with the with people of Gaza but noted Israel has set its objective in Gaza strip, which is now a closed military zone ||

- Commodities: Spot gold breaks above 880 level at the open in Asia. || Feb Crude oil futures surged above the $42.00 per barrel (over 10% at one point) in reaction to comments from Israeli defense Minister Barak which noted that Israel would fight to the 'death' against Hamas. Oil remained above the $40 per barrel as the NY morning approached, but off its best levels in the electronic session. Dealers also citing that OPEC members have begun complying with agreed output cuts, also helping the contract rebound four-year lows set last week.

- Credit Crisis: Banks in the UK may face as much as £70B in writedowns related to losses on commercial property loans according to a report from the Telegraph. The article noted that the losses could lead to more banks being nationalized in the UK || UAE Residents Feel Credit Crunch Impact according to a Bayt/YouGov Survey as consumer confidence dropped for the third time this year ||


- The Safe haven flows was the overall theme during the European morning. Gold and CHF were purchased from the getgo in Asia. Oil was firmer but spiked above $42/barrel after Israeli defense minister stated that the country would fight to the 'death' with Hamas, thus Israel threatened escalation of fighting in Gaza.

- Kuwait terminates $17.4B joint venture with Dow Chemical noting that downturn in the economy coupled with a fall in oil prices has made the K-Dow joint venture 'very risky.'

-UK Dec House Prices were down a record own 8.7% y/y according to Hometrack. Another data series showing that UK households are making repayments rather borrowing against its housing equity

Looking Ahead:

- Thin market conditions prevail as the calendar year winds down.

- 11:30 (IS) Israeli Base Rate Decision: Expectations of a 50bps interets rate cut to 2.00%

- (GE) German Dec CPI-Baden Wuettemberg: M/M: No expectations versus -0.5% prior; Y/Y: No Expectations versus 1.6% prior

- (GE) German Dec CPI-North Rhine West: M/M: No expectations versus -0.6% prior; Y/Y: No Expectations versus 1.1% prior


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