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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Euro-Zone GDP revised lower for its first contraction since Euro currency launch; RBS sees £28B loss as Government increases stake

Today 06:09am

European Market Update: Euro-Zone GDP revised lower for its first contraction since Euro currency launch; RBS sees £28B loss as Government increases stake


- (SZ) Swiss Nov Retail Sales Y/Y: -1.4% v 1.5%e 

- (HK) Hong Kong Dec Unemployment Rate: 4.1% v 4.0%e

- (EU) Nov Construction Output M/M: -1.1% v 0.1% prior; Y/Y: -4.7% v -4.3% prior


- Equities: Royal Bank of Scotland [RBS.UK] Agreed to replace the £5B UK preference shares with new ordinary shares. It now forecasted a FY loss ex-goodwill impairments of £7 to £8B. It also noted that it would not pay a dividend in 2009 || CIE Financiere Richemont [CFR.SZ] Reported Q3 revenues of €1.55B below estimates of €1.66B. the firm noted that market conditions were the worst in a generation. It commented that revenue declined by 7% due to currency volatility. It saw no course for optimism and does not expect business to recover for some time || UBS [UBSN.SZ] to buy company's commodity index business from AIG for $15M. UBS stated that additional payments of up to $135M over the following 18 months based upon future earnings of the purchased business. Expects the deal closing by May 2009 || Melexis [MELE.BE] Guided its Q4 revenue of €33.5M below estimates of €51.5M.. It would reduce 10% of workforce (about 76 jobs) and halt production for two weeks in January. It noted that the cost cutting operations would save firm €4M per year || Galapagos [GLPG.BE] Expanded anti-invectives alliance with Glaxosmithkline [GSK.UK] in which the alliance includes three more discovery targets || Deutsche Post [DPW.GE] Reported FY08 Underlying EBIT €2.4B in line with expectations of €2.35B. The company expected the economic downturn to persist in 2009 and saw its Q4 trading lower y/y due to lack of business volume. Its DHL US Express restructuring remained on track. It would continue to focus on further cost cutting and cash generation and stated it would weather economic downturn relatively well || Endesa [ELE.SP] Reportedly Acciona head says Enel's purchase of company stake seems 'undisputable' || Nordex [NDX1.GE] Reaffirmed its FY09 Outlook with EBIT margin below pre-year range of 5.5% to 6% y/y and revenues firmer by 10% to 15% y/y || Pearson [PSON.UK] Provided interim management statement and now sees trading above expectations. Its FY08 headline earnings growth is forecasted to be about 20% and ahead of consensus estimates (seen around0.512/share). To report positive growth and continued progress on co. financial targets for 2008 despite worsening macro conditions. Company cited it benefited from strength of USD and lower tax rate || Premier Foods [PFD.UK] Reportedly offered £50M for French Patisserie unit || SDL [SDL.UK] Provided interim management statement and forecasted FY08 revenues in range of €157-158M compared to £151.8M. Net profit seen in a range of net at £25-25.5M versus £23.9M estimates. || Bilfinger Berger GBF.GE] CEO commented in a conference call that the firm would withstand the economic crisis but the downturn would hurt co. margins. He added that the firm would not cut dividends due to the crisis || Scania [SCVA.SW] Porsche to bid for the company SEK68.52 for A Shares and SEK67.10 B Share in a deal valued at SEK31.6B. Under Swedish takeover regulations, Porsche was required to make a bid for Scania after it earlier this month raised its stake in the truck maker's main shareholder, Volkswagen, above 50%, giving it indirect control of Scania. || Aker Solutions [AKSO.NO] Guideed FY08 EBITDA around NOK3.1B below estimates of NOK4.43B. The company also announced an agreement with Total [FP.FR] for the additional work on the Frigg decommissioning project || Solarworld [SWV.GE] CEO guided FY09 sales above €1.0B compared to current expectations of €1.11B.. He noted that decline in margin rates were being offset by rising sale figures with expansion in its domestic market and throughout Europe. Lastly he added that 2008 results matched companies expectations || 

- Speakers: EU Commission lowered its 2009 GDP outlook for the Eurozone to -1.9% compared to +0.1% from its November forecast. It noted that EMU Unemployment likely to increase to 9.3% from 7.5% seen in 2008. It saw 2009 price pressures easing towards 1.0%. The economic downturn to adversely impact public finances an noted that deficits are likely to widen. EU's Almunia state that he saw a gradual, modest recovery from H2 2009 noting that fiscal actions will put a 'floor' under economy. He did add that the global outlook was “grim” || ECB Nowotny commented that the ECB has no interest in seeing interest rate going to zero. || ECB's Weber commented in annewspaper interview that most problems were likely behind at this time but added there was no light at the end of tunnel.” He added that the financial market crisis has moved from a 'smoldering fire' to 'blaze'. Weber noted that currency fluctuations would be worse in global financial crisis without Euro. Lastly he stated that it would be very difficult to make future projections at this time || EU) ECB Provopoulus stated that ECB interest rates were already at record lows, does not expect rates to decline below 1.00% level ||Saudi Central Bank cut its repo rate by 50bps to 2.0% from 2.5% || BoJ Gov Shirakawa commented that he expected outstanding global bad loans to increase from current estimates. Past zero rate policy helped facilitate CAPEX, reduced concerns financial system || (UK) Darling commented that banks that access assistance must increase lending and added that coordinated international actions would assist economic recovery. Darling noted that UK GDP data would confirm that the country is in recession || BoE's King commented that the asset purchase facility would provide "important tool" for improving financing conditions || Spain PM Zapatero stated in a radio intervie that his government would work to avoid reaching 4M unemployed || China Premier Wen: China to ensure stable operation of domestic banks and industry and maintain stable growth of trade. Government would stabilize employment and to help companies reverse their losses ||

- In Currencies: The USD recovered from session lows exhibited in the pre Asian market on Monday and recovered from a backdrop of improving risk appetite have supported the likes of the AUD, CAD and GBP. The JPY-related pairs in pre-European trading. Hopes of more bank liquidity measures for both the UK and the U.S. helped initially to offset recent signs of financial-sector strain and more sour economic news in Japan. Dealers continue to note the option expiration calendar for JPY with $6.5B 90.00 strike set to expire on Wednesday. Dealer chatter noting that Euro strength seen in Asia should be a short term top with the 200-hour moving average holding below the 1.34 level. The GBP was broadly lower following the dismal earnings guidance from RBS. The USD also benefited from the 2009 Euro-Zone GDP outlook issued from the European Commission. EUR/USD at 1.3275 ahead of the NY morning after testing 1.3380 in Asia. GBP/USD at 1.4675 after probing above 1.49 during the Asian morning. || Russia Central Bank confirmed an additional widening of the Rouble trading band . Currency dealers noted that USD/RUB exchange rate was at its highest level (weaker Rouble) since early 1998. This is the sixth mini-devaluation in seven days for the Russian Central Bank

- Fixed income: Gilts have traded sharply lower in response to the UK's asset repurchase plan, with the market finding it hard to swallow denials of increased supply. The DMO stated that the £50B asset repurchase program will not affect the Gilt financing target of £146.4B for 2009; at the time of writing, March Gilts are down 133 ticks to 119.61 and approaching contract lows. Bunds, which have also seen a correction, with the March contract down around 80 ticks to post a week low 124.75, have managed to hold up better than European peripherals. Yields on Irish and Spanish 10y debt widened to record levels over the Bund, at 122bps and 200bps respectively. The 10y Gilt also widened to 42 bps over the European benchmark, a month high, with traders now looking at 50bps as a key level of resistance. In a mini tender, the DMO sold £1.25B 2027 Gilts with a bid-to-cover of 1.13

- In Energy: Russian PM Putin's Spokesman reiterated that Gazprom, and Ukraine's Naftogaz would sign commercial pact on Monday and that transit should resume immediately after signing || Carin [CNE.UK] Indian unit received approval from government of its Rajasthan oil and gas discovery . Indian government has declared the area called RJ-ON-90/1 ready for commercial oil production || Reportedly, Iran has started to implement its planned oil output cuts 

- Credit Crisis: UK Treasury Department announced new facility for asset backed securities. the BoE to set up £50B asset purchase program in which the MPC could use asset purchases to meet CPI target if required. The BoE was given authority to purchase "high quality" assets, including paper issued under the Credit Guarantee Scheme(CGS), corporate bonds, commercial paper, syndicated loans and a limited range of asset backed securities created in viable securitization structures. 

- Asset purchase program would not affect Gilt financing, financing for guarantee to be raised by DMO via Treasury bill sales and cash management operations. DMO will be responsible for auctioning guarantees

- BoE discount facility to increase to one year from 30 days, to charge banks 25bps for use past 30 day window

-"Drawdown window" for debt under Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) extended from 9 April 2009 to 31 December 2009

- BoE special liquidity scheme to end Jan 30th as originally intended

*** NOTES ***

- The financial sector continued to be of concern as RBS noted it would likely post up to a 28B FY loss. Simultaneously the UK Treasury Department announced new facility for asset-backed securities with the BOE authorized to buy up to 50B. German banks reportedly face “billions” more in losses as speculation grows that perhaps only a quarter of the toxics have been written off. In the US, “Tarp 2” likely has taken some “tail risk” out of the markets for the time being. 

- The market is bracing for the upcoming Chinese Q4 GDP number due out anytime before the Chinese Lunar New Year. Dealers are noting that China might have experienced its weakest expansion in slowest pace in 7 years.

- Looking Ahead: 

- 8:00 (HU) Hungary Interest Rate Decision : 50bps cut to 9.50% expected; current Base Rate in 10.00%

- 8:30 (CA) Canadian Nov International Securities Transactions: C$1.25B expected v C$2.85B prior

- 8:30 (FR) French Fin Min Lagarde speaks in Paris



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