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Forex Blog - European market Update: Economic downturn has reached the European job market; Russian Ruble weakens by 2%; Russian Central Bank FX reserves continue to fall

Today 05:50am

European market Update: Economic downturn has reached the European job market; Russian Ruble weakens by 2%; Russian Central Bank FX reserves continue to fall


- (RU) Russian Central Bank Gold/FX Reserves: $386.5B v $396.2B prior week 

- Philippine Central bank cut Overnight borrowing rate by 50bps to 5.00%, as expected

- (GE) German Dec ILO Unemployment Rate: 7.2% v 7.2%e 

- (UK) Jan Nationwide House Prices: M/M: -1.3% v -1.7%e; Y/Y: -16.6% v -16.7%e

- (SP) Spain Dec Retail Sales: -6.1% v -8.9%e; Adjusted Real Retail Sales: -6.1% v -9.1%e 

- (SW) Swedish Jan Economic Tendency Survey: 71.7 v 67.7e; Consumer Confidence: -17.5 v -24.0e; Manufacturing Confidence: -35 v -35e 

- (HK) Dec Trade Balance: -11.8B v -17.1Be

- (DE) Denmark Dec Unemployment Rate: 2.1% v 2.0%e 

- (SW) Swedish Dec Household Lending: 9.0% v 9.0% prior

- (GE) German Jan Unemployment Rate: 7.8% v 7.7%; Unemployment Change: 56K v 30ke 

- (NO) Norway Unemployment Rate: 2.3% expected v 2.0% prior

- (SA) S. Africa Dec PPI M/M: -1.1% v -0.8%e; Y/Y: 11.0% v 11.6%e

- (EU) Euro-zone Dec M3 Y/Y: 7.3% v 7.6%e; 3 Month Avg: 7.9% v 8.0%e

- (EU) Euro-Zone Jan Business Climate Indicator: -3.16 v -3.50e; Consumer Confidence: -31 v -31e; Economic Confidence: 68.9 v 65.4e; Industrial Confidence:-34 v -34e; Services Confidence: -22 v -18e 

- (BE) Belgian Jan CPI M/M 0.10% v -0.20% prior; Y/Y: 2.32% v 2.63% prior


- Equities: Xstrata [XTA.UK] Reports FY Net of $3.6B below consensus of $4.56Be. Revenues were $27.9B versus $29.3B estimates. It will not declare final dividend for FY08 and intends to raise £4.1B with 2 for 1 rights offer. The CEO noted that CEO it would reduce its 2009 capex in half to about $3B adding that the priority is to conserve cash, not M&A || Royal Dutch Shell [RDS.A] Reported Q4 net loss $2.81B compared profit $4.09Be. Revenues were $81.07B below expectations of $89.1B. It noted that industry conditions remained challenging and were continuing to focus on capital and cost discipline || Swatch [UHR.SZ] Reported 2008 Sales CHF5.97B compared to estimates of CHF5.85B. it forecasted a difficult H1 and restrained growth during 2009 || Ipsen [IPN.FR] Reported Q4 revenues of €235.9M compared to year ago levels of €233. For 2008 revenues were €971M v €1.02Be || Toshiba [6502.JP] Reported 9-months Net loss of ¥159.6B versus year-ago profit of ¥126.2B and lowered its 2009 guidance. Moody's cuts the firm's credit rating to Baa1 from A3 and place it on review for possible additional downgrade . || Sony [6758.JP] Reported 9 month group Net profit ¥66.2B v ¥340.4B y/y || Hennes & Mauritz [HMB.SW] Reported Q4 Net of SEK5.09B above consensus of SEK4.89Be. its revenues were SEK26.3B slightly better that the SEK25.9B expectations. It remained positive on its outlook and noted it would create 6K to 7K new jobs in 2009 and planed 225 stores || Mitchells & Butlers [MAB.UK] Reported 9 week like-for-like sales +1% y/y. It noted that recessionary pressures are intensifying || Kazakhmys [KAZ.UK] Provided Q4 Production Update || Lonmin [LMI.UK] Reported Q1 Total production of 3.1M tons (flat y/y). It Chairman Sir John Craven to retire || Cookson [CKSN.UK] Proposed 12 for 1 rights issue to raise £240M. Announced workforce reduction of 1.25K positions and would suspend its dividend || Union Fenosa [UNF.SP] Reported FY08 Net of €1.19B above consensus of €1.00Be. Revenues were Rev €7.19B better then the €6.79B expectations and its EBITDA also beat with its €2.28B compared to €2.24B estimates. || SAB.SP: Chairman says bank's non performance loan ratio could reach 4.5% by year end || Volvo [VOLVB.SW] Awarded order for 424 buses from Norway and Sweden || BMW [BMW.GE] Denied market speculation of a imminent profit warning and noted it would announce its 2008 results next week || UBS [UBSN.SZ] Weakness attributed to chatter circulating of a Q4 trading loss of CHF1B 

- Speakers: ECB Trichet noted that the central bank does not exclude cutting rates below 2.00%. He added that there was no chance of any Euro-zone breakup from economic crisis || EU's Almunia reiterated that Euro Zone will not fall apart due to economic crisis || Japan Cabinet: Recession began back in Nov 2007; Expansion to Oct 2007 lasted 69 months and was the longest since World War II || BOJ Deputy Gov Nishimura noted that excessive policy intervention could hurt markets. He added that the 0.1% policy rate was the' best' for time being noting that it was not easy to set term rates as policy target || EU's Almunia noted that the situation of credit market remains the real issue and need to be continually monitored. || India's Nath expressed concerned over increased protectionism || German Labor Dept: Economic downturn has reached the job market, but situation in service sector remain 'good.' He expected that an increase in short-term work would occur in coming months || 

- In Currencies: The USD was firmer in the European morning. Overall dealers attributed the USD strength on the view that the FED and the US were more proactive in dealing with the on-going economic crisis compared to Europe and others. The USD also benefited on continued concerns that the new upper limit imposed by the Russian Central bank (CBR) last week would be tested far sooner then what the RCB indicated || Russian Central Bank Gold/FX reserves : $386.5B v $396.2B prior week. Russian banks are reportedly in need of large capital injections, according to today's F.T . T CBR has lost nearly $10Bln, with the reserve pool falling from $396.2Bln to $386.5Bln. Yet still the Ruble continues to weaken. 

-Commodity-related currencies are softer as both Gold and Silver seem to be losing upward momentum for the time being. RBNZ continues it aggressive rate cutting cycle with its 150bps move during Asia. 

- In Energy: OPEC Sec Gen El-Badri noted that he believed that compliance of recent output cuts would remove 4.2M bpd from market. He commented that he saws idle capacity of 7-8M bpd . He reiterated that oil prices of $40-50 were too low and does not permit investment in capacity and that oil demand should pick up in 2010 but unclear if oil prices will decline further

-In fixed income, the UK sold £3.5B 2020's gilts with disappointing results, bids producing a bid-to cover of 1.37 , much lower than 2 times average over the previous three auctions . Appetite for Italian debt continues to raise eyebrows with Italy selling over €6B in 4 and 10y BTPs and €995M in a 2015 FRN. Dealers have noted the persistent demand from Italian domestic accounts. 

*** NOTES ***

- The mood within Europe seemed to take on a darker color this morning. Swirls or potential profit warnings, higher unemployment figures offset the euphoria of the House passing the US stimulus package. 

-The Russian currency continues to move towards it new imposed ceiling of RUB41. Dealers noted that The RUB weakened by around 2% in today's session, while Rusiian FX reserves fell by another $10B in the latest data. The Ruble endured its biggest two- day drop in a decade against the USD.

- France being impacted by a series of strikes among its public transport sector and ports as worker express unity over the issue of job security.

- ECB's Trichet reiterated that the March policy meeting is more important than Feb when fresh staff projections would be available. 

- Looking Ahead: 

- 7:20 (GE) German Chancellor Merkel and Chinese Premier Wen hold press conference in Berlin

- 8:30 (CA) Canada Dec Industrial Product Price M/M: -2.0% expected v -2.6% prior

- 8:30 (CA) Canada Dec Raw Materials Price Index: -10.0% expected v -13.4% prior

- 8:30 (US) Dec Durable Goods Orders: -2.0% expected v -1.5% prior

- 8:30 (US) Durables Ex Transportation: -2.7% expected v 0.6% prior

- 8:30 (US) Initial Jobless Claims w/e Jan 24th: 575k expected v 589k prior

- 8:30 (US) Continuing Claims w/e Jan 17th: 4.62M expected v 4.607M prior

- 10:00 (US) New Home Sales: 397k expected v 407k prior. M/M: -2.5% expected v -2.9% prior


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