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Forex Blog - European Market Update: HBOS House Price Index registers its first MoM increase in 13 months; Russian Ruble tests recently imposed Basket ceiling of 41; BOE likely to cut while ECB pauses

Today 05:48am

European Market Update: HBOS House Price Index registers its first MoM increase in 13 months; Russian Ruble tests recently imposed Basket ceiling of 41; BOE likely to cut while ECB pauses on interest rate cycle


- (RU) Russian Jan CPI M/M: 2.4% v 2.4%e; Y/Y: 13.4% v 13.4%e; YTD 1.3% v 1.2%e 

- (SP) Spain Industrial Output nsa Y/Y: -15.4% v -17.4% prior; WDA Y/Y: -19.6% v-16.0%e 

- (CZ) Czech Dec Trade Balance: -CZK11.8B v -CZK9.2Be 

- (UK) Jan HBOS House Prices M/M: +1.9% v -1.6%e; 3M/Y: -17.2% v -18.4%e; First M/M increase since Jan 2008

- (IT) Italian Jan Preliminary CPI (NIC icl Tobacco) M/M: -0.1% v 0.0%e; Y/Y: 1.6% v 1.8%e 

- (IT) Italian Jan Prelim CPI- EU Harmonized M/M: -1.6% v -1.1%e; Y/Y: 1.5% v2.0%e 

- (GE) German Dec Factory Orders M/M: % v -2.5%e; Y/Y: % v-24.5%e 


- Equities: Swiss Re [RUKN.SZ] Guided FY08 Net loss of-CHF1B below consensus estimates of CHF582.9M. It sought to raise CHF3B in capital from Berkshire Hathaway and could consider an additional CHF2B capital raise. Berkshire to be issued with convertible capital instruments in return for funds, notes can be converted into shares after 3 years. It noted that it would cut dividend to 'nominal amount' ||Zurich Financial [ZURN.SZ] Reported Q4 net profit $205M versus $606.7M expected with Op Profit at $1.0B slightly below consensus of $1.1B. The company did not see significant improvements in the economic environment in the near term || Bonduelle [BON.FR] Reports Q2 Rev of €403.5M, up 4.2% y/y. It reaffirmed its FY08/09 operating profit targets and noted that they would match year ago levels || Norske Skog [NSG.NO] Reported Q4 Net loss of NOK1.28B slightly better than the loss of NOK1.31B expected. It revenues came in at NOK7.4B above the NOK6.39B consensus. || Skandinaviska Enskilda [SEBA.SW] Reports Q4 Net profit ofSEK3.51B v 3.75B y/y, Op profit SEK5.51B v SEK4.38B y/y, Proposes no div for 2008, plans SEK15 right issue || Deutsche Bank [DBK.GE]. The company reported its Q4 net loss was €4.8B, which was in line with its pre-announcement on Jan 14th. Its Q4 sales were a negative €885M versus the €7.3B y/y. Reported 2008 loss before income taxes of €5.7B with Net sales of €13.5B compared to year-ago levels of €30.7B. CEO Ackermann stated that Jan revenues of €2.8B were significantly above those y/y, just off record levels || Unilever [UNA.NV] Reported Q4 Net profit of €1.14B above consensus of €867M. It revenues were €10.2B roughly in line with the estimates of €10.1B with volumes down 1.6% y/y. It would not provide FY10 guidance. Its FY08 Rev came in line with consensus estimates with €40.5B || Atos [ATO.FR] Reported Q4 revenues of €1.41B and in line with expectations of €1.4B with an organic revenue growth 3.6% .Its Order book stood at €7.4B at end of 2008. || Crucell [CRXL.NV] Reported Q4 Net €19.2M above expectations of €6.8M. It revenues €93.7M roughly in line with the €92M estimates. Its FY08 Net profit €14.6M beat expectations of a loss €2.8M. with revenues of €283.3M better than the €267M consensus. It guided FY09 revenues up 20% in constant currencies and saw op profit improving significantly. Thus it expected another positive year in 2009 and added it had solid cashflow. || Air Berlin [AB1.GE] Reported Jan Load Factor of 69.4% versus 69.1% y/y || Tui Travel [TT.UK] Provided Interim Management Statement noting that its bookings continued on track with capacity cuts. It reported 2008 Total Load Factor of 75%, which was "broadly in line" y/y and noted it would continuing to achieve load factor targets with strong average selling prices. || Fortum [FUM1V.FH] Reported Q4 Sales of €1.6B compared €1.65B. Op profit €611M slightly below the €622M estimates. It saw continued economic slowdown as negatively effecting power demands, current crisis may increase counterparty risk issues || Peter Hambro [POG.UK] Sought to raise £55M in new share issue and commented that itsmerger plans with Aricom were at an advanced stage || Danske bank [DANSKE.DC] Reported Q4 Net Loss DKK5.89B below expectations for a profit of DKK385.7M. Net interest income DKK7.37B was slightly above the DKK6.91B expectations. To seek DKK25B from government || Santander [SAN.SP] Reports Q4 Net €1.94B v €2Be, FY08 Net €8.88B v €9.2Be, Op profit €17.73B v €16.37Be ||

- Speakers: BoJ Mizuno stated that it must observe Japanese corporate funding after the end of March's fiscal year. Cutting interest rates to zero might hurt the market and saw little point in setting range of policy rate. Controlling term rates is likely to have better impact || Japan Vice Fin Min Sugimoto: To maintain current foreign reserve stance || Former Japan Fin Min: Tanigaki: Sharp increase in Yen FX rate may hurt exporters but noted the current USD/JPY FX rate was not deviating from Japan economic conditions. He warned against increases in trade protectionism and suggested that G7 address such an issue || Polish Central Bank Skrzypek comented that Euro adoption wasnot a cure for everything and that ERM2 entry would trigger constant interventions. He reiterated that their could be additional interest rate cuts || Russian Central Banker Shvetsov: Reiterates additional rate hikes are possible if its currency situation remains unchanged ||

- In Currencies: The better HBOS Housing data provided the GBP to sustain a mildly bullish tne during the course of the European morning. GBP/USD tested near the 1.45 level. EUR/GBP holding below the 0.89 level. Russian: Ruble weakened against its basket to test its imposed ceiling of 41 ceiling. Back on Jan 22nd the Russian Central bank halted the widening of the Ruble corridor at the 41 level against its basket and noted that the upper basket boundary would not change in coming months and later added that it would use all tools available to maintain the ceiling. BoJ Mizuno noted that confidence in USD depended upon US economic and fiscal sustainability. Japan growth could be worse than latest BOJ projection as economy in hard landing mode || UBS commented that USD demand seems uncertain but US Treasury appetite could support dollar || EUR/USD: Chatter circulating of a 'significant' option barrier build below the 1.23 level. || Bank of Tokyo currency analyst comments on Euro noting that the EUR/USD pair could rally in short term but its sustainability is doubtful

- Fixed income: A combination of Supply from France and Spain, weaker equities and a slim chance of ECB easing pushed the German yield curve to its steepest levels in over decade in early trade. France sold €6.2B in 10 and 30y OAT's with reasonable results, but the increased supply sent yields higher in longer parts of the curve. The 2-y 10y yield spread touched 190bps, its widest level since August 1997. Spain also sold €4.8B in 2y and 5y Bonos. Bunds are currently down 26 ticks in the March contract at 121.66 with just over 200k contracts traded at this time .

- In Energy: Petroplus [PPHN.SZ] Reports Q4 Net loss $774.9M v profit $21.8Me. It noted that it had $700M credit available in working capital facility at end Dec. It expected refining margins to be lower in FY09 and FY10 || Neste Oil [NES1V.FH] Reported Q4 Op loss of €352M worse than expectations of a profit €138.2M. Sales were €2.81B above expectations of €2.6B. It saw the distillate market outperforming gasoline market in 2009 and expected weaker global demand for petroleum products in 2009. It guided its 20009 CAPEX at around €950Mlevel. Pressure on diesel margins due weak economy and expects "very weak" demand for gasoline throughout 2009 || Tullow Oil [TLW.UK: Successfully completes Kingfisher-3A Appraisal Well, Uganda and sought development Options for Albert Basin being considered ||

- Credit Crisis: France won EU's approval to provide aid for firms in form of reduced interest rates || Polish Deputy Fin Min commented that Zloty currency softness was a serious concern for its debt service || UBS [UBSN.SZ] Swiss Gov't dened press speculation that it intended to break up the bank ||

*** NOTES ***

- After the record $67B US quarterly refunding announcement on Wednesday, there were some notable comments out of the Far East as both Japan and China seem to indicate no immediate change in their appetite in Treasuries. 

- Dealers pointing out that another EU bank (Spain's Sabadell) did not exercise a bond call option. Deutsche performed a similar feat a few weeks ago and traders are pondering if a trend is in place on this type of activity. 

- The UK HBOS housing index saw its first Month-over-Month increase since jan 2008. 

- Waiting for BOE and ECB interest rate decisions. BOE expected to cut by 50bps to 1.00% while the ECB is likely to 'pause' at its 2.0% level. 

- US earnings and Jan retail Same-store sales data highlight a busy NY morning. Boeing received its second cancellation of a 787 Dreamliner order. 

- Looking Ahead: 

- Key US corporate earnings seen ahead of the opening bell: Burger King [BKC]; Cardinal health [CAH]; Cigni [CI]; Duke Energy [DUK]; Estee Lauder [EL]; Flir Systems [FLIR]; Kellogg [K]; Mastercard [MA]; Sonoco [SON]

- 7:00 (UK) Bank of England Interest Rate Decision: Consensus expectations are for a 50bps cut to 1.00%. The Current Bank Rate is 1.50%

- 7:45 (EU) ECB Interest Rate Decision: Consensus expectations are for rate to remain steady at 2.0%. Thus the ECB would pause after enacting 225bps cut from last Oct. 

- 8:30 (CA) Canadian Dec Building Permits M/M: -5.0% expected v -11.8% prior

- 8:30 (US) Q4 Non-farm Productivity: 1.5% expected v 1.3% prior

- 8:30 (US) Q4 Unit Labor Costs: 2.8% expected v 2.8% prior

- 8:30 (US) Initial Jobless Claims w/e Jan 31st: 580k expected v 588k prior

- 8:30 (US) Continuing Claims: 4.795M expected v 4.776M prior

- (CZ) Czech Interest Rate Decision: 50bps cut to 1.75% expected, current Repo Rate is 2.25%

- (SA) South African Interest Rate Decision: 100bps cut to 10.50% expected; current rate is 10.50%

- 10:00 (CA) Ivey Purchasing Managers Index: 40.0 expected v 39.1 prior

- 10:00 (US) Dec Factory Orders: -3.1% expected v -4.6% prior


- 8:30 (US) Fed's Plosser speaks in Philadelphia

- 8:30 (EU) ECB's Trichet holds monthly news conference

-12:30 (SZ) SNB's Hildebrand speaks in Zurich


Euro Macro sector headlines

o                                                        Today 05:39am

(NI) Nigeria Central Bank Governor: Expects local currency to strengthen in near term

o                                                        UBSN.SZ Today 05:33am

UBS AG (SZ) Swiss Gov't denies press speculation that it intends to break up the bank- Government denied a NY Post article that UBS was under pressure from the Swiss government to break itself more...

o                                                        Today 05:08am

European Market Internals update at 5:00am ET- FTSE100 volume 279.1M shares, about 1% lower than its 52 week moving average - DAX30 volume 27.8M shares, about 20% lower than its 52 week average more...

o                                                        Today 05:07am

EURIBOR Fixings for Thursday Feb 4th- 1m: 1.70% v 1.71% prior - 3m: 2.04% v 2.05% prior - 6m: 2.13% v 2.14% prior

o                                                        Today 05:00am

*(IT) ITALIAN JAN PRELIM CPI- EU HARMONIZED M/M: -1.6% V -1.1%E; Y/Y: 1.5% V 2.0%E- No revisions

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