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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Euro Zone Industrial Production at multi-decade lows; ECB Report: persistent economic weakness may continue for next several quarters; Australia rejects A$42B stim

Today 05:59am

European Market Update: Euro Zone Industrial Production at multi-decade lows; ECB Report: persistent economic weakness may continue for next several quarters; Australia rejects A$42B stimulus package


- (RU) Russia Gold & Forex Reserves: v $388.1B prior

- (IN) India Dec Industrial Production Y/Y: % v -0.4%e

- (SZ) Swiss Jan SECO Consumer Climate: -23 v -36e

- (SP) Spanish Q4 Preliminary GDP Q/Q: -1.0% v -1.1%e; Y/Y: -0.7% v -0.8%e

- (NE) Dutch Jan CPI M/M: 0.3% v 0.4%e; Y/Y:1.9% v 2.0%e

- (EU) ECB Monthly Report: Persistent economic weakness to continue for coming quarters with diminishing inflationary expectations.

- (CZ) Czech Dec Current Account: -€20.6B v -€17.6Be

- (EU) Euro-zone Dec Industrial Production M/M: -2.6% v -2.5%e; Y/Y; -12.0% v -9.5%e (Largest drop in m/m since 1989 and the largest annual drop on record)

- (US) RealtyTrac, Jan foreclosure activity declined by 10% m/m, and rose 18% y/y


- In equities, Rio Tinto [RIO.UK] reported a 2008 net profit of $10.3B, slightly ahead of expectations and also confirmed reports that it would enter a $19.5B strategic partnership with China's Chinalco. || Alcoa [AA] said it would explore entering a strategic venture with Chinalco as well, and said it would exit the Shining Prospect project to improve its balance sheet. || ABB [ABBN.SZ] reported Q4 Net $213M v $154Me, EBIT $495M v $404Me, Rev $9.1B v $9.04Be; reaffirms FY11 targets. 2009 outlook remains uncertain; aims to emerge stronger from current downturn. It noted that it was not planning significant acquisitions until financial markets stabilized and that maintaining Investment grade rating remained key priority || KBC [KBC.BE] reported a net loss of €2.63B in Q4, compared to a expected profit of €220.0M. Revenues were €56M, a fraction of the €306.5M consensus expectation. The CEO noted that the results were affected by markdowns on structured credit portfolios to the tune of €1.7B, after credit ratings were downgraded, benchmark credit spreads widened and non-super senior tranches of CDO investments were marked down to zero. || EDF [EDF.FR] reported a 2008 net of €3.4B, only slightly below estimates. Revenues were more or less in line with the consensus. The company stated that organic growth remains a priority and that it sees 2009 EBITA higher. It sought to reduce its debt by €5B in 2009/10 period through asset sales. || Swedbank [SWEDA.SW] Reports Q4 Net profit of SEK1.9B below estimates of SEK2.5B. The firm does not plan to ask the state to inject capital but would participate if necessary. It added that it currently has an adequate capital base. In Q4, the bank's tier 1 ratio was 10.7%, versus 8.5% y/y. The bank took write downs in Ukraine-related banking of SEK1.4B and saw the short-term outlook in region as challenging. It had revised down its growth expectations and that the Swedish economy continued to weaken in Q4. || Renault [RNO.FR] Reported FY08 Net profit of €599M below estimates of €1.32B., EBIT came in at €212M versus estimate of €749.9M. and revenues were €37.8B missing the €39.1B consensus estimates. It planned on no dividend for FY08; to pass on 2009 dividend payout citing the priority is to achieve positive cash flow . It saw total FY09 investments at least 20% lower y/y. It targeted inventories reduction of €800M-€1.0B in 2009 and expected market conditions to worsen in 2009. || BT Group [BT.UK] Reported Q3 Adj EBITDA £1.34B compared to £1.23B estimates. Revenues were £5.44B ersus £5.36B expected. It noted that Says Q4 business was 'in line with expectations' and stated that it had cut 9.5K jobs in 9 months to December 31, and expected to hit 10K by year-end. || Schroders [SDR.UK] Reported FY08 Net £76.7M versus £300M y/y. its assets under management (AUM) were £110.2B compared to £139.1B y/y and very challenging environment to persist throughout 2009. || Diageo [DGE.UK] Reported H1 Net £1.14B versus £1.08B. Revenues were £6.7B v£5.7B y/y. The firm lowered its 2009 profit growth objectives to 4-6% from 7-9% prior. || Rolls Royce [RR.UK] reported FY net loss of £1.34B that was nearly twice the estimated loss. Revenues were £9.08B, above estimates of £8.65B. Its 2008 orders rose by 20% y/y to €55.5B. It also said it was planning a final 2008 dividend of 14.3p/shr. The company sees engine sales declining in 2009, although it still expects a modest profit. || Rexel [RXL.FR] surprised markets with a Q4 net loss of €63M; analysts had expected a profit of €50.5M. Revenues were €3.42B, slightly below consensus. The company suspended its dividend and warned it expects a significant drop in sales in 2009.

- In speakers: ECB's Trichet reiterated the view that the situation in banking sector remained difficult . He also restated that that ECB mandate remains price stability and asked countries to honor the Maastricht Stability Pact || UK Chancellor Darling reported stated that the UK would not adopt Euro currency. The report also urges Brazil, Russia, India, China to join the financial stability forum. Darling reiterated that measures taken by government will help to shorten economic recession

|| The ECB Monthly Report stated that persistent economic weakness would continue for coming quarters coupledwith diminishing inflationary expectations. ECB forecasters lowered both its GDP and inflation expectations. ECB's survey of professional forecasters cut 2009 GDP view to -1.7% while the 2010 estimate was cut to 0.6% from 1.4% prior. The 2009 inflation outlook was cut 0.9% from 2.2% prior; 2010 cut to 1.6% versus 2.0% prior || Greece PM commented that its country had no scope of room for fiscal relaxation

- In Currencies: Ahead of tomorrow's G7 summit, Risk aversion continued to remain the dominant theme as both the USD and JPY strengthened against the major pairs. Dealers were also noting that repatriation speculation helping the JPY firm. The early chatter circulated that more European sovereign downgrades in the works. Dealers were hearing that Moody's could cut Spain and Ireland debt rating from its AAA rating. Moody did issue a report noting that Spain and Ireland were among the most vulnerable nations with a AAA rating, However, the report does not constitute a change in the rating or outlook for the time being. Moody's noted that the US and UK “AAA” ratings were labeled as “resilient”. || The GBP continued to maintain a soft tone as it moved to test 1.4140 against the USD and 0.9010 against the Euro pairs. The decline in Russian reserves also help to soften the Euro sentiment after testing the 1.2930 level ahead of the European equity open. Overall the EUR/USD continues to consolidate in the board 1.27 to 1.31 range. || Dealer chatter circulated that Russian Central bank issued letter to commercial banks . The CBR letter to commercial banks reportedly warns against misuse of government bailout cash to bet against the Ruble ||

- Fixed income: With risk aversion the dominant theme in European trade, fixed income has been bid across the board this morning, with Gilts outperforming Bunds and UST's . Better buying of short dated gilts is pushing the UK yield curve to its steepest levels with the 2y10y yield spread currently at record high of 236bps. The DMO sold £1.1B of the 2027 linker's with a healthy bid-to-cover of 1.7. UST's have showed resilience ahead of the $14B long bond auction later today, benefiting from comments overnight from China. The head of China's banking regulatory agency noted that there is no real alternative to US treasuries as a safe haven investment. T-Note futures are up 14 ticks at 125-03 , whilst T-Bond futures are 16 ticks higher at 129 ¼. In corporate news, Siemens sold €2B in 4y and 8y bonds with results reported to better than expectations.

- In Energy: NYMEX front month crude lower by over $0.50/barrel to $35.40 per contract || Total [FP.FR] Reported Q4 Net profit of €2.9B (ex items) compared to consensus of €2.63B. revenues were €38.71B versus €25.0B estimates. It saw FY09 capex budget about around $18B compared to $18.3B spend in 2008. It FY08 reserve replacement rate 112%. The CEO commented that the Chinese Investment Fund had slightly increased stake in the company. It also Continue discussions with Iran on South pars project || UK's oil industry is seeking tax breaks according to the Times. The article noted that the UK oil companies asked for the tax relief to prevent a collapse in drilling activity in the North Sea. || Venezuela's President Chavez said that local authorities took into custody some soldiers for allegedly attempting a coup || Iraq State Oil Marketer SOMO stated that it did not see oil prices reaching $70-75 bbl level prior to 2011. Oil over $50 bbl would not take place until H2 2009. Country is experiencing difficulties in regards to growing oil stocks

- Commodities: Gold maintained a bid tone as it hovered near the $945/oz level. || South Africa Dec Total Mining Output fell by 10.7% on an annual basis. Gold Output Y/Y: -17.6%; Non-gold output Y/Y: -9.8%

*** NOTES ***

- The equity markets encountered another harsh session as Tokyo played catch up after its holiday and European bourses are lower. liquor maker Diageo Plc posted disappointing results and investors speculated that the scaled down US stimulus package measures would not revive the global growth scenario. The sentiment is that the US will post its largest GDP decline since 1946 later this month, as consumer spending would continue its longer downtrend in history. Australia's Senate today rejected a A$42B stimulus package aimed at preventing the country's first recession in 18 years.

- Looking Ahead:

- Key Pre-Open earnings: Coca Cola [KO]; Encana [ECA]; Marriot [MAR] and Viacom [VIA]

- 8:00 (PD) Polish Dec Current Account: -€2.3B expected v -€1.7B prior

- 8:30 (US) Jan Advance Retail Sales: -0.8% expected v -2.7% prior

- 8:30 (US) Jan Retail Sales Less Autos: -0.4% expected v -3.1% prior

- 8:30 (US) Initial Jobless Claims w/e Feb 7th: 610k expecte v 626k prior

- 8:30 (UK) Continuing Claims w/e Jan 31st: 4.8M expected v 4.788M prior

- 10:00 (US) Dec Business Inventories: -0.9% expected v -0.7% prior

- 11:30 (MX) To sell 3-year and 5-year Floating rate bonds

- 1:00 (US) Treasury to sell $14B 30y Notes



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