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Thursday March 5, 2009 - 11:05:37 GMT
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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Market awaits BOE and ECB interest rate decisions; China sees 8% GDP target as obtainable without increasing its prior CNY4T stimulus package

Today 05:53am EST/10:53am GMT

European Market Update: Market awaits BOE and ECB interest rate decisions; China sees 8% GDP target as obtainable without increasing its prior CNY4T stimulus package


- (PH) Philippine Central Bank cuts its overnight borrowing rate by 25bps to 4.75%; less than the 50bps cut expected.

- (RU) Russia Gold & FX Reserves for w/e Feb 27th: $384.3B v $381.9B prior

- (GE) German Retail Sales M/M: -0.6% v 0.2%e; Y/Y: -1.3% v -0.7%e

- (FR) French Q4 ILO Unemployment Rate: 8.2% v 7.9%e; ILO Mainland Unemployment: 7.8% v 7.3% prior; Mainland Unemployment Change: 187K v 9k prior

- (FR) French Jan Producer Prices M/M: -2.0% v 0.3%e: Y/Y: -2.7% v -0.4%e

- (SP) Spanish Jan Industrial Ouptut nsa Y/Y: -23.6% v -15.4% prior; WDA Y/Y: -20.2% v -20.2%e

- (NV) Dutch Feb CPI M/M: 0.7% v 0.6%e; Y/Y: 2.0% v 1.8%e

- (UK) Feb HBOS House Prices M/M: -2.3% v -2.0%e; 3M/Y: -17.7% v -17.8%e

- (EU) Euro-zone Q4 Prelim GDP Q/Q: -1.5% v -1.5%e; Y/Y: -1.3% v -1.2%e

- (UK) Feb New car registrations Y/Y: -21.9 v -30.9% prior

- (SA) S. Africa Feb SACOB Business Confidence: 84.5 v 82.4 prior


- Equities: AmBev [ABV]Reported Q4 Net BRL964.5M below estimates of BRL1.18Be. revenues were BRL6.5B better than the BRL6.24B consensus. || Fraport [FRA.GE] Reported its FY08 Net profit of €173M below expectations of €188.8M.. Revenues were roughly in line at €2.10B versus €2.11B estimates. It expected Frankfurt airport traffic to decline this year but rebound in 2010 and noted it was keeping FY09 absolute dividend amount stable. It did note that both net profit and EBITDA would decline in 2009 || Anheuser-Busch InBev [ABI.BE] Reported Q4 Adj Net of €351M below consensus of €397M. Its EBITDA of €1.7B (ex items) was above expectations of €1.5B. Revenues of €5.25B were above forecasts of €5.14B.

The cost of its recent merger hit the bottom line. It noted that its 2008 volumes were flat and saw 2009 CAPEX "at least" $1B lower than 2008 levels. It saw synergies of $2.25B in merger between Inbev and Anheuser-Busch and would dispose of some $7B in assets as a result. It would extend maturity and enhance currency profile of debt and saw expansion of margins in 2009 || Siemens [SIE.GE] CFO stated that the company would suspend its share buyback program to maintain liquidity. It would remain flexible for acquisitions and had no plans to change current shortened-hour work structure r || Integrated gas firm GDF-Suez [GSZ.FR] Reported 2008 Net of €6.5B above €6.2B estimates. The firm pushed back a key core earnings target by a year and stepped up cost cut efforts. It would pay ordinary dividend of €1.40/shr and special dividend of €0.80/shr. The firm stated that it saw 2009 EBITDA above 2008 levels but delayed its 2010 EBITDA target ( prior guidance €17B v €16.6Be). It accelerated 2009 cost cuts to €650M from original €500M || German steel maker Salzgitter [SZG.GE] Reported FY08 Net €676.9M missing expectations of €786.9M. Revenues were €12.5B slightly above €12.3B estimates. It did not provide 2009 guidance but pretax break-even possible in 2009 if market notably recovered. The firm stated that lower production levels of steel companies would most likely cause the sales and pre-tax profit of services to decline in 2009. it took a €200M writedown on steel trading and inventories and did not expect to break even in H1 of 2009 due to critical developments in rolled steel market. Lastly, it expected markets to stagnate beyond Q2 || The integrated builder Balfour Beatty [BBY.UK] Reported FY08 Pretax profit of£249M better than the £243.0M estimate. Revenues came in at £8.26B above forecasts of £7.95B. It the was awarded $480M in multiple contracts. For its Year end order book, firm noted that it stood at £12.8B, up from £11.4B reported y/y. Stated that in the medium term, the outlook for rail is very positive, as a result of both new requirements and the replacement of ageing infrastructure while in Dubai, the significant slowdown will depress revenues and cash performance in that market in 2009. || Premier Foods [PFD.UK] Reported FY08 Pretax £193.8M above £185.6M estimates. Revenues came in at £2.6B missing estimates of 2.73B. the firm would sell 1.6B in new shares at 26p/each to raise £404M . it considered it appropriate to suspend dividend payments and would use proceeds to repay £1.8B of debt || The miner Kazakhmys [KAZ.UK] Reported FY08 EBITDA of £1.6B below consensus of £1.9B. Revenues were £5.15B versus £5.26B estimates. It would not pay final dividend v $0.27/shr y/y. CEO commented that the firm was prepared to make asset disposals if needed to meet debt requirements, disposals not currently required || Essilor [[EI.FR] Reported FY08 Net profit €382.4M slightly below expectations of €389Me. Revenues were in line with estimates at €3.07B. Company saw its Q1 organic growth off 2% y/y but expected it to recover during the remainder of 2009. its medium term organic growth target at 5-6% || he UK's largest insurer Aviva [AV.UK] reported its FY08 at a net loss £885M compared to a gain of £1.28Be. It put its FY IFRS Op profit at £2.3B ahead of the £2.28B expected. Ariva maintained its dividend at 33P/share. The insurer noted it has already achieved £340M of targeted 500M cost savings plan scheduled to be complete in 2010 while markets continue to be the most difficult in recent business history. For FY08, the insurer put its NAV at 416P/share down from the 494P/share reported y/y. Its FY08 ROE stood at 11% up from the 10.4% reported y/y with a Shareholders equity at £11.05B down from £12.95B y/y. || EDF [EDF.FR] has been reportedly studying sale of its 33% stake in RTE - French press. La Tribune reported that co. is considering the possible sale of 33% of its Reseau de Transport. || [ThyssenKrupp [TKA.GE] To commence its €1.0B sale of service units and noted that Hotchief and Bilfinger might be potential buyers along with private equity firms. || A P Moller Maersk [MAERSKB.DE] Reported FY08 Net $3.5B in line with estimates of$3.04B. revenues were $61.2B better than the forecasts of $52.2B among analysts. The company expected FY09 profit to be 'significantly' below FY08 levels and saw overall volume development container market being negative this year.

- Speakers: Polish Central Banker Filar commented that he could not contemplate an interest rate hike at this time and stated that rates were 'stable enough' to strengthen the Zloty currency. || Japanese MOF Sugimoto reiterated the general view that recent data has shown that its economy was worsening rapidly. || Swedish Central Banker Oberg commented that weakness in Krona FX rate was temporary. Fluctuating currency created market uncertainty but that a weak SEK would provide inflationary impetus. He added there was a risk that SEK weakening might be 'prolonged' but SEK to strengthen once financial and global economic crisis have passed . The banker also addressed economic issues. He stated that ther was a prolong risk that economy would remain weak in 2009 and into 2010 period. The Riksbank might develop further unconventional policy measures to address the situation. || EBRD Chief Economist Berglof: Banking crisis in Eastern Europe is 'manageable' and that EBRD could lend more than €7B to Eastern Europe if necessary ||China PBoC Vice Gov stated that he saw a 'substantial' recovery in H2 for Chinese economy || Russia Fin Ministry stated that Russia banned investments of state reserve funds in foreign states agencies bonds. MOF noted that the Reserve fund must be 95% composed of foreign sovereign debt

- In Currencies: Market action was underpinned ahead of the BOE and ECB interest rate decisions later today. Dealers noting that the main story would likely be the accompanying ECB press conference. European currency sentiment being weighed down by higher unemployment figures rising across the eurozone. EUR/USD at 1.2570 ahead of the NY morning. The HBOS House Price Index did not provide any sign of Stability as the Feb decline reversed to Jan positive reading (which was the first in 13 month). Talk from China of a stimulus package failed to provide any details. USD/JPY holding in the mid 99 area with continued talk of Japanese exporters placing offers up through the 100 level.

- Fixed Income: In relatively muted trade ahead of key BoE and ECB interest rate decisions, €4B in short dated Spanish supply was well received, whilst France sold just under €7B in longer dated OAT's with mixed results. UST's are in bear steepening mode in the electronic session, with better selling in longer parts of the curve pushing the yield on the 10y note back above 3.00%. Traders have noted the UST/Bund spread has firmed up to just -13bps, having been as wide as -90bps in February.

- In Energy: China's Energy Minister: No plans to change windfall tax on crude oil, no estimates for power pricing reform || China Petrochemical Sinopec [SNP] Planned to tighten investments and lower crude runs due to market conditions as Cash flow was "fairly tight.” Not planning any acquisitions in the near term. Demand showed signs of recovery, daily fuel sales at 310K tons versus 280K in Dec.

- Credit Crisis: UK Telegraph picking up on a recently released report from the International Bank of Settlements (BIS). Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote that European banks faced an USD funding gap as a result of aggressive expansion around the world and may have difficulties rolling over these debts || Fitch: Sees further increase in UK credit card ABS delinquencies. Fitch stated that delinquency levels reported on UK credit card trusts hit a new historically high level in January 2009, having recorded a month-on-month increase for each of the last five months. It expected this deterioration to continue throughout 2009, with the rise in delinquencies supporting the agency''s view that the economic deterioration in the UK will continue to impact customers'' ability to service their credit card debts.

*** NOTES ***

- The primary focus will be the pending European interest rate decision from the BOE and ECB ahead of the NY equity open. Overall, the consensus for both central banks is for a 50bps interest rate cut. There is some hope that the ECB might cut bigger but dealer noting that is a “longshot:

- China party congress commenced today and will meet over the next 8 days (down from 13 last year). Initial remarks from PM Wen provided no details on any new stimulus package but reiterated the 2009 GDP growth target of 8%. Was within reach

- UK Telegraph article took notice of a recent BIS research note in which Euro-Zone banks face $2T funding shortage (See credit crisis section)

- Looking Ahead:

- 7:00 (UK) Bank of England Interest Rate Decision: 50bps cut to 0.50% expected; current Bank rate is 1.00%

- 7:45 (EU) ECB Interest Rate Decision: 50bps cut to 1.50% expected; current Refi rate is 2.00%

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

- 8:30 (CA) Canadian Jan Building Permits: -5.0% expected v -3.9% prior

- 8:30 (US) Q4 Final Nonfarm productivity: 1.0% expected v 3.2% prior

- 8:30 (US) Q4 Final Unit labor Costs: 3.8% expected v 1.8% prior

- 8:30 (US) Initial Jobless Claims w/e Feb 28th: 650k expected v 667k prior

- 8:30 (US) Continuing Claims w/e Feb 21st: 5.155M expected v 5.112M prior

- 10:00 (CA) Feb Ivey Purchasing Managers Index: 37.8 expected v 36.1 prior

- 10:00 (US) Jan Factory Orders: -3.5% expected v -3.9% prior

- 10 :00 (US) Q4 Mortgage Delinquencies: No expectations v 6.99% prior

- 10:00 (US) Treasury Sec Geithner testifies before House Budget Committee

- 10:00 (US) Fed's Kohn testifies before Senate Banking Committee

-1:00 (US) Treasury 3, 10 and 30y note announcements


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