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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Safe Haven theme unfolds; World Bank sees global 2009 GDP and trade to contract for first time since World War II (1945)

Today 05:55am EST/09:55am GMT

European Market Update: Safe Haven theme unfolds; World Bank sees global 2009 GDP and trade to contract for first time since World War II (1945)

*** ECONOMIC DATA ***

- (JP) Japan Feb Corporate Bankruptcies y/y: 10.3% v 15.8% prior

- (JP) Feb Eco Watchers Current: 19.4 v 17.3e; Outlook: 26.5 v 22.1 prior

- (SZ) Feb Swiss Unemployment rate: 3.4% v 3.4%e; Unemployment Rate SA: 3.1% v 3.1%e

- (FR) Feb Bank of France Business Sentiment: 70 v 68e

- (CZ) Feb Czech Trade Balance (CZK): 3.5B v 3.5Be

- (CZ) Feb Czech Unemployment Rate: 7.4% v 7.0%e

- (CZ) Feb Czech CPI M/M: 0.1% v 0.2%e; Y/Y: 2.0% v 2.1%e

- (TU) Jan Turkish Industrial Production Y/Y: -21.3% v -19.0%e

- (EU) Mar Euro-Zone Sentix Investor Confidence: -42.7 v -38.0e



*** SPEAKERS/FIXED INCOME/FX/COMMODITIES/ERRATUM ***

- Equities: Swiss Re [RUKN.SZ: Chairman of the Board Peter Forstmoser to resign, effective May 1, 2009 || Credit Suisse [CSGN.SZ] Appointed Hans-Ulrich Doerig as new Chairman, President; effective April 24th || Rio Tinto [RIO.UK] Arch Coal announced it would purchase the company's Jacobs Ranch unit in Wyoming for $761M . the deal included 381M tons of coal reserves || Lloyds [LLOY.UK] has confirmed participating in UK asset protection program; to put about £260B of assets into UK protection program (APS). States that 83% of assets come from HBOS legacy book, the rest from Lloyds TSB book. To replace £4B of government preference shares with new ordinary shares to be offered to existing shareholders; if shareholders do not take up offer of shares, UK government will own about 65% of bank; in the event of full conversion of "B" shares government would own up to 77% of bank. Lloyds tol take a first loss of up to £25B on assets. Will pay a £15.6B fee to the Treasury for asset plan. Asset protection scheme will boost core tier 1 ratio fo 14.6% from 6.4%; will reduce risk weighted assets by £194B, or about 39%. Bank has promised to increase lending by £14B in next 12 months. ||Barclays[ BARC.UK] has opened talks with the UK Treasury about its possible participation in the asset-protection plan - Sunday Times. The talks are expected to begin this week in a more formal setting. A related report in the Sunday Express said that Barclays is initially looking to place assets worth up to £60B into the asset-protection plan. The Telegraph added that Barclays was expected to hold talks with the FSA over the stress-testing of a number of loan portfolios to determine if the bank will participate in the asset protection plan. || Cookson Group [CKSN.UK] reported its FY08 Pretax at £176.2M v £164.3M expected. Revenues cam in at £2.2B, in line with expectations of £2.19B. Stated that FY08 trading profit were £216.3M +11% y/y. Additionally Cookson announced that it would be suspending 'top-ups' in the expansion of its CAPEX and dividend plans (seeking to save £40M). ||Petrofac [PFC.UK] reported its FY08 Net $265M v $260M expected, EBITDA at $419.0M, ahead of the expected $381.7M and revenues of $3.3B, in line with expectations of $3.25B. Petrofac noted that it is well-positioned to deliver further strong growth in 2009 and beyond. Firm put its full year div at 16.66p/shr, up 55% y/y. || EAD's [EAD.FR], it was reported in the FT that that the firm may report its FY08 revenues of €43B, ahead of expectations of €41.37B. ||Fortis [FORB.BE] -BNP confirmed the revised agreement to buy Fortis from the Belgian government, confirmed new terms for agreement. According to BNP, the deal will be accretive by as early as 2010 and that a s segregation of riskiest structured loan assets will take place. BNP stated that its Tier 1 rato will remain stable after the transaction. Following the deal, the merged group will have a deposit base of more than €540B. The merged entity will have a loan to deposit ratio of 120%, AUM of more than €660B. The Belgian government confirmed that it would sell Fortis to BNP and under the terms of the agreement, BNP will take a 75% stake in Fortis Bank and a 25% stake in Fortis' insurance unit in Belgium. The government will retain a 25% stake in Fortis Bank and Fortis Holding will maintain 75% of the insurance unit. BNP will pay €2.88B in stock for Fortis bank and an additional €1.38B of the insurance unit share. Also under the new agreement, the Belgian government will provide €740M of equity funding to a company created to split off €11.4B of risk assets into a separate entity, BNP will contribute €200M to the entity and Fortis will provide €760M and €9.7B in debt funding. Also as part of the agreement to split off Fortis' risky assets, Belgium will provide a €4.4B guarantee and BNP obtained a €1.5B state guarantee on losses exceeding €3.5B on the structured credit holdings. According to the Belgian Central Bank the structured credit investments that will be held in the separate entity have been marked down to about 58% of par value. || Swedbank [SWEDA.SW], the bank cut is dividend to zero from a previous dividend proposal of SEK4.50/shr, will not pay FY08 dividend. Bank will not pay dividend on ordinary or preference shares. Sees decision adding 0.4% to its capital ratio (15.2% from 14.8%), will save SEK2.9B. Announced that Folsam to take 90M share stake in firm (14.6%) and that AB Svensk to take 25.2M share stake in frim (3.3%). ||


- Speakers: ECB's Stark stated that it was unable to predict end of global economic crisis and commented that it was likely to experience negative growth during all quarters of 2009 in what amounts to be the deepest downturn since the end of WW2. Unemployment might rise further in Europe. Stark noted that the size and pace of interest rate cuts enacted since October has been unprecedented. However, the global crisis cannot be resolved by Central Banks alone. ||ECB's Nowotny: stated that the ECB was discussing non-standard measures but no conclusion made at this time; ECB will act appropriately and too soon to predict potential action at its April policy meeting. He commented that there was no need for extra Eastern European liquidity measures nor discuss accepting collateral in Eastern European currency markets. No need to speed up ERM II entry regulations and observed that many Eastern European countries GDP rate exceeded Euro-zone ||China's PBoC Vice Chairman Yi commented that its foreign reserve policy remained unchanged and would focused on safety and liquidity. He reiterated the view that the current fiscal stimulus package a sufficient, sound and effective. The February loan growth iin Chia was still strong but noting the country's exports were slowing and hoped exports stabilize. He noted that it must focus on domestic demand development || Argentine Central Bank Gov said they were observing massive capital outflows from emerging markets, including Latin America. There are big strains on Eastern European banking balance sheets|| SNB Chief Economist stated that the Swiss economy had deteriorated dramatically over the last year but there were no evidence of a credit crunch in Switzerland

||Polish Central Bank Gov reiterates his view that the Zloty currency was now substantially undervalued . The central bank would expand its repo operations to six months. He still saw positive economic growth taking place in Poland for 2009 || Japan MoF Sugimoto stated that it woud keep observing stock and FX markets movements closely. He added that the japanese economy was facing rapid slowdown. Hoever; Japan PM Aso commented that it would not 'intervene' in its equities market in remarks to reporters.


- In Currencies: Risk aversion and safe haven buying sent the USD firmer against the major pairs in the session. Continued concerns over the global economic outlook weighed upon equities. World Bank reportedly sees the global economy and the volume of global trade to contract shrink during 2009 for the first time since World War II. GBP experienced broad based selling pressure as its 10-year Gilt fell below the 3.0% level for fresh all-time lows. GBP/USD tested below 1.40 while EUR/GBP was back above the 0.90handle. EUR/USD was off a 100 pips from its Tokyo open to test 1.2600. || Dealers noting of possible 'intervention threat" by Hungarian Central Bank was very possible. The Hungarian Central Bank stated over the weekend planned to start converting Euros on open market and added it was "ready to use all monetary tools"


- Fixed income: Gilts have again outperformed Bunds and UST's, with the June Contact currently at fresh highs above the 125 handle, and the 10y cash yield moving below 3.00% for all time lows. June Bunds have also tested new contract highs at 125.64. Traders are paying attention to narrowing spreads with Bunds just 6bps cheaper than the 10y Note, and the 10y Gilt just 5bps cheaper than the Bund, the latter spread at its lowest level since October 2002. In corporates, GE Capital will reportedly look to price a USD denominated benchmark offering this week, backed by the US's Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program


- In Energy: OPEC Sec General El Badri: stated that OPEC might need to cut an additional 800K bpd from it production and noted that such cuts would depend on compliance rates. He expected to continue to see downward pressure on oil prices and added that the current price level was not acceptable but is at least stable || Statoil [STL.NO] Announced oil and gas discovery in North Sea wildcat well || Chevron [CVX] FT article noted that company would commence a testing production technique to unlock more Middle East reserves. Article noted that the technique, designed to produce heavy oil that cannot be extracted using conventional methods, will be used in the “partitioned neutral zone” between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.


*** NOTES ***US clocks moved ahead one hour over the weekend

- World Bank predicts that the global economy to contract for first time since WW2. Thus risk aversion and safe haven play weighing upon equities. Nikkei 225 Index closes at its lowest level since Q4 1982. Japan registered its first current account deficit in 13 years,

- The theme of protectionism is gaining ground. The FT reported that Bank of America is to cancel job offers to foreign graduates of US business schools.

-Senator McCain and Shelby commented that large banks can be allowed to fail.

- - Looking Ahead:

- 7:00 (BR) Brazil Feb FGV Inflation IGP-DI: % v 0.09%e

- 8:15 (CA) Feb Canada Housing Starts: K v 145.0Ke

- 11:00 (MX) Feb Mexico Consumer Prices M/M: % v 0.22%e; Y/Y: % v 6.20%e; CPI Core M/M: % v 0.46%e

 

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