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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Risk aversion moves back into focus on continued global recession fears; JPY currency firms on repatriation flows ahead of fiscal-year end

Today 06:18am EST/10:18am GMT

European Market Update: Risk aversion moves back into focus on continued global recession fears; JPY currency firms on repatriation flows ahead of fiscal-year end


*** ECONOMIC DATA ***

- (RU) Russian Central Bank: Gold/FX reserves at $380.5B v $384.3B w/w 

- (FR) French Q4 Final Non Farm Payrolls: -0.7% v -0.6% prior

- (FR) French Feb Consumer Price Index: M/M: 0.4% v 0.2%e; Y/Y: 0.9% v 0.8%e; CPI Ex Tobacco Index: 117.59 v 117.51e

- (SP) Spain Feb CPI M/M: 0.0% v 0.1e; Y/Y: 0.7% v 0.7%e

- (SP) Spain Feb CPI Core: -0.1% v 0.1%e; Y/Y: 1.6% v 1.8%e

- (SP) Spain Feb CPI (EU Harmonized): 0.0% v 0.1%e; Y/Y: 0.7% v 0.7%e

- (HU) Hungarian Jan Preliminary Trade Balance: -€192M v -€80.0Me

- (SW) Swedish Feb CPI- Headline Rate M/M: 0.0% v -0.2%e;Y/Y: 0.9% v 0.7%e

- (SW) Swedish Feb CPI - Underlying Inflation M/M: 0.5% v 0.4%e; Y/Y: 1.9% v 1.8%e; CPI Level: 297.95 v 297.6e

- (IT) Italian Q4 Final GDP Q/Q: -1.9% v -1.8%e; Y/Y: -2.9% v -2.6%e

- ECB Mar Monthly Report: Economic risks are 'more balanced' but outlook remains uncertain. 

- (UK) BOE Quarterly Inflation Survey: 1-year CPI expectations: 2.1% v 2.8% prior; lowest reading since May 2005

- (EU) Euro-Zone Jan PPI M/M: -0.5% v 0.5%e; Y/Y: -0.8% v -0.2%e



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

- Equities: Roche [ROG.SZ] and Genentech [DNA] Reach merger agreement at $95.00/shr, in a deal valued at $46.9B. Roche's Chairman commented that he was confident that most or all of Genentech's senior management will stay on after the merger and added that financing of Genentech merger was not an issue|| Carrefour [CA.FR] Reported FY08 Net €1.26B well below estimates of €1.82Be. Revenues were inline at €87B v €87.0B expected. It would seek to focus on organic growth and expansion into growth markets. Its Jan-Feb Like-for-like sales (ex fuel) have increased and the firm would limit its FY09 CAPEX spending at €2.5B. Net debts stood at €6.65B compared to year ago levels of €7.36B with no refinancing needed until May 2010. The firm CEO commented on the conference call that it would seek to reinvent their hypermarket operations and would review non-profitable markets. || BMW [BMW.GE] Reports 2008 EBIT €921M below the €1.6B estimates with net profit of €330M versus forecasts of €1.30B. Revenues came in at €53.2B compared to €53.6B estimates. || Volkswagen [VOW.GE] Reported Q4 Net profit of €955M just below consensus estimates of €996Me. Revenues were €28.4B above the forecasts of €27.58B. It raised the dividend to €1.90/share from €1.80/share y/y. CEO reiterated that vehicle sales, revenue and earnings would decline in 2009 and that 2009 will be one of the most difficult years in the company's history. || || K+S [SDF.GE: Reported Q4 Net €226.4M versus €224M expected but missed on its revenues with €955.5M below the €1.21B consensus forecasts. It guides its 2009 sales and earnings "significantly" below 2008 level but expected to be profitable in 2010 || Swatch [UHR.SZ] Reported final FY08 figures with its net CHF838M and inline with CHF838.4M expectations. It maintained its dividend CHF0.85/shr. The firm expected to see improvement in sales conditions during the second part of the year. It remained cautious on the outlook for first 9 months of 2009 || Enel [ENEL.IT] Reported FY08 Net €5.29B in inline with estimates of €5.3B. revenues beat consensus with €61.2B above the €58.3B estimates. It confirmed it would raise €8.0B in capital under a rights issue, which is fully subscribed. Expects 2009 results to be ahead of 2008 || Gea Group [G1A.GE] Reported Q4 Net profit of €23.4M below consensus of €28.5M. Revenues were slightly better at €1.44B versus €1.42B estimate. It did not see recovery in current economic environment but noted its Q2 current year order backlog supported earnings as a result of good margins on orders already received. Order intake in the first two months of 2009 was significantly better than the German mechanical engineering industry || EDF Energiers Nouveles [EEN.FR] Announced new turbine acquisitions in North America and reached an Agreement with SkyPower to purchase the rights to 180 GE Turbines for Delivery in 2009 || William Morrison [MRW.UK] Reported FY08 Net £460M slight better than the £451M estimate. Revenues were also in line with £14.5B reported compared to £14.47B expectations. Its Like of like sales ex fuel were up 7.9%. It planned on expansion for 9 new stores in 2008-2009 period and to add 350K feet of new retail space in 2009 || Cadbury [CBRY.UK] confirmed the sale of Schweppes Beverage business in Australia to Asahi Breweries for £550M in cash. Asahi says plan to complete Schweppes deal by end-April. Reminder, back on 12/24: Cadbury announced that it had entered into a conditional agreement with Asahi. || 


- Speakers: German Fin Min Steinbrueck commented in a newspaper interview that the EU is stable and he did not expect any member to drop from its membership. || German IFW Institute lowered its 2009 GDP forecast to -3.7% from -2.7% prior. It saw the ECB lowering interest rates to 0.5% from the current level of 1.,50% by summer 2009 || BoJ Gov Shirakawa stated that BoJ was currently taking most 'appropriate' policy actions and that the 0.1% rate was the best policy path at this time. Maintaining market stability remained very important || HKMA's Yam commented that the global financial market crisis was 'far from over' . he noted that the central bank had completed review of special liquidity measures and would make an announcement on review by end of March || ECB Mar Monthly Report married the ECB press conference from last week. It noted that economic risks were 'more balanced' but the outlook remained uncertain. The Inflation would remain well below 2% ECB target for both 2009 and 2010 period and could go negative temporarily. The slower inflation reflected the 'severe' economic slowdown taking place. 


- In Currencies: The focus was on JPY related pairs in the session. The JPY was firmer against major currency pairs as dealers noted that its strength was attributed to Japanese Fiscal year-end flows, which ends March 31st. Dealers reported over 10 yards of crosses being executed over the last 24-hours with 'more to go'. This repatriation process has weighed down the European components against the USD for the most part. EUR/USD tested the 1.2735 area after testing 1.2870 level in Asia while the GBP/USD pair retraced from its 1.39 session highs towards 1.3730. European currencies also hampered by recessionary affects. Italian Q4 GDP was revised down to -1.9% q/q from-1.8% prior and the German Labor ministry commented that it was possible for 3.7M jobless figure in 2009 if German GDP contracted by 3.5%. 


- Fixed income: Yield curves are back in bull flattening mode this morning with Government bonds firming up against a backdrop of weaker equities and renewed risk aversion. Traders are paying attention to the narrowing spreads between Bunds, Gilts and the 10y T-Note, with Bunds and 10y Gilts within a whisker of parity throughout the session, and the spread between the Bund and the 10y Note down to just 15bps. Italian debt has been under notable pressure after the weakest Y/Y GDP reading on record, and ahead of supply tomorrow. The Yield on the Italian 10y widened out to a record 276bps over the Bund. Focus now shifts to supply, after two successive weak long dated auctions the UK will look to sell £1.1B in 2032 linkers, followed later in the New York afternoon by the US Treasury's $11B 30y re-opening.


- In Energy: || Exxon [XOM] XOM: Senior VP: Remain committed to investment strategy, continue to see long term demand growth || Shell [RDSA.UK] Named Simon Henry as new CFO, effective May 1st, 2009 


- Credit Crisis: Dubai Governor commented that he was 'Comfortable' with discussions over April loan refinancing. Dubai need to refinance $3.2B next month with $2.2B on DEWA (Electricity & Water Authority) and $1B on Dubai Airport

*** NOTES ***

- Risk aversion moving back into ficus again as European auto makers issued cautious comments ahead of the NY morning. 

- UK press noted that its house prices could fall another 55% and commented that there was a high probability UK could be bankrupt.

- World Bank's Zoellick confirmed speculation that the global economy to contract between 1-2% in 2009. and noted that trade would exhibit its largest decline in 80 years.

- The curtrency market was all about the JPY and fiscal year-end flows. 

- SNB today after yesterdays erroneously released statement of a 25 bps cut in target and upper level of the band. Consensus is for a 25 bp cut from the 0.50% target with its growth revised downward and mention of policy alternatives to counter unwarranted CHF strength.

- Looking Ahead: 

- 7:00 (GE) German Jan Industrial Production M/M: -3.0% expected v -4.6% prior; Y/Y: -15.5% expected v -12.0% prior

- 8:30 (US) Feb Advance Retail Sales: -0.5% expected v 1.0% prior; Retail Sales Less Autos : -0.1% expected v 0.9% prior

- 8:30 (US) Initial Jobless Claims w/e Mar 7th: 644k expected v 639k prior; Continuing Claims w/e Feb 28th: 5.14M expected v 5.106M prior

- 9:00 (SZ) Swiss National Bank Interest Rate Decision: 25bps cut to 0.25% expected; current 3-month CHF-Libor Target is 0.50%

- 10:00 (US) Jan Business Inventories: -1.0% expected v -1.3% prior

- 13:00 (US) Treasury to sell $11B 30 Year Bonds in re-opening



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