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Forex Blog - European Market Update: German ZEW data suggest some signs that German recession might bottom by mid-year

Today 06:16am EST/10:16am GMT

European Market Update: German ZEW data suggest some signs that German recession might bottom by mid-year

*** ECONOMIC DATA ***

- (JP) Japan Feb Final Machine Tool Orders: -84.483.9% prior

- (SZ) Swiss SECO lowers 2009 GDP view to -2.2% from -0.8%

- (SP) Spain Jan House Transactions Y/Y: -38.6% v -26.0% prior

- (HU) Hungarian Jan Industrial Output M/M: 2.5 v 2.5% prior; Y/Y: -21.0% v -21.0% prior

- (SZ) Swiss Q4 Industrial Production Q/Q: 0.1% v -0.1%e; Y/Y: -5.9% v -4.5%e

- (HK) Hong Kong Feb Unemployment Rate: 5.0% v 4.9%e

- (NE) Dutch Jan Retail Sales Y/Y: 2.3% v 2.0% prior

- (UK) DCLG UK House Prices Y/Y: -11.5% v -11.7%e

- (GE) German March ZEW Survey Econ Sentiment: -3.5 v -8.0e; Current Situation: -89.4 v -90.0e

- (EU) Euro-Zone ZEW Survey Econ Sentiment: -6.5 v -12.0e



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

- Equities: Nokia [NOK1V.FH] Announced it would streamline operations in several units and functions and planned to cut its workforce by 1,700 jobs globally (about 1.3% of workforce) || Standard Charter bank [STAN.UK], its CEO stated the first two months were strong and that no job cuts are currently planned. Standard noted 'organic' growth is essential firm driver, that the company is in solid capital position and is currently comfortable with goodwill levels. The bank will focus potential acquisitions on Asia, Africa, Middle East. || Plastic Omnium [POM.FR] Reported FY08 Net loss of €63.2M worse than the loss €28.3M expected. Revenues came in at €2.70B slightly below the €2.72B consensus. The company expected global car output to decline by 25% in 2009 with 40% decline expected in H1. Its revenue from automotive operations were impacted by the sudden, rapid decline in worldwide automobile production, which began in the third quarter and accelerated in the last three months of the year. || Debenhams [DEB.UK] Provided a trading update in which its H1 revenues rose by 0.3% y/y , while its Like-for-like sales declined by 3.6% y/y. It stated that it continued to take market share from its competitors in all major product categories. And commented that it saw H1 profit before tax and EBITDA to be ahead of the previous year. The visibility for the second half remains poor with the trading environment likely to remain challenging || Wellstream [WSM.UK} Reported FY08 Net profit of £52.7M and in line with estimates. Revenues were £369.9M just above expectations of £363Me. Its order book in Brazil continued to be strong with over £150M of orders already secured under the Petrobras Framework Agreement. For the Group as a whole, its order book represented over 70% of anticipated 2009 revenue. || Lindt & Spruengli [LISN.SZ] Reported FY08 Net profit of CHF261.5M compared to CHF259.0M expected. Revenues were CHF2.94B and in line with consensus expectations. It guided lower its FY09 EBIT view to a range of CHF260-280M below estimates of CHF357.3M. its organic growth view was lowered to a range of up 25 to 5% compared to a prior view of up 6% to 8%. || Air Berlin [AB1.GE] Announces potential strategic cooperation regarding German travel sector with Tui Travel [TT.UK] but noted that any agreement on transaction was not assured Tui would hold minority interest that will not rise over 20% with Air Berlin taking a 20% stake in German operations of Tui Fly. || Wienerberger [WIE.AS] Reported FY08 Net profit of €103.3M above the estimates of €71.7M. Revenues were €2.4B compared to forecasts of €2.44B. the firm noted it would not pay a final dividend noting that both liquidity and financing position remained strong and would continue to be a top priority. It guided Q1 profit down y/y; stating that 2009 would be a challenging year. It sought to reduce its net debt by €100M annually and to close 20 facilities in FY09 || Barclays bank [BARC.UK], UK press reported tha the HM Revenue and Customs agency was investigating firm regarding allegations of tax avoidance. The investigation followed comments coming from Darling given yesterday that UK would be cracking down on tax evasion. Article cites the reports that a whistle blower in capital markets unit may have leaked information to the HMRC regarding loan schemes designed to avoid UK tax payments. || HSBC Bank [HSBA.UK], Chairman Green stated he could see recovery in US economy at year end 2009 in an interview with Le Figaro. Green continued to target organic and external growth for bank. || Escada [ESC.GE] reported its Q1 at a Net loss of €6.3M, compared to the loss of €4M y/y and Rev at €131.5M, below the €142.1M reported y/y. Escada guided its final FY09 rev down y/y and traded lower on these comments. The retailer also announced that it will propose capital stock reduction of €48.9M and that it did not see positive effects from turnaround happening before H2 of 2009. || SGL Carbon [SGL.GE], reportedly that firm expects a decline in sales in FY09 compared to those of FY08 -FT . Article notes that decline in demand is to come from steel and chemical partners. || Siemens [SIE.GE] To increase its Russian staff this year from current level of about 3K employees. its Russian order book stood at €2.2B and saw annual Russia growth between 20-30%

- Speakers: ECB's Stark reiterated the view that Zero interest rate policy would have more risks than advantages. He noted that low rates would not necessarily restore interbank lending. Zero rates would impose risks on balance sheet adjustments and that further rate cuts would not be enough to restore growth. ECB must act decisively on first signals of recovery. He noted that the ECB use of "new tools" was not imminent but would act if required. || SNB's Roth commented that the central bank has shown its commitment and that the currency market had reacted accordingly. He did note the intervention was not an attempt to gain competitiveness through currency depreciation but the action sought to protect Swiss economy from deflation || ECB's Mersch commented that the ECB did not have a religious approach to the "zero rate" interest policy but sought an effective policy. Need to look at how fiscal measures are implemented. || French Budget Minister Woerth commented that its fiscal stimulus plan would be funded via debt. The total tax cap would remain at 50% || ECB's Tumpel-Gugerell reiterated the importance of restoring financial system and to support its infrastructure. Eurosystem following market developments quite closely and is proactive in money markets || BOJ confirmed press speculation; considering buying subordinated debt issued by banks. The operation would be aimed to stabilize the financial system and would be an exceptional step. The BOJ would provide loans to banks up to ¥1T || Irish Fin Min Lenihan commented that he did not see a risk of default in Ireland and believed economic downturn would bottom out in 2010. There was no need for ireland to go to IMF or other institutions || ZEW Franz commented that the recession in Germany likely to hit bottom by mid yea. The economic situation remained bad but glimmer of hope seen

- In Currencies: The USD retraced its earlier losses from the Asian session but remained in a consolidation mode throughout the European morning. Ahead of the NY morning the EUR/USD was staggering the 1.30 level. The German ZEW data hinted of some hope that the german recession might hit bottom by mid-year but the overall scenario remained 'ugly'. The Swiss SECO forecasted weaker GDP for both 2009 and 2010 period which helped to keep the CHF under some pressure. SNB's Roth commented on why the central bank took the intervention step last week to avoid deflationary pressure and not to gain any comparative advantage in its trade. || JPY option barriers being discussed at 100 against USD and at 130 versus Euro but JPY remain range bound foir the session and recovered from its worst levels. Risk appetite continues to be having some difficulty in maintaining its momentum. || China's Jan FX reserves are rumored to have their largest drop since records started back in 2000. Decline in China's Jan FX reserves exceeds last Oct's $25.9B decline. The decline partially reflects the impact of the stronger dollar on non-dollar assets. || Chatter of potential PBoC lowering its reserve ratio circulated.

- Fixed income: The recent surge in corporate issuance looks set to continue with euro denominated benchmark offerings from Philip Morris, Daimler, Eoan and Lufthansa all expected this week. Up next this morning - the DMO will look to sell £1.2B in 2025 Gilts, and after mixed results in recent long gilt auctions today's sale is likely to be supported by a second round of quantitative easing tomorrow, where the Bank of England will look to make £2B in purchases of Gilts in the same part of the curve.

- In Energy: Royal Dutch Shell [RDSA.UK] Provided a 2009 strategy update and forecasted its CAPEX in a range of $31-32B. Separately, the firm noted it was currently under investigation by SEC and DOJ for violations of US foreign Corruption Practices Act || Ukraine Energy Min commented that Feb Russia gas transit to Europe off 43% y/y; cites low demand || OPEC Sec Gen Khelill commented that OPEC would reach 95% compliance rate by its planned summit in May. He added that it could still adopt 'strong measures' to protect income


*** NOTES ***

- European central banks were a bit vocal this session. The ECB noted that it was assessing risk of a zero interest rates and noted that there was more risks than advantages on such an approach. Too low rates would not help much.

- SNB commented that it would consistently prevent CHF from strengthening. Action was needed to prevent deflation and not to gain any competitive advantage.

- There was chatter that the PBoC would lower its reserve ratio. This rumor seems to stem from speculation that China's drop in currency reserves likely a revaluation against non-usd holdings

- Seems recent equity market euphoria seemed to stem from the feeling that the “worst” of the global market crisis was over but market seem to be demanding concrete signs of recovery for any additional gains. Germany ZEW data did show some improvement and signs of 'hope'

- Looking Ahead:

- 8:30 (US) Feb Producer Price Index M/M: 0.4% expected v 0.8% prior; Y/Y: -1.4% expected v -1.0% prior

- 8:30 (US) Feb PPI Ex Food & Energy M/M: 0.1% expected v 0.4% prior; Y/Y: 3.8% expected v 4.2% prior

- 8:30 (US) Feb Housing Starts: 450k expected v 466k prior; Building Permits: 500k expected v 531k prior

-9:00 (PD) Polish Feb Avg Gross Wages M/M: -1.0% expected v -6.2% prior; Y/Y: 5.1% expected v 8.1% prior

- 9:00 (PD) Polish Feb Employment M/M: -0.3% expected v 0.4% prior; Y/Y: -0.1% expected v 0.7% prior

- Supply

-6:30 (UK) DMO to sell £1.2B 5% 2025 Gilts

- Speakers

- 7:00 (IT) ECB's Draghi speaks before Italian Parliament

- (EU) ECB's Trichet speaks in Paris

 

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