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Thursday March 19, 2009 - 10:21:22 GMT
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Forex Blog - European market Update: No silver bullet but Central banks are pulling out all the stops in an effort to arrest the crisis of confidence

Today 06:02am EST/10:02am GMT
European market Update: No silver bullet but Central banks are pulling out all the stops in an effort to arrest the crisis of confidence


- (IC) Icelandic Sedladbanki cut interest rates by 100bps to 17.00%, as expected Interest Rate Decision:

- BoJ monthly economic report maintained its overall assessment; economic conditions have deteriorated significantly" and "are likely to continue deteriorating for the time being

- (RU) Russia Gold & Forex Reserves w/e Mar 13th: $376.1B v $380.5B prior

- (SZ) Swiss Feb Trade Balance: CHF0.7B v CHF1.99B prior

- (HU) Hungary Jan Avg Gross Wages Y/Y: -5.2% v 5.2%e

- (NV) Dutch Feb Unemployment Rate: 3.9% v 4.0%e

- (NV) Dutch March Consumer Confidence: -34 v -32e

- (SW) Swedish Feb Unemployment Rate: 8.0% v 7.4%e

- (IT) Italian Jan Trade Balance: -€3.59B v -€2.476Be; Trade Balance EU: €404M v €400Me

- (UK) Feb Public Finances (PSNCR): £4.4B v £4.5Be; Net Borrowing: £9.0B v £8.3Be

- (UK) Feb Preliminary M4 Money Supply M/M: 1.4% v 1.4%e; Y/Y: 18.8% v 17.5% prior

- (SZ) Swiss March ZEW Survey (Expectations): -57.1 v -57.7 prior


- Equities: Inchcape [INCH.UK] reported its FY08 Rev at £6.30B, in line with the £6.26B expected. Inchcape confirmed rumors of a 9 for 1 rights issue to raise £232M (as expected). Firm planes to place 4.14B new shares are a price of 6p/share, it seeks to lower financial debt levels (currently at £530M). Inchcape noted that the proposed rights issue remains subject to shareholder approval. ||Prudential [PRU.UK] reported its FY08 at a Net loss of £396M, ahead of the expected -£2.10B, Op Profit at £1.35B v1.71Be and NAV of £5.99 v £5.91 y/y. The firms CEO will be resigning effective October 1. Prudential announced that it was increasing its final dividend by 8% to 18.9p/shr. FY08 ROEV was 15% v 15.4% y/y and external funds under management £62.3B v £68.7B y/y. For FY08, net investment flows were £4.27B v £7.98B y/y. Management stated regarding outlook: It is clear that 2009 will be a challenging year. Indeed, there is an increasing likelihood that in some parts of the world recession will continue into 2010. ||Thomas Cook [TCG.UK]provided a Trading Update stating that trading was in line with expectations. Firm stated that despite the distorting impact of a later Easter, bookings have improved significantly in the last four weeks, particularly in our Continental and Northern European segments. TCG saw Total Winter 2008-9 Average Selling Prices +4% y/y and Total summer 2009 Average Selling Prices +5% y/y. ||Reportedly [RBS.UK] is looking to sell its Singapore retail and commercial banking units - Straits Times. Article stated RBS plans to continue to operate its private and wholesale banking businesses in Singapore. ||British Land [BLND.UK] announced a 96.57% acceptance of its proposed rights issue. The Company received valid acceptances in respect of 329,194,940 New Shares. Reminder: Firm looking to raise approximately £740M net of expenses by the issue of up to 340.8M new Shares. || Prosieben [PSM.GE], reportedly the company's controlling private equity investors have hired advisers to restructure about €1.8B ($2.4B) in debt - FT. Article stated that the debt is held by the holding companies of the private equity firms. KKR Financial and Permira have hired debt specialist Houlihan Lokey to examine possible solutions at holding company Lavena. Lavena holds 88% of ProSieben. || Heidelbergcement [HEI.GE] reiterated FY09 outlook in which both net profit and sales are expected to decline versus year-ago levels. Stated that it could make no reliable forecast possible for 2009 at this time and that it remains confident in finding long-term financing in 2009. It reiterated plans to sell selected assets and saw a H2 impetus from infrastructure programs ||Kuoni [KUNN.SZ] reported its FY08 Net at CHF 152.1M, ahead of the expected CHF145M, EBIT at CHF151.5M v CHF148.3M expected and Rev of CHF4.86B, slightly below the CHF4.90B expected. Kuoni proposed a FY08 div CHF10/shr v CHF17/shr estimate. Firm expected acquisitions made in FY08 to add CHF308M to annual revenues. || Areclor Mattel [MT.NV], reportedly the steel maker is considering suspending up to three mines in Russia until market conditions improve. The Berezovskaya mine will reportedly continue operations and while work force at Russian coal mines to be restructured. || Grupo Ferrovial [FER.SP], BAA unit has been ordered to sell 3 UK airports. The Competition Commission (CC) will require BAA to sell both Gatwick and Stansted as well as either Edinburgh or Glasgow. The CC also stipulates that BAA must sell all three airports within two years. The CC is also requiring BAA at Aberdeen to improve consultation with airlines as well as publish certain financial and other information. A monitoring trustee will oversee the airports sales processes. || Lufthansa [LHA.GE] Cargo Unit CEO commented that its 2009 operative results likely to be below 2008 levels due to difficult environment. It planed to invests "hundreds of millions" in Frankfurt airport and added that any Frankfurt night flight ban could endanger the company

- Speakers: ECB's Quaden commented that the ECB had further room to cut interestrates unlike other Central Banks and current rate is not the lowest || BoJ Gov Shirakawa reiterated the view that purchasing JGBs was not an attempt to finance the Govt deficit or stabilizing long-term rates || German Fin Min Reiterated the view that Germany might have to further lower its 2009 GDP forecast of 2.25% contraction. || China Foreign Min: Country welcomes foreign investment and objects to protectionism. He did comment that the recent decision to block Coca-Cola's purchase of Huiyuan Juice was not related to protectionism but to competitive factors. || Germany PM Merkel reiterated that one needs to let current stimulus package work through economy; against additional stimulus at this time. - Must have sound fiscal policies once the economic crisis passes. She noted that Upcoming G20 in London must look at the lesson of the global economic crisis and not just address steps to combat it. An Eastern Europe credit crunch "would" have an impact on Euro Zone || BoJ March economic report maintained its overall assessment; economic conditions have deteriorated significantly" and "are likely to continue deteriorating for the time being || S&P Report commented thatEurope's severe recession raises the prospect ao a deflation risk. It noted that declines in its GDP in the second half of last year have continued into the first quarter of 2009, pushing hopes of a bounce-back in activity to the very end of this year. If deflation was to develop in certain Eurozone countries, the ECB would find quantitative easing measures more difficult to implement than in the U.K., the report states. This is because there is no single bond market in the Eurozone, but a collection of national bond markets all denominated in euros || Russia Dep PM Shuvalov commented that Russian Banks have $100B in foreign currencies to help repay overseas debts. , Russia is finished with direct bailouts

- Company debt must be repaid and funds are available at domestic banks

- Remains cautions on futures bailouts

- In Currencies: The USD remained on the defensive during the European morning. The latest FED injections were seen improving the outlook for US equities but they are also seen pressuring the USD in the medium-term. A few currency analysts now calling for EUR/USD target towards the 1.40 handle circulating. For the session the EUR/USD was 'repelled' twice during the morning above the 1.35 handle and unable to break above yesterday's post Fed quantitative easing high of 1.3536. The JPY was former compared to its opening levels seen in Asia. USD/USD probing the critical 95 neighborhood throughout the morning. This has been a pivot level over the last decade in terms of setting trends. EUR/JPY unable to sustain a move above the 130 level during the Asian morning.|| EUR/CHF was largely range bound and retested the 1.5400 area in Asia and retested this level in Europe after pull backs in towards 1.5350 level. || HSBC analyst provided an argument that the NOK is the “ultimate haven currency”. Noting tat Norway"s economy grew by1.3% in Q4 and was not forecasted to experience as big a downturn as other economies this year. Norges monetary policy was also NOK supportive, like other commodity-producing countries and it is not expected to resort to quantitative easing policy to boost inflation expectations ||

- Fixed income: Belly of US yield curve attracts strong bid after FOMC. A unanimous vote yesterday at the FOMC produced a mandate for a USD800B spending spree with USD300B assigned for the 2 to 10-year portion of the yield curve. The European fixed income futures were in positive territory after gapping higher at the open but were retracing earlier gains with supply a factor. France sold €7B in 2, 3 and 5y BTAN's, and next up the DMO will look to sell £3.25B in new 2014 Gilts.

- In Energy: Venezuela Oil Min Ramirez: Current global oil market is oversupplied by 1M bpd; not planning to cut output further

||Venezuela may seek as much as $4B in financing in 2009, plans to revamp oil reserve bookings ||US likely to relax restrictions on diplomatic contacts with Iran soon || Analysts at Morgan Stanley cut European Oil and Gas sector to In Line from Attractive || Moody's Places Kuwait's Sovereign Ratings On Review For Possible Downgrade || For Royal Dutch Shell [RDSA.UK] reportedly a Nigerian pipeline has been destroyed by explosion and co has shutdown Warri river pumping station. ||

*** NOTES ***

- Central banks are pulling out all the stops in an effort to arrest the crisis of confidence in global asset markets and place a floor on the growth slowdown. Coordination between FED, BOJ, BOE, BOC and others? Even ECB mulling “unconventional measures”.

- Reportedly China gives the Fed's Quantitative Easing measures the 'benefit of doubt' despite worries (unconfirmed source)

- US Treasury Sec Geithner to provide details on the so- called toxic plan in what is proving to be a very difficult political environment.

- Looking Ahead:

- 6:30 (UK) DMO to sell £3.25B 2.2% 2014 Gilts

- 7:00 (UK) CBI March Industrial Trends: No expectations v -56 prior

- 7:00 (CA) Canadian Feb CPI M/M: 0.3% expected v -0.3% prior; Y/Y: 1.0% expected v 1.1% prior; CPI Core M/M: 0.1% expected v -0.4% prior; Y/Y: 1.5% expected v 1.9% prior

- 8:30 (CA) Canadian Jan International Securities Transactions: -C$2.000B expected v -C$2.835B prior

- 8:30 (US) Initial Jobless Claims w/e March 14th: 655k expected v 654k prior

- 8:30 (US) Continuing Claims March 7th: 5.323M expected v 5.317M prior

- 10:00 (US) Feb Leading Indicators: -0.6% expected v 0.4% prior

-10:00 (US) March Philadelphia Fed: -39.0 expected v -41.3 prior

- 1:00 (TU) Turkish Base Rate Announcement. 100bps cut to 10.50% expected. Current Base Rate is 11.50%

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