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Forex Blog - European market Update: Economic slump feeding into labor markets

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

European market Update: Economic slump feeding into labor markets


- (GE) German ILO Unemployment Rate: 7.4% v 7.4%e

- (SZ) Swiss UBS Consumption Indicator: 0.886 v 0.922 prior

- (HU) Hungarian Q4 Current Account: -€2.58B v -€2.0Be

- (FR) French Feb Housing Starts 3M/Y: -22.1% v -20.2% prior; Housing Permits: -14.8% v -9.1% prior

- (KS) Bank of Korea Minutes: Bank of Korea: voted unanimously to cut rates by 50bps to 2.00% at its Feb 11th policy meeting

- (SP) Spain Q4 House Prices Total Homes Q/Q: -3.1% v -1.7% prior, Y/Y: -5.4% v -3.0% prior

- (SP) Spain Retail Sales Y/Y: -11.7% v -6.5%e

- (SW) Swedish March Economic Tendency Survey: 70.1 v 73.0e; Consumer Confidence: -16.8 v -13.8e; Manufacturing Confidence: -42 v -34e

- (TU) Turkey Q4 GDP -6.2% v -5.4%e

- (DE) Danish Q4 Final GDP Q/Q: % v -2.0%e; Y/Y: % v -3.9%e

- (GE) German March Unemployment Rate: 8.1% v 8.0%e; Unemployment Change: 69K v 52Ke

- (IT) Italian Jan Retail Sales M/M: 0.3% v -0.2%e; Y/Y: 0.7% v -2.0%e

- (NO) Norwegian Credit Growth Indicator: 9.4% v 9.4%e

- (CZ) Czech Money Supply Y/Y: 8.5% v 8.6% prior

- (SP) Spanish Jan Current Account: -€6.6B v -€6.4B prior

- (UK) Jan Index of Services 3M/3M: -1.3% v -1.0%e

- (IT) Italian March Preliminary CPI (NIC inc Tobacco) M/M: 0.1% v 0.1%e; Y/Y: 1.2% v 1.2%e - (IT) Italian Mar Preliminary CPI EU Harmonized M/M: 1.1% v 1.1%e; Y/Y: 1.0% v 1.1%e

- (EU) Euro-Zone Mar CPI Estimate Y/Y: 0.6% v 0.7%e


- Equities: Marks and Spencer [MKS.UK] provided an interim trading statement, it reported its Q4 UK Like-For-Like sales at -4.2% v -6.8%e, General Merchandise LFL Sales -4.8% y/y and Food LFL sales -3.7% y/y. The UK retailer reaffirmed its prior FY08 guidance UK gross margin at -1.75% y/y, and CAPEX at £700M. M&S reported its Q4 Group sales +1.9% y/y, UK Sales -0.3% y/y, Online Sales +20% y/y and International sales +23% y/y. ||Barclays [BARC.UK] has determined would not be in interests of investors, depositors and clients to participate in UK's Asset Protection Scheme (APS). The bank noted discussions over sale of iShares unit with interested parties are "progressing well." ||Kazakhmys [KAZ.UK] reported its FY08 Net at $909M v $1.14Me, Pre tax $1.1B v $1.22Be, and Rev $5.2B v $5.27Be. The Eurasian miner put its Net debt at end of FY08 stood at $1.63B v liquid fund holding of $298M y/y and the value of holdings in ENRC at $2.2B (26% holding). ||UK home builder Bellway [BWY.UK] reported its H1 completed sales at 2.0K v 3.2K y/y homes and avg selling price at £156.1K v £174.8M y/y. The builder will see further write downs on stocks of £66.3M. Total Group turnover of £320.2M v £51.5M y/y and the firm cut its dividend to 3p from 18.1p. Chairman stated: "in the first eleven weeks of this calendar year, visitor and subsequent reservation rates have improved upon those seen in the last five months of 2008." || RBS [RBS.UK], According to the Chairman of UK Financial Investments Ltd. Glen Moreno the firm and Lloyds should make "significant" profits again when the economy rebounds - FT. The UK Financial Investments Ltd added that the banks were now in a stable capital and financial position. ||ICAP [IAP.UK] provided an interim statement: it guided FY09 Pretax in line with analyst expectations of £334Me, and Rev "in excess" of £1.5B v £1.5Be. The groups chairman noted: Over-the-counter (OTC) markets have demonstrated their flexibility, depth and breadth as they have adapted to recent market conditions. Low short term interest rates, steep yield curves and substantially increased bond issuance have kept interest rate derivatives busy, particularly in longer maturity interest rate swaps in Europe. Corporate bonds have been strong performers though credit derivative volumes have been lower. ||Porsche [PAH3.GE] reported its H1 Net at €5.55B v €2.5Be (1 est), Pretax profit €7.34B v €3.6Be (1 est), and at Rev €3.04B v €3.49B y/y. Porsche reiterated that its expected its FY09 rev to decline y/y. The automaker noted that it was not possible to provide a reliable forecast for the remainder of FY09 and stated that H1 results were aided by beneficial cash settlement of stock options. Porsche noted that the fall in price of VW will bring down profit from options with overall refinancing costs are rises. ||Siemens [SIE.GE] is reportedly to cut 74,000 of its 370,000 suppliers - German Press. The company says that it can't have so many suppliers in the future and its is expected to demand lower prices from its suppliers. ||Fortis [FORB.BE] reported its FY08 Final Net loss (inc items) at €28.0B v loss €1.53Be; Belgian Insurance unit had a net profit for €6M. The bank stated that the results include losses and writedowns of €27.4B from discontinued operations. The banks core equity stood at €7.9B and stated that solvency ratios remain 'very strong' with the embedded value of current insurance units at end of FY08 stood at €4.92Be. || Fiat [F.IT], reportedly it will start with 20% stake in Chrysler vs 35% under original arrangement - WSJ cites sources. Article states that stake would rise over time. || Cepsa [CEP.SP]. Santander to sell 32.5% of its stake in company to Abu Dhabi IPIC at €33/shr. Note: IPIC already holds 9.5% stake in the Cepsa, would raise position to second largest behind Total with 48.8%. ||

- Speakers: ECB's Ordonez commented that we are facing a global recession and that Spain was in a profound economic contraction. He remained concerned over the Spanish elevated unemployment level. The decline in global output and trade has been 'spectacular' ||Senior German Official commented that was expecting a 'clear signal' against protectionism at upcoming G20 summit. The IMF funds should at least be doubled at summit and he expressed concern about indebtedness of some nations. The G20 to address against currency devaluations and that the USD status as reserve currency not a theme at the upcoming summit || OECD issued updated economic forecasts for 2009. Overall it noted that the economic scenario was bleak and that deflation prospects have increased. It saw GDP contracting by 4.3% in the 30-country OECD area during 2009 It revised its German 2009 GDP to - 5.3% from 0.8% prior view. It noted that more ECB Rate Cuts are needed and that quantitative easing was "warranted". The OECD stated that more fiscal stimulus for Govts with budget room should be taken and might be needed if economies slump even further. || China PBOC noted that it has expanded its Yuan currency swap accords and was in discussion with other central banks for additional agreements. The PBoC commented that it has already signed 6 swap accords totaling CNY650B and planned to extend swap accords to a period of 3 years. The PBoC noted that the swaps accords would help foster trade || Russian Deputy Economic Minister: Sees risk of a greater than 2.2% GDP contraction || ) Japan PM Aso commented that the new stimulus plan must place a'firm floor' under the economy. He stated that he soughtthat the US to rapidly carry out its banking bad asset plan. Hopes to have compiled stimulus plan be mid-April and would involve compiling extra budget. The overall size of the extra budget has yet to be determined ||Taiwan Vice President Siew commented that the global economy has not yet reached a bottom || Sweden NIER Think tank forecasted 2009 GDP at -3.9% versus -0.9% prior forecast || French Budget Min: French deficit to hit around 3.4% of GDP for 2008 || EU Junker reiterated the view that no Euro Zone member state was in need of economic bailout, but EU prepared to respond if need arises. He noted that they have yet to find a good solution to the toxic asset situation. || World bank's Zoellick commented that 2009 continued to be a dangerous year for global economy coupled with a high degree of uncertainty lurking. || South Africa Deputy Fin Min Nene stated that interest rate cut by the central bank would help spur the economy and would aide in the creation of jobs || BoE's Tucker commented that the World was yet to have moved through the financial crisis and that there was no one specific prescription for reform

- In Currencies: World Bank's Zoellick commented that USD would remain principal global reserve currency. The dollar based system and strong USD are critical to pulling the world out of the economic crisis. However, he did point out that the USD's role as principal reserve currency would be discussed 'over time'

- Fundamentals weighing upon JPY sentiment. Rising japenese unemployment and falling spending showed Japan continued to be mired in its worst recession in 60 years. Dealer chatter circulated thatJapanese importers sold the Japanese currency for book-closing on the last day of the Japanese fiscal year. On the data front, Japan Housing Starts -24.9% y/y and jobless rate hit a 3 year high of 4.4%.

- The USD and JPY were softer in the session. The EUR/USD probing the 1.3300 level where Chinese offers are said to lurk.

- Fixed income: ||EU's Junker commented that a Euro-Zone bond deserves serious consideration.|| Despite stregth in equity markets Gvoernment bonds have performed reasonably well in Europe this morning. Monthend buying has pushed Bund and Gilt futures into positive territory at the time of writing and yields are lower across the curve in both Germany and the UK. Eurozone perhiperal government bonds are again weaker against the Bund. After yesterday's sovereign downgrades by S&P the yield on the Irish 10y is approaching 250pbs over the Bund, its widest level in over a month. , and with the Geek PDMA in the process of issuing up to €7.5B 5y bonds via syndicate, the yield on the Greek 10y is back to 270bps over the European benchmark. UST's are moderately lower in Asian and European trade, with the yield on the 10y about 2bps higher at 2.73%

- In Energy: Indian oil refiners may seek to raise prices for jet fuel by as much as 15%, due to the rise in spot prices

- Credit Crisis: Deutsche bank [DBK.GE] CEO Ackermann: some stabilization of market conditions in Q1 ||Research group noting that three major meetings will take place in Europe over the next nine days: a meeting of the G-20, a NATO summit and a meeting of the European Union with U.S. President Barack Obama. The week will define the relationship between the United States and Europe and reveal some intra-European relationships. If not a defining moment, the week will certainly be a critical moment in dealing with economic, political and military questions || Swiss Regulator FINMA: Further action necessary in market supervision. More Shocks could threaten bank solvency; need to be tougher in future and would have to conduct more stress tests || Comments out of JP Morgan Analysts: Expected global wholesale and investment banks to experience a further $17B in writedowns in 2009-Sees: Expects Deutsche Bank to incur further pre-tax writedowns of $4.9B, Expects Barclays to incur a further $3B in writedowns in 2009, Expects BNP Paribas to incur a further $1.1B in wirtedowns in 2009, Expects Credit Suisse to suffer $1.2B in further writedowns in 2009, Expresses a preference for US investment banks over European banks. ||

*** NOTES ***

- Month end and quarter end flows. Japanese fiscal year end as well. Equity markets relieved that losses do not continue into a third session. Equities aided by comments from Japan's PM Aso that a new stimulus package to be unveiled.

- Asia was all about “Fixing demand” for Everything/JPY. Now that the new fiscal year will commenced the chatter is that funds already being placed overseas to gather ' yield'

- Dealers noting some modest M&A activity: Canada pension board bids for Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group. China Minmetals bids for Australia's OZ minerals

- Looking Ahead: .

- 8:30 (CA) Canadian Jan GDP M/M: -0.7% expected v -1.0% prior

- 8:30 (CA) Canadian Jan Raw Materials Price Index M/M: 0.6% expected v 1.4% prior

- 8:30 (CA) Canadian Industrial Product Price M/M: 0.4% expected v -0.1% prior

- 9:00 (US) Jan S&P/CS Home Price Index (last 150.66), Jan S&P/CS Composite-20 y/y (last -18.55%)

- 9:15 (US) Fed's Stern speaks in Washington

- 9:45 (US) March Chicago Purchasing Manager Index (last 34.2)

10:00 (US) March Consumer Confidence (last 25), March NAPM-Milwaukee (last 29)

- The G20 summit will remain in focus.

- ECB interest rate decision on Thursday. ECB moving towards quantitative ease. Said to be considering buying corporate bonds. A 50bps Rate cut expected.



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