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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Euro-Zone unemployment level climbed to its highest level since May 2006

Today 05:59am EST/09:59am GMT

European Market Update: Euro-Zone unemployment level climbed to its highest level since May 2006

*** ECONOMIC DATA ***

- (IN) India Feb Trade balance: -$4.7B v -$6.7B y/y; Exports Y/Y: -21.7% v -16.0% prior; Imports Y/Y: -23.3% v -18.2% prior

- (GE) German Feb Retail Sales M/M: -0.2% v 0.3%e; Y/Y: -5.3% v -1.2%e

- (SW) Swedbank Mar PMI Survey: 36.7 v 34.4e

- (SP) Spain Feb Manufacturing PMI: 32.9 v 31.8 prior

- (DE) Denmark Feb Retail Sales M/M: 0.9% v 1.3% prior; Y/Y; -8.9% v -6.1% prior

- (SZ) March SVME-Purchasing Managers Index: 32.6 v 33.0e

- (IT) Italian March PMI Manufacturing: 34.6 v 35.0e

- (FR) French March Final PMI Manufacturing: 36.5 v 36.3e

- (GE) German March Final PMI Manufacturing: 32.4 v 32.4e

- (EU) Euro-Zone March Final PMI Manufacturing: 33.9 v 34.0e

- (UK) March PMI Manufacturing: 39.1 v 35.0e

- (UK) BoE Housing Equity Withdrawal: -£8.0 v -£6.8Be

- (SA) South Africa March Investec PMI: 36.0 v 38.9e

- (EU) Euro-Zone Feb Unemployment Rate: 8.5% v 8.3%e; highest since May 2006



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

- Equities: GEM Diamonds [GEMD.UK] reported its FY08 EBITDA inc items at $83M v $45.7Me and Rev at $296.9M v $308.5Me. The miner announced details of a £75M share placing. GEM stated trading conditions weakened further during January 2009, though the average Let*eng February 2009 tender achieved price was up 9.7% on January and that it will continue to Seek out new routes to optimize diamond sales. GEM stated that it would be up to 75M New Shares at the Issue Price of 100 pence per New Share to raise gross proceeds of £75M. Note: 68M New Shares have already been firmly placed with existing Shareholders and new investors. || Johnson Matthey [JMAT.UK] provided an interim statement: Q4 Trading has been in line with prior expectations and reaffirmed its FY guidance. The firm noted that its Environmental Technologies Division experienced mixed trading conditions in the quarter, with sales of autocatalysts substantially down on last year as car companies continued to reduce production in response to falling car sales. || For Deutsche Boerse [DB1.GE], Atticus Capital has cut stake from 9% to below 3%. Note that the US based hedge fund and German listed exchange had been in a dispute over future strategy since as early at 2005 (major tensions regarding bid for LSE in 2005/2006) || Lafarge [LG.FR] is reportedly to begin its €1.5B capital increase at €16.65/shr. Existing shareholders have the right to purchase 6 new shares for every 13 existing and the subscription period is to run from April 2-15. Lafarge stated that new shares will trade on Euronext. Note: Price represents a discount of 51% from Tuesdays closing price (€33.89). ||

Vivendi [VIV.FR], reportedly company's favorable tax treatment has been extended to year end 2011 - La Tribune. || Uralkali [URKA.RU] reported its FY08 Net RUB29.5B v RUB33.1Be. The industrial put its Q1 production at 459K tons v 1.25M ton y/y and stated that the outlook on Potash market remains unclear. ||Statoil ASA [STL.NO] is to develop UK offshore wind project with Statkraft. The project is to consists of 88 turbines and the group see the farm beginning operations in 2011. Statoil guides annual production from facility at 1.1TWh with an investment expected to be NOK10B. || UBS [UBSN.SZ] Names Ulrich Koerner new COO, effective immediately. He will lead the Corporate Center in this function and serve on the Group Executive Committee of the bank. || For Fortis [FORB.BE], Belgian courts blocks share holders (those who bought stakes post October, 2008) from voting in April's EGM -WSJ. This decision blocks efforts by Fortis that had sought to include recent stake holders who had bought cheap share post the September/October price collapse. The bank had seen these shareholders as members of group that strongly supported BNP/Belgian buyout offer that valued their shares at slightly over €3//share. Fortis noted that these recent stake holders represent approx 5% of outstanding shares. Article states that Fortis still expects to be able to achieve a Yes vote in Aprils meeting on the back of institutional support. It is expected that Ping An Insurance (5% stake holder) will issue a statement in this trading week. Spokesperson: Confirms speculation that bank may postpone April EGM, will decide later in the day


- Speakers: PM Brown stated that both the US and UK agree on importance of this week's G20 summit. He noted that the current economic environment requires a global solution || ECB's Trichet: Restoring confidence is G20 summit's main priority || President Obama: G20 leaders must act with a sense of urgency as economic crisis is the worst since 1945

|| German Fin Min Steinbrueck commented following the poor German retail sales data that any recovery in Germany would be 'very slow'. Additionally he expected a sharp slump in May tax revenues. However, he reiterated his position against further stimulus programs || BOE's Blanchflower stated that he agreed with those world leaders who are calling for more fiscal stimulus. He noted that unemployment could breech 3M mark by year-end and have yet to feel the pain on unemployment front. He reiterated that contraction of employment among younger workers were a major social issue. The stimulus focus should be on infrastructure amid job creation. Lower inflation was not a big concern at this time and that the contraction of global trade was larger worry than inflation at the current time || Polish Dep Fin Min Kotecki commented that volatility in Zloty currency remained too high to enable acceptance to ERM at current time and reiterated the view that the currency remained undervalued. The official maintained that Poland could meet the projected target entry date of Jan 2012 || Swedish Fin Min Borg stated that he expected Sweden's economy to contract by 4.2% this year with unemployment rising to 8.9%. Additionally, he forecasted that the Swedish budget deficit would rise above 3% for both 2010, 2011 periods. He commented that Sweden would likely have to lower economic forecasts again and cited the 'vast' imbalances towards Baltic States || ECB completed Gold sales of 35.5 tons on March 31st || ECB's Kranjec commented that the Slovenian economy would contract by 2% in 2009, and grow by 1.9% in 2010. Slovenia was likely to breach EU's budget limit. || Irish PM Cowen stated that the March unemployment rate was seen at 10.9% versus 10.4% in the prior month. He did not see jobless claims declining in coming months


- In Currencies: - Dealers were eyeing key hourly support at the 1.3130 level in the EUR/USD. The level was where the pair was trading prior to the Fed's Quantitative Easing announcement on Mar 18th. It also corresponds to the the 100-day moving avg. The pair seen consolidating in a 1.3130 top 1.3330 ahead of the ECB rate decision and g20 summit on Thursday. The EUR/USD was holding above the 1.32 handle despite the higher Euro-Zone unemployment data.

- the GBP was firmer against its major pairs during the European morning. A better-than-expected UK PMI reading helped push cable above 1.44 against the USD and at 0.9150 versus the Euro. It noted that the move was in full compliance with the Central Banks' Gold Agreement of September 2004.


- In Energy: Iraq Government has selected 9 companies in second round of bidding for oil rights ||Russian gas transit to Balkans halted due to pipeline explosion in Moldova ||


- Credit Crisis: G20 Summit taking place in London on Thursday || Fitch: Emerging Europe Economic Outlook "Dire" with 2009 GDP seen -3.1%; will suffer its steepest fall in real GDP since the collapse of the Communist planned economic system in the early 1990s


- In fixed income, trade has been relatively muted amidst the commencement of G-20 proceedings in London, with Goverment bonds in modestly positive territory. In a strong auction, the UK sold £3.5B in 2015 Gilts, with a bid-to-cover of 2.23 higher than the previous 1.5. In corporate issuance news, Germany's BASF announced plans to issue €500M in 2012 Bonds, with pricing indicated at between 160 and 170bps over swaps



*** NOTES ***

- April Fools Day and the global economic recovery seem to be the main target. - China Manufacturing PMI declines again bringing into question whether China can be the engine of economic growth. In Japan the quarterly Tankan was simply dismal as its economic conditions remain severe. German retail sales were worse than expected. European PMI remained at or near all-time levels. Feb Euro-Zone unemployment level climbed to its highest level since may 2006 with its 8.55 reading.

- However, Asian equities began the month on a positive note with dealers attributing the gains to new quarterly money allocations. European bourses softer but off their worst levels. .

- G20 summit focus. Overall markets expect a lot of photo ops, lots of rhetoric and little decisive action to address the global economic

- Looking Ahead:

- 7:00 (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e March 27th: No expectations v 32.3% prior

- 7:30 (US) March Challenger Job Cuts Y/Y: No expectations v 158.4% prior

- 8:15 (US) March ADP Employment Change: -663k expected v -697k prior

- 10:00 (US) March ISM Manufacturing (last 35.8), March ISM Prices Paid (last 29), Feb Pending Home Sales m/m (last -7.7%), March Construction Spending m/m (last -3.3%)

- 10:30 (US) DoE Crude Oil/Gasoline/Distillate Inventories

- 1:00 (US) Fed's Pianalto speaks at banking event in Columbus

 

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