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Forex Blog - European market Update: Equities surge ahead of FASB announcement on "Mark-to-market" accounting

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

European market Update: Equities surge ahead of FASB announcement on "Mark-to-market" accounting


- (UK) March Nationwide House Prices M/M: 0.9% v-1.5%e, Y/Y: -15.7% v-18.1%e

- (FR) French Producer Prices M/M: -0.6% v -0.4%e; Y/Y: -4.5% v -3.5%e

- (NO) Norwegian March PMI SA: 38.0 v 37.3e

- (SP) Spain March Net Unemployment M/M: 123.5K v 89Ke

- (HU) Hungarian Jan Final Trade Balance: -€194.1M v -€191.6M prior

- (IT) Italian Q4 Deficit to GDP : 2.70% v 2.10% prior

- (NO) Norwegian Unemployment Rate: 2.8% v 2.8%e

- (SP) Spain March Consumer Confidence: 53.7 v 48.0e

- (RU) Russian Gold & Forex Reserves w/e Mar 27th: $388.0 v $385.3B prior

- (UK) Hong Kong Retail Sales - Value Y/Y: -12.6% v -2.0%e; Volume Y/Y: -13.8% v -3.0%e

- (UK) March PMI Construction: 30.9 v 27.8e

- (UK) BoE Quarterly Credit Conditions survey: Corporate and household defaults rose in Q1; Seen rising in Q2

- (RU) Russian Q4 GDP: 1.2% v 1.0%e


- Equities: For [BMW.GE] [VOW.GE] [DAI.GE] German VDIK: March New Car Registrations +20% (adj) y/y, +40% y/y For Lloyds [LLOY.UK] institutional shareholders are seeking resignations from Victor Blank and Eric Daniels -Times. Article states that institutional holders have told the UK gov they do intend to increase positions, or move into the equity until the Chairman and CEO are forced out. Investors remain angered over the hurried, gov backed merger of Lloyds and HBOS back in 2008, that move led to a current loss of £11B in FY08 on HBOS's toxic exposure. UK gov has take of approx 60% in bank. ||Tate and Lyle [TATE.UK] provided a trading statement: Guides FY pretax marginally below prior guidance. The firm noted solid progress has been made on debt reduction , with Net debt at 31 March 2009 less than £1.25B, around £300M lower q/q, and more than £150M lower y/y. || Thales [HO.FR], reportedly its multimedia unit seeking FY09 break even -La Tribune. La Tribune reported that its aeronautic division faces losses of €300M linked to flight and security systems. Article stated that company in addition has generated losses of €500M in its on-board multimedia activity. The article lastly noted that the firm denied that unit has generated €500m in losses. || K+S [SDF.GE], DOW: Confirms sale of Morton Salt for $1.68B to K+S. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval, and is expected to close in mid-2009. The Company has almost replaced the $7.5 billion cash shortfall created by the failure of the K-Dow transaction to close. || Commerzbank [CBK.GE] is to seek acceptance on proposal to allow bank to raise capital at its AGM. The bank is seeking to issue new shares without subscription rights as part of German SoFFin lead 25% stake purchase. Item 10 on agenda to seek approx 1.2M shares at €6/share. || Continental [CON.GE], Shaffler has received €500M bridge loan facility - Handelsblatt, the facility will provide more time for reorganization of company. Group sees restructuring complete in 3-5 month period. || Arcelor Mittal [MT.NV] has secured an additional $1.2B through a 2nd phase of forward start facilities. The credit lines from these new facilities effectively extend existing financing until 2012. ||ABB Group [ABBN.SZ] has been awarded an $490M oil and gas contract in US. The firm stated that overall markets are remaining challenging and that base orders continue to deteriorate. ABB stated that increased volatility in FX and commodity prices will have a negative effect on the firm, hurt EBIT. ||BHP [BHP.AU], reportedly the miner has won an appeal against disputed A$1.8B tax bill. Reminder: Dec 2007 -Vast majority of charges in A$1.8B attached to abandoned Boodarie iron plant in Pilbara region, plant was eventually written off and scrapped. || yesterday's session for Fiat [F.IT] March unit sales +6.1% y/, Italian market share 32.6% v 30.8%, March registrations 69.9K v 65.9K y/y. CEO stated that he Expects to see global sales in Q1 -30% y/y, still expects to match global FY08 sales in FY09. ||

- Speakers: Treasury Sec Geithner: reiterates standard US currency policy. Says strong USD remains in US interests ||SNB's Hildebrand stated that the CHF currency interventions would continue as long as deflationary risks remained. CHF sales are to increase both liquidity and loosen monetary policy conditions. He noted that the central bank would implement extraordinary measures, which could carries long-term risks. He noted that other central banks understood the SNB's currency intervention policy ||Polish Central Banker Pietrewicz reiterated his dovish views. Says interest rate cuts should be continued to help increase economic growth || Polish Central Bank Trenkner cautioned that further Polish interest rate cuts were risky, but the bank has not started considering interest rate increases || Polish Fin Min stated that the Budget revenue after March was higher than prior forecasts by around PLN1B. He noted that the 3-month budget deficit was PLN10.1B compared to forecast of deficit PLN12.3B. || Sweden extended its bank guarantee program until Oct, 31 2009. It was set to expire at the end of this month. || UN Atomic Agency's El Baradei commented that he welcomed the US, Russian reduction plan for weapons. He added that the process for North Korean denuclearization remained urgent || BoE Quarterly Credit Conditions survey: Corporate and household defaults rose in Q1; Seen rising in Q2. Lenders have tightened credit to households but have seen increased lending to corporate sector since December. Household and corporate loan spreads widened more than expected since December and are expected to continue rising || EU's Barroso stated that the EU must have strong and long term coordinated stimulus. Must make rules to manage the spread of globalization and that protectionism and nationalism in economic terms were unhelpful. || UK Minister: Additional IMF funding includes sale of IMF gold

- In Currencies: risk appetite resurfaces as equity markets surge higher keeping the USD soft and the JPY broadly weaker. Japanese pension and mutual funds remained aggressive buyers of the crosses since Tuesday. The unwinding of hedges made for the fiscal year also complemented the selling of JPY. USD/JPY hit 5-month highs above 99.70

- the EUR/USD pair remain locked in a range ahead of the ECB policy meeting and press conference. The pair has been locked between its 100 and 200 day moving averages since the Fed's quantitative easing back on March 18th. ECB is expected to cut its interest rate by 50bps to 1.0% later today.

- The USD concerns continue for the longer term as China's leaders, increasingly concerned about the nation's $740B of U.S. Treasuries, are making it easier for trading partners and consumers to do business in Yuan. Dealer chatter has been circulating of a possible ECB signaling support Eastern European currencies (CEE) and the session did encounter some vague chatter of a possible Latvia debt default since it was unlikely to meet IMF conditions for additional loans.

- Hildebrand comments that the SNB would use all means to prevent renewed CHF appreciation. The CHF was weaker during the session with EUR/CHF at 1.5260 area.

- GBP firmer in the session. Sterling fueled by the GBP/JPY cross which benefited from a pick up in risk appetite following strong equity market gains. GBP/USD at 1.4630, up 160 pips from its opening level in Asia. GBP/JPY approaching the 146.00 handle, up 330 pips for the day.

- Fixed income: An eventful session in fixed income this morning, with risk appetite sending government bond prices lower, apart from an upward spike in T-Note futures of almost a full point, which was later attributed to fat fingers. Supply from Spain and France was well received, with the former selling €6.3B in 2 and 5 year Bonos, more than expected, and the latter selling almost €8B in 5 to 30y OAT's. After last weeks failed long gilt auction the UK appread to have passed a key litmus test, selling £2.2B in 2049's. The auction did, however, draw a higher than average yield tail of 5pbs, and at the time of writing Gilt futures have lead the way down, lower by around 70 ticks and eyeing the 123 handle.

- In Energy: OPEC Sec Gen El-Badri commented that the oil market fundamentals remain 'the same' and reiterated that current oil prices would not help investment, which is necessary to increase capacity. He reiterated the view that the decline in oil prices from last summer has given global economy a $2T stimulus . He cautioned that a 'massive supply crunch' to occur || IEA's Tanaka commented that he saw downside risks of lower oil demand from the current view of 84.4M bpd for 2009. He stated that economic stimulus packages could work and was looking for a positive decision at G20 summit. He did caution of further downward revisions for demand were likely || India To commence 8th round of oil block sales next week. India to offer 70 oil blocks for auction on April 9th || Total [FP.FR] CEO commented that its 2009 profits would not bew the same as those seen last year. He noted that OPEC measures to stabilize oil prices are working. Total would maintain plans for investment and expected an increased in demand from emerging markets

- G20 Summit: Reportedly G20 not clear if Communique would include sanctions on tax havens according to Diplomats ||German Fin Min Steinbrueck: Important G-20 agrees that no market can stay unregulated. He welcomed US efforts to make progress on regulation || Ukraine PM Timoshenko: Expects IMF mission to continue

*** NOTES ***

- Global equity markets rally. Hang Seng Index up 7.4% in session and erased all of it prior 2009 losses. Traders noting that “better” US auto sales figures on Wednesday and the awaited FASB announcement on “Mark-to-market” accounting. However, the best explanation appears to be the fact that a new quarter is simply showing that new money being deployed. The question lurks whether the rally is simply a “Bear-market” retracement as bank results, larger write-downs, higher loss provisions, and disappointing earnings results are just around the corner.

- ECB interest rate decision this morning. Speculation that perhaps the ECB would announce (or consider) a form of quantitative easing to complement its likely 50bps rate cut. However, currency traders caution that Trichet just does not seem to be an unconventional type..

- G20: extendes regulation to systemically important hedge funds. Will identify tax havens and deploy sanctions. Will refrain from competitive devals. Commit to IMF surveilance. Agree for more imf resources and to support sdr allocation to ease liquidity.

- Geithner leaves option open of forcing out ceo's of failed banks.

- China boosts CNY swaps so foreign importers of Chinese goods can avoid paying in $. Maybe a further step towards convertability........

- Looking Ahead:

- 7:45 (EU) ECB Interest Rate Decision: 50bps cut to 1.00% expected, current Refi Rate is 1.50%

- 8:30 (US) Initial Jobless Claims (last 652K), Continuing Claims (last 5.56M)

-8:30 (EU) ECB's Trichet holds regular monthly news conference

- 10:30 (US) Fed's Hoening speaks in Lima

- 10:00 (US) Feb Factory Orders (last -1.9%)

- 10:30 (US) Natural Gas Inventories

- 11:00 (US) Treasury's 10-year announcement



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