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Forex Blog - European Market Update: UK services PMI at 6-month high; White House Spokesperson: March report will probably indicate 'severe job cuts'

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

European Market Update: UK services PMI at 6-month high; White House Spokesperson: March report will probably indicate 'severe job cuts'


- (GE) German Import Price Index M/M: -0.1% v -0.5% prior; Y/Y: -6.4% v -5.4% prior

- (SP) Spanish Industrial Output NSA Y/Y: -23.9% v -24.3% prior; WDA Y/Y: -22.0% v -20.5%e

- (SP) Spain Feb Services PMI: 34.1 v 31.7 prior

- (SZ) Swiss March CPI M/M: -0.3% v 0.0%e; Y/Y: -0.4% v -0.1%e

- (DE) Danish Industrial Production ex Ships M/M: -2.7% v -1.8% prior; Ind Order Ex Ships M/M: -0.4% v 2.8% prior

- (IT) Italian Mar PMI Services: 39.1 v 38.2e

- (FR) French Mar PMI Services: 43.6v 42.9e

- (GE) German Mar Final PMI Services: 42.3 v 41.7e

- (EU) March Final PMI Services: 40.9 v 40.1e

- (EU) March Final PMI Composite: 38.3 v 37.6e

- (IT) Italian Feb PPI M/M: -0.6% v -0.5e; Y/Y: -3.3% v -3.0%e

- 4:00 (UK) HBOS House Prices M/M: -1.9% v -1.8%e; 3M/Y: -17.5% v -17.4%e

- (UK) March PMI Services: 45.5 v 43.5e


- Equities: Anglo American [AAL.UK] confirms pricing of $2.0B bond offering (11% of market cap). The offering comprises US$1.25B 9.375% senior notes due 2014 and US$750M 9.375% senior notes due 2019. The miner expects the offering to close on 8 April 2009, subject to customary closing conditions. ||RBS [RBS.UK] released a statement ahead of shareholder meeting: The struggling bank stated that its core business remains excellent, intends to resume dividend payments as soon as possible and that it will cut jobs further. CEO state that the group had £16.2B of goodwill relating to previous acquisitions, most notably ABN AMRO in FY08 and that all costs going forward are to be scrutinized. Chairman stated that its not appropriate to pay dividend at this time and it remains unclear how many more jobs will be cut. RBS continues to seek costs by £2.5B/year while exepcting to return to full strength in 3-5 years. ||British Land [BLND.UK] announced the sale of its Abbey headquarters for £115M, this sale is in line with strategy. ||For Continental [CON.GE], reportedly Pirelli is looking to acquire Continental's truck wheel business for approx €500M -Platow. ||For BMW [BMW.GE], Moody's downgrades long and short term ratings by one notch to A3/P-2 from A2/P-1; outlook Negative. The includes approximately € 38.3B of debt. Moody's stated that the downgrade to A3/P-2 reflects the severe and rapid downturn in demand for BMW''s vehicles which resulted in a significant deterioration in financial metrics in 2008, the short debt maturity profile of BMW group as well as our expectation of a further worsening of financial flexibility in the current fiscal year due to the global decline in auto demand. ||For Deutsche Bourse [DB1.GE], It has been speculated that with activist positions in the group being limited, Deutsche Bourse may be more aggressive in its expansion/acquisition policies; Targets in Eastern Europe and the Middle East have been floated. Reminder: On April 1 -TCI lowers its stake to approx 10.26%. Reminder: On April 1 - Update: Atticus Capital has cut stake from 9% to less than 3%. ||

BASF [BAS.GE] had obtained clearance from Chinese competition authority for CIBA purchase. Note: Earlier in session saw comments from US FTC noting that BASF would be forced to sell some CIBA assets, including property rights regarding pigments to an approved buyer within 6-month period -WSJ. ||German truck maker Man's[MAN.GE] CEO stated that he continues to see no signs of rebound in truck market but Co. is well positioned to deal with downturn. Stated that the business units Diesel and Turbo machines continue to have a more stable order intake and that MAN in its current structure focused on transport-related engineering is prepared to deal with the sharp market downturn due to its strong capital base. The group sees no need to renegotiate major new credit lines in next two years and confirmed plans to push for cost savings at the commercial vehicles operations, its largest unit by far, by €500M in 2009. ||Austrian Bank Raiffeisen [RIBH.AS] finalized its €1.75B state-aid deal. The bank noted that the deal will boost the Tier 1 ratio to 10.4% from 8.4% and the loan will carry an interest of 8.00%. || Russian gas giant Gazprom [GAZP.RU] has had its rate cut at Moody's. Moody's downgrades senior issuer and debt ratings one notch to Baa1 from A3; Outlook Stable. || For Google [GOOG], reportedly it is in advanced discussions over potential purchase of Twitter (private). Note: Twitter is a privately owned social networking/blog service that has recently signed mainstream contracts with Brazilian names and has been reportedly in talks with Disney regarding JV operations. Twitter stated that in Feb of 2009 it had raised an additional $35M in capital from private sources. ||

- Speakers: EU's Juncker: G-20 decisions are moving in 'right direction' || Chancellor Darling: Was agreed in yesterdays G20 that it was imperative to discuss banks toxic assets ||Czech Central Bank: Weakening of currency in H2 will likely help exporters || German Fin Min: Lack of flexibility in Chinese currency a reason for global imbalances and saw little chance of synthetic lead currencies emerging || ECB's Nowotny commented that there was still room to make additional rate cuts and that yesterday's 25bps cut was made with a medium term view. He noted that the market reacted positively to the ECB decision. || ECB's Mersch commented that recent US statements regarding the economy have an positive outlook. || IMF stated that no additional gold sales were discussed above 403 tons

- In Currencies: European market to focus on the positives after yesterday's increase in sentiment following the G20 measures. The USD and JPY remains tied to equity price movements for the most part. During the European morning, the Sterling-related were the big movers. GBP was aided by the better PMI services data. GBP/USD tested the 1.48 handle for the first time since early Feb. GBP/JPY hovering around the 148.00 neighborhood.

- SNB has previously expressed concern over the prospects of deflation and the Mar CPI proceeded to fall for the first time in 5 years by the largest amount seen in 50 years. EUR/CHF cross at 1.5265

- USD/JPY retested the 100 level that it broke during the Asian session.

- In fixed income: The German yield curve is flatter this morning, , with the short end under pressure after yesterday's lower than expected ECB rate cut pushing 2s10s back below 170bps for the first time since January. The 2y Schtaz is yielding 1.46%, about 4bps higher on the session, whilst traders noted 6M Euribor fixed higher for the first time since October. Some bids have moved into long dated Gilts this morning, with investors reaching for yield and buoyed by yesterday's successful auction results. 20y gilts are 6bps lower at 4.20%. Global resources giant Anglo American confirmed the pricing of $2B in 5 and 10y bonds both to yield 9.375%, or in the case of the 10y roughly 650bps over Treasurues . For comparison, BHP (admittedly rated three notches higher) paid 400bps over treasuries in its USD denominated 10y note offering earlier last month.

- In Energy: China March Power Output declined 0.7% y/y with power output declining by 2% in H2 of March. Power generation climbed 1% in the first half of March, but reversed to drop by 2% in the second half of the month. ||

*** NOTES ***

- The markets in a consolidation mode ahead of the key US payroll data. The recent price action in equities and carry-related currency pairs seem to have most indices at multi-month highs. There are a plethora of reasons behind the recent price action range from new quarter money allocations, The G20 communiqué announcement of additional funding to the IMF and World Bank, a gradualist ECB lent confidence to markets, the relaxation of FASB accounting rules, the US Senate approval of the Democrats' $3.4T FY2010 budget plan

- Again, 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. Will the US Non-Farm payroll data derail this momentum? White House Spokesman Gibbs commented prior to the data release that the March report would probably indicate 'severe job cuts'

- ECB proves they excel at gradualism. Hints at maybe 1 more measured cut, and hangs the further measures carrot out there.

- NYT: GM willing to consider bankruptcy if cannot restructure out of court.

- Some tech related merger chatter. GOOG: Reportedly in advanced stage discussions to purchase Twitter (private); IBM is in talks with Sun to pay $9.55/share, talks are in final stages

- Looking Ahead:

- 8:30 (US) March Nonfarm Payrolls (last -651K), Unemployment (last 8.1%), Manufacturing Payrolls (last -168K), Average Hourly Earnings (last m/m 0.2%, y/y 3.6%)

- 9:10 (US) Fed's Kohn speaks in Ohio

- 10:00 (US) March ISM Non-Manufacturing (last 41.6)

- 12:00 (US) Fed Chairman Bernanke speaks at credit conference


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