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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Cautious IMF global outlook view brings risk aversion back to the table; GBP currency weighed down by UK budget concerns

Today 05:56am EST/09:56am GMT

European Market Update: Cautious IMF global outlook view brings risk aversion back to the table; GBP currency weighed down by UK budget concerns

*** ECONOMIC DATA ***

- (JP) Japan March Convenience Store Sales Y/Y: 4.2% v 2.0% prior

- (SP) Spain Feb Service Sector Sales Y/Y: -20.5% v -17.6% prior; Service Sector Employment Y/Y: -5.9% v -4.8% prior

- (HK) Hong March Kong Unemployment Rate: 5.2% v 5.3%e


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

- Equities: European equity markets opened to the downside following mixed trading in the pre market. Following the sixth straight week of gains, markets volume and direction has remained light in early going. Technical issues have continued to delay the NYSE Euro next open with the CAC40 not fully open until 3:50EST (50 min delay). Sector movement to the downside continues to be led by industrials and utilities with many of the heavy steel names pairing gains marked last week following upgrades from Credit Suisse and optimism regarding increases in Chinese demand. Past the 4:00EST hr, selling accelerated in the markets as opening level lows were breached to the downside with continued weakness in metals and mining names. Banks have, however, continued their lighter note as traders position for further earnings out the
US, with Bank of America (BAC.UK) seen reporting during the 6:00EST hr in NY. All three bourses continued their downward slide into the 5:00EST hour accelerating their losses at US futures and energy commodities pushed their session lows. Financial names in the UK and on the continent came off their best levels and joined automotive names (ex Fiat) in rapid move towards their session lows. Markets continue to eye US corporate earrings out of Bank of America, Halliburton and Eli Lilly all expected in the 6:00EST hour.


Royal Dutch Shell [RDSA.UK] $4B
Iraq oil development contract could be rescinded/renegotiated by Iraqi gov -Guardian. Jabir Khalifa Jabir, Sec of Oil and Gas Committe in Iraqi Parliament has allegedly threatened to push Shell out of Iraqi oil production contracts. Jabir has stated that Shell and Sinopec's agreements for operations in Southern Iraq are illegal as they were not approved by Parliament. ||Arcandor [ARO.GE] Announced consolidation program: The Group expects a further financing requirement of up to €900M over the coming 5 years for the implementation of these measures in addition to the pending refinancing in the summer of 2009. || Porsche [PAH3.GE:] Company reportedly in talks with banks on possible issue of debt to pay back a €3.3B portion of €10B loan secured last month - Der Spiegel. || UBS [UBSN.SZ] Sells its Brazilian unit UBS Pactual for about $2.5B to BTG Investments. The transaction will take place at a premium to book value. It will increase Tier 1 capital by CHF 1.3B, decrease risk weighted assets by CHF3.0B, and reduce total assets by CHF6.3B. It will strengthen UBS''s BIS Tier 1 ratio by approximately 60 bps. || Allied Irish Bank [ALBK.IR] To seek additional €1.5B in capital. ||


- Speakers: British Trade Min Davies: Reiterated his view that GBP currency low level offers a huge opportunity for exports. He commented that the
UK had an opportunity to export its way out of economic crisis || BoJ's Shirakawa noted that financial conditions remained “severe” as domestic demand remained week. He noted that it pay attention to economic downside price risks and that exports have fallen dramatically. Core consumer prices to keep declining but there are signs that the output, export drops were moderating. Nonetheless the Japanese economy was still deteriorating significantly. Lastly he expected situation to turn around and start recovering in late 2009 ||Philippine Economic planner Recto commented that Q1 GDP might have slowed to 2.1% to 3.2% range; cites slowing exports. Just last week the country cuts its 2009 GDP estimate to 3.1-4.1% from its prior range of 3.7-4.4%. || China's sovereign wealth fund (CIC) Chairman Lou Jiwei commented in an FT interview that CIC was considering investment opportunities in Europe and had identified many potential targets . He expressed relief that snubs from the continent saved Beijing from embarrassing investment losses last year || || French budget director: French public deficit to be €104 to €105B; sees 2009 budget gap at 5.5% || UK CBI commented that perhaps the the worst of the recession was over and saw UK economy with modest growth in the H2 of 2010. || German Bank Assoc: Saw downside risk to 2009 GDP forecast of -3.5% y/y. It reiterated the view that the ECB still had room to lower interest rates. || HKMA's Yam commented that the ultra- loose US monetary policy helped cushion Hong Kong due to its currency peg policy


- In Currencies: GBP maintained a softer tone in the session. The GBP/USD tested the 1.4550 level while EUR/GBP cross moved back above the 0.89 area. Dealers attributed the price action as more of a position adjustment rather than a change in fundamentals. Both the U.K. CBI and the Item Club think tank said the worst of the recession was over and that the U.K. was no longer in free fall, but with little impact. All eyes are on the upcoming
UK budget due out on Wednesday. The FT noted that Chancellor Darling was expected to say that the cost of the government's bank bailouts may reach £60B and acknowledged that the government was unlikely to ever fully recover the funds it put into the banking sector.||

- EUR/USD: dealers noting that some “sizeable” 1.2950 strikes rolling off later this week. Level seen a s initial and was holding ahead of the NY morning. Dealers noting that volatility has been selling off, suggesting perhaps some tighter ranges times ahead.

- Commodity currencies were notable softer. The IMF IMF's Managing Director Strauss-Kahn conducted interview in
Germany's Handelsblatt stated that the outlook for global growth forecast to be presented by IMF this week would be worse than the contraction of 0.5% made previously. However, he remained optimistic that modest economic growth would return in 2010. The softer energy prices helped USD/CAD to move above the 1.22 handle.


- Fixed income: Weakness in equities had driven the bid in fixed income this morning, and with central bank purchases imminent long end out performance is leading to bull flattening in Gilts and Treasuries, with Bunds following in sympathy. || The Bank of England confirmed it would conduct another round of Gilt buying later today, aiming for £3.5B worth of purchases in the 10y part of the curve, whilst tomorrow the NY Fed will look to buy UST's maturing between 2016 and 2019. || 2y EUR and USD swap spreads are a touch wider , whilst 3M Euribor fixed unchanged at 1.405%, halting a streak of consecutive declines stretching back to October 9 2008


- In Energy: UAE Oil Min Haml commented that keeping oil prices at reasonable levels was essential and reiterated that significant investment was needed to avoid high oil price cycle . It was uncertain when financial crisis would end and added that OPEC members are concerned over demand uncertainty. It continued to view that the oil market remained well supplied and that prices around $50/bbl would help achieve fast economic recovery || IEA Tanaka commented that the oil price is stabilizing and that he expected oil markets to tighten in 2009 || NYMEX May Crude futures were lower by $2/barrel to test $48.30 area. The cautious IMF global outlook comment made in
Asia was one factor cited the lower price action. || China Electricity Council: China Q1 Power plant coal use 308M tons (-8.0% y/y)


- Credit Crisis: Reportedly Spain to create €90B bank fund according to Economista. The article noted that the Spanish government would apportion about 75% of the value of the fund, with the remainder coming from
Spain's deposit guarantee funds The fund, to be constituted by government decree, would enable the central bank to push through mergers of troubled institutions or take them over. ||


*** NOTES ***

- Quiet European session on the data front. USD firmer and oil lower as IMF rekindles risk aversion theme with their cautious growth outlook

- Pepsi offered about $6B in cash and stock to buy out other shareholders of its two biggest bottlers to gain greater control over product sales in North America

- Healthcare mergers continue as UK's Glaxo to purchase Stiefel labs for $3.6B.

- Australia's Q1 PPI comes in at -0.4 compared to consensus expectations of +0.6

- FT noted that the UK government was expected to acknowledge that it was unlikely to ever fully recover the funds it put into the banking sector

- Looking Ahead: About a quarter the S&P to report corporate earnings this week. Bank of America [BAC] focus this morning

- 8:00 (HU) Hungarian Base Rate Announcement: No change expected, current Base Rate is 9.50%

- 8:00 (
PD) Polish March Producer Prices: 0.4% expected v 2.3% prior, Y/Y: 5.7% expected v 5.4% prior

- 8:30 (CA) Canadian Feb International Securities Transactions: C$1.00B expected v C$10.43B prior

- 9:00 (US) Fed's Evans to speak in Chicago

- 10:00 (US) Fed's Bernanke speaks in Chicago

- 10:00 (US) March Leading Indicators: -0.2% expected v -0.4%

 

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