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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Germany's ZEW survey registers its first positive reading in Economic sentiment since July 2007; European central bankers very vocal in session

Today 05:47am EST/09:47am GMT

European Market Update: Germany's ZEW survey registers its first positive reading in Economic sentiment since July 2007; European central bankers very vocal in session


- (IN) Indian Central Bank cuts its Repo rate by 25bps to 4.75%; less than expected. RBI has now cut its repo rate by 425 bps in six steps since last Oct

- (SW) Swedish Riksbank cuts its key interest rate by 50bps to 0.50%, as expected. Interest rates at their lowest since records began in 1907

- (TH) Thailand Mar Customs trade balance: $2.10B v $3.45Be ; Exports Y/Y: -23.1% v -14.0%e; Imports Y/Y: -35.1% v -35.6%e

- (GE) German March Producer Prices M/M; -0.7% v -0.3%e; Y/Y: -0.5% v 0.1%e

- (SP) Spain Feb House Transactions: -37.5% v -38.6% prior

- (SZ) Swiss Money M3 Y/Y: 3.4% v 4.1% prior

- (SZ) Swiss Q1 Real Estate index Family Homes : 358.3 v 352.3 prior

- (IT) Italian Total Trade Balance: -€837.0M v -€3.6B prior; Trade Balance EU: -€105.0M v €380M

- (UK) March CPI M/M: 0.2% v 0.2%e, Y/Y: 2.9% v 2.9%e; Core CPI Y/Y: 1.7% v 1.5%e

- (UK) March RPI M/M: 0.0% v -0.2%e; Y/Y: -0.4% v -0.5%e, Ex Mortgages Y/Y; 2.2% v 2.2%e; Retail Price Index: 211.3 v 211.4 prior; Note: First negative YoY reading since Feb 1960

- (GE) Apr ZEW Survey - Econ Sentiment: 13.0 v 2.0e (First positive reading in since July 2007, Current Situation: -91.6 v -90.0e

- (EU) Eurozone Apr ZEW Survey - Econ Sentiment: 11.8 v 0.0e


- Equities: European equity markets quickly erased pre-market and opening gains resuming yesterday's downward march. All three major bourses were turning negative within 15 min of cash trading. As with yesterday, heavy weight remained in the broad financial names with Tier 1 banks and Insurance names taking a heavy hit. Retailers, however, buoyed by results from Tesco [TSCO.UK] bucked the trend and held on to opening gains in early trade. Thailand's March customs trade balance, showing a significant decline in exports hurt shipping and energy names with oil selling off rapidly. Prior to Sweden's rate decisions (3:30est) equity markets bounced northward touching then session highs on expectations of further cuts. The Riksbank's 50BPS cut (as expected) sent markets higher despite the continued underperformance of financial names across the board. Markets continued their lighter tone following the Swedish decision and pushed the 1% mark to the pos side. The FTSE100 took a dip following 5:00EST as MPC Fisher made bearish statements noting that he remained concerned that the BoE had missed its inflation target to the downside. Markets rallied soon after as the German April Zew economic sentiment survey came in ahead of expectations (13 v 2e). With a wide range of US corporate earnings ready to kick off past 6:00est, European markets continue to position themselves. As of 5:30est, the DAX and CAC remain well positive (+0.50%) while the FTSE still hovers above and below the unch mark following BoE comments to Parliament.

- Tesco [TSCO.UK] Reports FY08 Pretax £3.13B v £3.04Be, Rev €54.3B v £47.4Be. 6 week UK LFL sales ex petrol +3.4% y/y, Total sales ex petrol +12.0% y/y. || Anglo American [AAL.UK] Increases convertible bond offer to $1.7B following exercise of over allotment option. || AB Foods [ABF.UK] Reports H2 Op Profit £297M v £277Me, Rev £4.4B v £4.4Be, declares div 6.9p/shr ( up 2% y/y). || Deutsche Post [DPW.GE] Guides Q1 net income in region of approx €1B v €318Me on back of successful options positions on Postbank. DHL unit continues to make progress towards 2010 goals. Volumes have continued to decline across all divisions. || Actelion [ATLN.SZ] Reports Q1 Net CHF102.1M v CHF99.1Me, Op profit CHF121.6M, Rev CHF405.6M v CHF400.4Me. Sees 2009 trading in line with expectations. ||HSBC [HSBA.UK] Reportedly to announce first interim dividend on May 5th, confirms talks with various lenders regarding interest rate reductions (BCAB). ||

- Speakers: ECB Noyer stated that global growth forecasts are being reduced across the board. He did note there were signs that things are improving. || ECB's Ordonez commented he supported non-conventional measures by the ECB and reiterate view that interest rates could move lower . He continues to see enormous complexity in financial markets. The world economy was experiencing strong deterioration but continued to believe that growth would return in 2010. He did not rule further losses from structured products. Money markets are improving, but some markets remain closed. || ECB's Wellink stated that restoring confidence remains key in overcoming economic crisis || BOE Fisher: cannot rule out FX intervention tool; always available if necessary. Have seen some signs that economic indicators are improving. Quantitative easing (QE) has had an impact on yields; could take a long time to see impact BUT Can not say that worst is over for the UK economy. He noted that the biggest factor behind the failed Gilts auction of a couple of weeks ago was the balance sheet pressure the market makers are already under. He commented that there was concern that inflation target was missed on the downside in which inflation may continue to fall lower than target. Main downside risk to the UK was a continued downward move in the global economy. He remained concerned that monetary policy implemented may not be effective || BoE's Sentence stated that the downward CPI momentum might be weaker than thought. He noted that the effects ofinterest rate cuts and Quantitative easing should be felt in 2009 ||German Fin Min Steinbrueck commented that he saw German bank toxic assets at €853B. he expected Landesbanken to use "bad bank" || Polish Central Banker Skrzypek commented that Polish banks have about PLN10B over liquidity. He sought looser capital requirements || Sweden central bank stated that it could resort to other measures if economic activity deteriorates. It noted that today's decision to cut by 50bps to 0.55 was made by consensus. One Board Member voted for larger interest rate cut. The Riksbank added that it could see some Probability of further rate cuts. And that the weaker SEK currency would help to stimulate the Swedish economy. The Riksbank cuts its 2009 GDP view cut to -4.5% from -1.6% prior. It also lowered its 2010 GDP forecast +1.3% from +1.7% prior view. || BOE Trends in Lending Report saw weak demand for unsecured lending with availability of unsecured lending seen unchanged in Q2 q/q. Lenders expect conditions to remain tight in 2009 and saw some cost of lending continuing to increase. Overall availability of credit was expected to rise over the course of the next 3-months. Demand for mortgages seen continuing at lower levels || ZEW economists commented that sentiment was positively affected by German gov't stimulus program. It noted that the US economic outlook had improved and saw positive signs from China. The ZEW noted that low inflation should be supportive of private consumption and saw the inklings that economy would slowly recover in H2 of 2009. There remains room for the ECB to cut interest rates even further.

- In Currencies: Dealer noting that some consolidation likely after recent currency moves. The USD was softer against the European pairs. The better than expected ZEW survey helped the EUR/USD to moved towards the 1.30 area. However the 1.2950 option expiration point continues to act 'like a magnet' ahead of expirations this week. The weak Irish bond auction results tempered the Euro upside momentum. Dealers noted that Ireland 2018 auction had a bid-to-cover of only 1.1 times.

- The GBP was a touch firmer. BOE member Fisher commented that one cannot rule out currency intervention and that such a tool was always available if necessary. Nonetheless, dealers continue to await the U.K. budget unveiling on Wednesday

- the SEK strengthened following the Swedish central bank interest rate decision. The 50bps rate cut was a bit tighter than the 'whisper' number of a 90bps cut circulating just ahead of the decision.

- Scale of SNB forex intervention significant based on central bank reserve data today. SNB held €20.2B in its foreign currency investments at the end of the first quarter, up from €15.7B at the end of 2008. euro's share of the SNB's overall currency reserves rose to 55% from 49.4% prior

- Fixed income: Central bank comments and weak auction results all contributing to session price action. Gilts have lead the way down after the BoE's Fisher appeared to indicate the BoE could revise its Gilt purchase program . Fisher noted that the BoE would need a serious discussion at its next two meetings to determine whether additional quantitative easing was necessary. Ireland sold €1B in 2014 and 2018 Bonds, with the latter issue drawing a bid-to-cover of just 1.1 times. The weak auction results raised concerns amongst dealing desks and ultimately weighed on Bunds. 3 month Euribor fixed unchanged at 1.41%, whilst 1 month Euribor actually increased by 1bps to 1.01%. 2y € swap spreads have narrowed below 53bps but USD 2y swap spreads are back above 65bps, their widest level since 18 March.

- In Energy: Iranian OPEC Gov: additional output cuts possible if market remains oversupplied. The Cartel was worried about oil stockpile by consumer nations || Reportedly, Russian Dep PM Sechin says Russia has signed oil loan agreements with Chinese govt in Beijing || Nigeria shortlisted 12 foreign firms for investment in its gas sector.

- Credit Crisis: WSJ reported that theTARP Watchdog stresses need for better financial oversight. Treasury committed $590.4B of TARP to date. The rescue efforts have expanded since Congress approved the $700B bailout package last fall. The initiative now includes about a dozen programs that could reach a price tag of $3T when Federal Reserve loans, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. guarantees and private money are factored in, according to the report by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the TARP set for release Tuesday.

*** NOTES ***

- Economic growth continues to be a cause for concern. Dealers noting that some 15 major central banks have cut their interest rates in April.

- Treasury has committed $590B of the $700B TARP money. The initiative now includes about a dozen programs that could reach a price tag of $3T when Federal Reserve loans, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. guarantees and private money are factored in

- RBA Stevens: Australia is in recession; sees lower growth and inflation out there.

- Fed's Kohn: Does not anticipate that time when Fed needs to raise interest rates is coming anytime soon

- Looking Ahead: Key earnings continue: Bank of NY [BK]; Caterpillar [CAT]; Dupont [DD]; Coca Cola [KO]; Lockheed [LMT]; Merck [MRK]; Schering [SGP]; State Street [STT] United Airlines [UAUA]; US Bancorp [USB] and United technologies [UTX] are some of the notable names before the NYSE opening bell.

- 8:30 (CA) Canadian Wholesale Prices Y/Y: 1.0% expected v -4.2% prior

- 9:00 (CA) Bank of Canada Interest Rate Decision: No change expected, current rate is 0.50%

- 9:30 (US) Fed's Hoenig testifies before Joint Economic Commitee

- 10:00 (US) Treasury Sec Geithner to testify at Congressional Oversight Panel

- 11:00 (EU) ECB's Constancio speaks in Portugal

- 13:30 (EU) ECB's Papademos speaks at EU Parliament in Strasbourg


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