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Tuesday June 2, 2009 - 10:13:23 GMT
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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Euro-Zone Unemployment hits 10-hear high at 9.2%

Today 06:05am EST/10:05am GMT

European Market Update: Euro-Zone Unemployment hits 10-hear high at 9.2%


- (NO) Norway Q2 Consumer Confidence: -3.7 v -5.0e

- (SZ) Swiss Q1 GDP Q/Q: -0.8% v -1.5%e; Y/Y: -2.4% v -1.7%e

- (FR) French April Producer Prices M/M: -0.9% v -0.2%e; Y/Y: -6.4% v -6.4%e

- (SP) Spain Net Unemployment M/M: -24.7K v 39.5K prior; First decline since Mar 2008

- (DE) Danish Apr Retail Sales M/M: -0.6% v 0.1% prior, Y/Y: -6.8% v -3.7% prior

- (SZ) Swiss May SVME- Purchasing Managers Index: 39.8 v 36.5e

- (HU) Hungary May PMI: 45.3 v 40.4 prior

- (NO) Norway Apr Credit Indicator Growth Y/Y: 8.0% v 8.3%e

- (UK) Apr Net Consumer Credit: £0.3B v £0.1Be; Net Lending: £1.0B v £1.0Be

- (UK) Apr Mortgage Approvals: 43K v 41Ke

- (UK) M4 Money Supply M/M: 0.2% v 0.1%e; Y/Y: 17.4% v 17.4%e

- (UK) May PMI Construction: 45.9 v 39.5e

- (DE) Danish May PMI Survey: 40.9 v 33.8 prior

- (EU) Euro-zone Apr Unemployment Rate: 9.2% v 9.1%e; Highest reading since Sept 1999


- In equities: -In equities: Coming off strong gains on Monday's sessions, European equity markets snapped a 2-day positive level opening streak by trending negative through the pre-market and opening for trade negative across the board. Geo-political concerns emerged out of Korea once again following comments that N Korea was readying itself to fire another missile, this time of the medium-range variety. Overall, financial names led the downward direction on the open with Barclays [BARC.UK] down -12% on the back of IPIC placing its 1.3B stake, HSBC [HSBA.UK] traded lower on rumor that a major investor may need to sell down £2B stake. German and French tier one banking names also traded lower in a sector wide movement. Other trends included the paring of recent gains, and some profit taking in major industrials, exporters and basic resources firms that have moved higher over the 10+ week rally seen in global equity markets. Steel names, including ArcelorMittal [MTA.NV] and ThyseenKrupp [TKA.GE] were leading downward movers in initial trades. Continental markets slowed show recovery from the opening. Stronger than expected Spanish Net unemployment (showing a positive figure) and second tier data out of Switzerland and Denmark continued this upward momentum. By 4:00EST, the CAC and DAX rallied to their session highs with the CAC trading nearly flat on the session and the DAX breaking into positive territory. Recovery in industrial and exporters led this equity lift. The FTSE, however, never gained positive traction being weighed down by two of its biggest banking names. Past 5:00ESt, the DAX trended back into negative territory joining the FTSE and CAC in the red.

-In individual equities: Barclays [BARC.UK] Abu Dhabi's IPIC to dispose of stake in the company equal to 1.3B shares (15.5% of shares outstanding). Also IPIC invited offers for its entire £1.5B holding of Barclays capital notes. Abu Dhabi's IPIC has no current intention to exercise or sell indirect interest in warrants of Barclays Bank. || HSBC [HSBA.UK] Fears continue that Saudi investor al-Sanea may need to sell down £2B stake -Guardian. Saudi central bank has reportedly frozen al-Sanea's accounts. al-Sanea is owner fo Saad investments that has broad global banking investors and significant land and property holdings in Middle East. S&P cut outlook on Saad property investments to negative from stable on the back of growing risks in the sector. || Ryanair[ RYA.UK] Reports FY09 net loss €169M v gain €62Me, Rev €2.94B v €2.95Be. Fuel costs rose to €1.26B +€466M y/y, Q1-3 are 90% fuel hedged, Group has €2.3B cash on hand, Guides FY2010 post tax profit €200-300M, Guides FY2010 traffic +15% y/y. || King Fisher[ KGF.UK] Reports Q1 Group SSS -1.7% y/y, Q1 Total Sales +2.4% y/y to £2.64B. Outdoor seasonal product sales boosted by more favorable weather in the UK and France and a later Easter compared to last year, whilst non-seasonal sales continued to decline. Group retail profit up 38.5%, primarily reflecting a doubling of B&Q's profit in the UK. French sales up 1.7%, retail profit up 3.5% benefiting from cost initiative. || Centrica [CNA.UK] To acquire 45% stake in gas development block for $145M. Co to acquire a 45% interest in gas development Block 5, located off the south east coast of Trinidad. || SocGen [GLE.FR] Co. traders continue to operate at limit of rules without being reprimanded - French press. La Tribune reports that for a study carried out by consultants Technologia at the request of the French bank and its workers committee recommends steps including a clearer division of tasks between traders and their back office, improving the job prospects and salary of the back office, and making bonus policy more transparent. || Deutsche Telecom [DTE.GE] Update: France Telecom has placed offer for T-Mobile UK -Guardian. Article notes that initial approaches by FTE were rejected by DTE. || Gazprom [GAZP.RU] Polish Econ Min: Signed short term gas delivery contract with company, PGNig signs $300M contracts with Gazprom, sees contract returning deliveries to full restoration. |||S&P commented that the GM bankruptcy had limited impact on Japanese automakers |||

- Speakers: Treasury Sec Geithner commented that both China and US expected USD to be the main reserve currency for some time to come. Geithner noted that China's Vice Premier Wang did not express concerns regarding the countries US Treasury holdings. The Tsy Sec continued to welcome Chinese commitment towards a flexible Yuan currency over time. He noted that China was helping to stabilize the international financial system. ||| ECB's Draghi commented that States must seek to reduce debt levels and currency policies must be shaped accordingly |||Swedish Central Bank commented that its domestic banks could manage increased loan losses and that its main scenario assumes that the major Swedish banks loan losses in 2009 and 2010 to total SEK170B. The Riksbank noted that its domestic banks had sufficient capital to meet large losses and remained well capitalized on a global context. It saw 40% of loan losses from Baltic operations. Central Bank measures have contributed to a decline in the banks liquidity risk since November but risks posed by Baltic region economies to Swedish system have risen. The Riksbank noted that the situation could worsen in region |||Latvian Gov't Advisor Bengt Dennis: Country needs to devalue Lats currency at some point ||| German Chancellor Merkel commented that she did not believe Germany should diversify away from exports || Spain Industry Minister commented on the decline in Span'sMay unemployment data and noted that the jobless data could indicate a beginning of the end of the crisis ||

- In Currencies: The USD managed to achieve some gains against its European counterparts in the session. The GBP/USD traded at 1.6330, off over 120 pips from the opening levels in Asia. Dealers were noting that a negative today for the GBP currency was news that Barclay's largest Middle Eastern investor, Abu Dhabi's IPIChas announced plans to offload its long term strategic stake, which could require the selling of GBP currency. The EUR/USD was lower by 50 pips at 1.4127 for most of the morning and largely ignored that highest level of unemployment within the Euro-Zone in a decade. The Euro did manage to retrace most of its session losses as short-covering ensued after the EU unemployment data. Commodity-related pairs followed the energy and metal price action and consolidated some of its recent trend moves. Some vague dealer chatter that the RBA was checking rates around .8100 level.

-In Fixed Income: Government bonds have experienced some relief from the aggressive selling of the past fortnight with Bunds, Gilts and Treasuries all in positive territory at the time of writing. UK and German yield curves continue to steepen with 2s10s in both markets right at their widest levels of the year. In an illustration of how conditions have improved over the past two months, the UK sold £2B of the 4.25% 2049 Long Gilts, the same issue which it had failed to sell in March, with auction generating a strong bid to cover of more than 2 and a yield tail of less than 1 basis point. Issuance on the covered bond market is picking up with benchmark offerings from DB and BNP both in the works. Three month Euribor improved by 1bps to 1.26%

- I n Energy: PPEC Research Director Qabazard commented that OPEC has an overhang of 200M+ barrels of oil in floating stock but expressed optimism that such an overhang would be consumed by the end of 2009. He reiterated the view that the recent oil price rise was not due to fundamental reasons ||Libyan Oil Min stated that oil could rise to $80/bbl in Q2 and that OPEC sought an average price pf $70/barrel for 2009 |||Russian Energy Ministry stated that Russian May Oil Production was 9.8M bpd, which was unchanged from Aprils's level and up 1% from year-ago levels. Gazprom's May gas output declined by 14% m/m, and down 34% y/y || Russian Foreign Min Lavrov stated that he expected 'constructive response' from Iran regarding its nuclear enrichment program || China end of April Crude oil inventories at 38.6M tons, up 1.0M tons y/y.

In Commodities: China Steel Association Chairman Bingsheng commented that the Jan-April iron ore imports exceeded demand by 27M tons with iron Ore surplus seen at 200-300M tons due to excessive imports ||| India's JSW Steel Exec commented that May sales rose by 50% y/y and the company to consider increasing steel product prices by 2% in July ||

- Credit Crisis: Reportedly Russian companies overdue loans at RUB500B, up 100% in four months of 2009

*** NOTES ***

- FT: Chinese official who sees no replacement for the USD

- US Treasury Geithner in China. Dealers did note that the Tsy Sec was very polite and saying all the right things to his hosts and biggest customers. However, not all is rosy. China's Yu tells US to be responsible and that there are alternatives to the USD (specifically mentioning the Euro and commodities).

- Reserve bank of Australia (RBA) leaves unchanged as expected and adds scope for further easing if necessary.

- Reportedly North Korea preparing up to 4 more medium-range missile tests

- Swedish Central Bank: Banks notes the potential losses of its exposure from the Baltics

- Looking Ahead:

-10:00 (US) Pending Home Sales M/M: 0.5% expected v 3.2% prior, Pending Home Sales Index: No expectations v 3.2 prior

- 10:00 (EU) ECB's Constancio speaks in Portugal


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