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Forex Blog - European Market Update: USD softer ahead of European interest rate decisions; Russia cuts refi rate by 50bps to 11.50%

Today 05:49am EST/09:49am GMT

European Market Update: USD softer ahead of European interest rate decisions; Russia cuts refi rate by 50bps to 11.50%


- Russian Central Bank cuts Refi Rate by 50bps to 11.50%; Not Expected

- (IC) Icelandic Central Bank cuts interest rates by 100bps to 12.0%

- (US) May Monster Employment Index: 118 v 120 m/m

- (FR) France Q1 ILO Unemployment Rate: 9.1% v 8.6%e; Mainland Unemployment Rate: 8.7% v 8.3%e, Unemployment Change: 310K v 187K prior

- (HU) Hungarian March Final Trade Balance: €502.6M v €492.8M prior

- (NV) Netherlands May CPI M/M: 0.1% v -0.1%e; Y/Y: 1.6% v 1.5%e

- (NV) Netherlands May CPI EU Harmonized M/M: 0.1% v 0.3% prior, Y/Y: 1.5% v 1.8% prior

- (RU) Russian Gold & Forex Reserves: $401.1B v $399.9B prior

- (UK) May Halifax House Prices M/M: +2.6% v -1.0%e; Y/Y: -16.3% v -17.2%e

- (UK) May New Car Registrations: -24.8% v -24.0% prior

- (EU) Euro-zone Retail Sales M/M: 0.2% v 0.2%e; Y/Y: -2.3% v -2.9%e

- (SA) South Africa SACCI Business Confidence: 81.8 v 81.9 prior


-In equities: Equity markets in Europe snapped a two-session downward trend, and a weak Asian equity session, by opening to the positive side. Lingering concerns following Chinese Commerce departments in yesterday's session regarding future Chinese imports and exports continued to apply weight to mining and basic resource names across the board. Despite this sector weakness, continued gains in the energy complex saw integrated names such as Total [FP.FR] and BP [BP.UK] mark early gains. Reports of a United Airlines [UAUA] order of up to $10B send Airbus [EAD.FR] and other aerospace names higher in early crosses. Financial names that traded lower in yesterdays session following the failure of Latvian bond offer came off their lows and showed gains in early trading. Banks with significant Baltic exposure, including Swedbank [SWEDA.SW] exemplified this equity move. A surprise Russian Central Bank refi rate cut at 3:18ESt sent equity markets to new highs, above +0.75% across European bourses. Markets continued to trend upwards towards 4:00EST in expectation of UK May house prices. At 4:00EST, Halifax House Prices showed a positive m/m movement but equity markets refused to track higher. Despite the positive data markets began a retrenchment that was accelerated by continued comments out of Latvia regarding additional loans. In thin trading, markets slid, taking a brief blip upwards following a muted Spanish auction before continuing their downward momentum. By 5:00EST, the FTSE had fallen to the unchanged mark, making a slight recovery with the CAC and DAX following April retail sale figures out of the Euro zone. Market attention past 5:00EST unavoidably looked towards interest rate, QE and bond purchase schemes out of the BoE and ECB expected in the next two hours. Continued geo-political news has entered the markets throughout the morning as the UK faces a major cabinet/gov shake up, reports of North Korean naval activities and the expected Obama speech in Cairo (6:10EST) provide additional color to market trends.

-In individual equities: Eads [EAD.FR], Boeing [BA] WSJ: Co has asked Boeing and Airbus to propose dueling bids for up to 150 new airliners. The deal could be worth more than $10B. || Dexia [DEXB.BE] Exec: Seeks extension of gov guarantees through Oct 2011. States that group has better access to liquidity through gov facilities. || VoestAlpine VOE.AS] Reports FY Net €530M v €610Me, Rev €11.6B v €11.7Be, to introduce cost cuts and overhaul CAPEX. Expects FY2010 to be most difficult operating environment in decades. Do not expect to see signs of stabilization until H2 2010. || Johnson Matthey JMAT.UK: Reports FY09 Net £174.1M v £179Me, Rev £7.85M v £6.92Be. Net debt of £609.1M as of March 31, 2009 v £364.8M y/y. || Rio Tinto [RTP] Australian Treasury: Statutory deadline for decision on Chinalco deal is June 15th, Treasurer Swan has 10 days thereafter to gazette any objections. Note: Earlier in the session, rumors surfaced that Chinalco Chairman was in Australia working on revised version of the Rio Tinto proposal. ||Debenhams [DEB.UK] Provides interim management statement: 12-week LFL sales down 0.8% y/y; to raise £323M in share placement. Approximately 40% firm offer of New Ordinary Shares to Placees, Approximately 60% offer, subject to clawback by existing shareholders, of New Ordinary Shares to Placees, each at the Issue Price. Has agreed to apply £50.0 million of the net proceeds of the Capital Raising to fund a partial pre-payment of the £150.0 million term loan. || Lonmin [LMI.UK] Provides results of rights issue; received acceptances for 96.38% of total number of new shares offered. - Reminder: 2 for 9 rights issue to raise $457M (about 18.2% of enlarged share capital) was announced back on 11 May. || William Morrison [MRW.UK] Reports Q1 SSS +8.2%, Total Sales (ex fuel) +9.2%. The Group has made a good start to the new financial year, continuing to achieve sales growth well ahead of the market, despite facing tough prior year comparative figures. Performance in the first quarter has been in line with our expectations and our financial outlook for the year remains unchanged. || Heritage Oil [HOIL.UK] Shares remain suspended: IPIC named as one of potential bidders for firm -Times. Article notes that IPIC and Perenco rumored as potential buyers of firm. Announced large new oil find in Kurdish region of Iraq in May. Reminder: RNS noted that shares were suspended on the LSE after rising over 10%, firm acknowledged that prelim talks were taking place. || Air Berlin [AB1.GE] To issue 6M new shares in private placement (9% of current shares outstanding). Shares to be sold to institutional and professional investors by means of an accelerated bookbuild offering. ESAS Holding A.S., Air Berlin''s largest shareholder, confirms to purchase an additional 4m new shares at the offer price of the bookbuild offering. Reports May Load factor 77.0% v 80.8% y/y. May passengers carried -7.7% y/y. May RPK +9.3% y/y. || Eni [ENI.IT] Update: Italian regulator to force company to divest part of its control of natural gas storage facilities. Eni, along with holdings in Snam Rete Gas holds a dominate 97% position in the Italian natural gas storage sector. Regulator has noted that such a position raises the possibility of inadequate gas supplies in the country and threatens Italian energy security profile. Italian authorities have been pushing for increased storage capacity to avoid potential energy delivery shocks or disruptions. ||

- Speakers: Polish Central Banker Czekaj commented that it was not good to join ERM-2 this year and added that Euro adoption by 2012 was not likely. He noted that the 2009 Polish budget in present form was unrealistic and stated that a Budget deficit of PLN30B was acceptable ||| French Fin Min Lagarde commented that France's Q1 Unemployment Rate was 8.7% v 8.6%e,. The Q4 revised to 7.6% from 8.2%. She reiterated that 2009 GDP was expected around -3% ||| OECD's Gurria commented that the French stimulus measure is enough to boost both employment and economy ||| Japanese MOF Sugimoto commented that the G8 meeting likely to discuss macro economic issues ||| Latvia Central Bank commented that it has chosen clear policy on LAT currency peg. It would keep its currency peg in place until Euro adoption ||| Turkey PM Erdogan noted that discussions with IMF continue and that Turkey was awaiting for a response from the IMF on its proposal submissions ||| Russian Pres Medvedev commented that Russia has handled the current economic crisis better than the one back in 1998 || Russian Central Bank considering staggered reserve requirements in which it would ncrease demands on non-residents and foreign currency reserves

- In Currencies: The USD was softer during the European morning as dealers took note of a Chinese/Malaysia trade meeting. Chatter circulated that Malaysia and China are considering ending trade denominated in USD. Trade between the two countries reached $39.1B in 2008. Also the USD was trading in a 'cautious' manner during the European morning against majors. There are a slew of interest rate decisions with the ECB, BoE and BoC policy decisions today later today.

- The Russian Central Bank (CBR) signaled further confidence in the stability of the ruble and lowered its refi rate by 50bps to 11.50%. The weaker USD helped most commodities recovery from losses endured on Wednesday and both the CAD and AUD continued to reflect the price action

- The GBP-related pairs continued to exhibit some volatility on the back of political concerns over the fate of Exchequer Darling and perhaps even the PM Brown. GBP/USD tested 1.6211 during Asian on the back of potential political uncertainty but rebounded above the 1.64 level, aided by better Halifax housing data.

- the JPY was softer in the session with dealers citing the better UK housing data helping to increase risk appetite for carry. EUR/JPY was up 150 pips at 137.30 area and GBP/JPY firmer by 200 pips at 158.35.

-In Fixed Income: Government Bonds are painting a mixed picture in Europe this morning ahead of key interest rate decisions. Bund futures are in marginally negative territory in decent volumes, with selling across the curve in Germany, and a flatter yield curve thanks to increased selling in the short end as markets face up to the diminished likelihood of any further easing by the ECB later today. September Gilts are 16 ticks higher at the time of writing with the UK yield curve also flatter for the opposite reasons, thanks to better buying of longer dated issues. Treasuries are being offered across the curve in a case of bear steepening. T Note futures 6 ticks lower at the time of writing and the yield on the 10y Note has pushed higher by almost 4bps to 3.576%

- In Energy: Goldman Sachs raises its 12 month WTI Crude forecast by $20 to $90/bbl

- Credit Crisis: German State premier Oettinger commented that the "Bad Bank" plan for Landesbank should be ready this month ||| China unveiled some details of its stimulus plan for the shipbuilding sector in which it would encourage big shipbuilders to merge and restructure. It noted that it would assist shipbuilders in stock exchange listing and issuing bonds. The Chinese Govt to ask banks to provide credit support to shipbuilders. Chine to strictly control building of new shipyards

*** NOTES ***

- Australia Prints First Trade Deficit in 9 Months

- Russia May GDP indicator -6.8% y/y vs revised -7.7% in Apr

- Russian Central Bank lowers refi rate by 50bps to 11.50%

- RBA Stevens stated that he sees scope to ease monetary policy further, but no need to cut to ZERO.

- WSJ: Malaysia China considering ending trade in USD.

- Chatter of a potential IMF deal with Latvia circulating; Lativia vows to hold its currency peg until Euro adoption

- Key European Central Bank policy meeting. Both the BOE and ECB are expected to keep interest arte steady

- Looking Ahead:

- (RU) Russian May Consumer Prices M/M: % v 0.7%e; Y/Y: % v 12.5%e

- 7:00 (UK) BoE interest Rate Decision: No change expected, current Bank Rate is 0.50%

- 7:45 (EU) ECB Rate Decision: No change expected, current Refi Rate is 1.00%

- 7:50 (US) Fed's Pianalto speaks in Louisville, KY

- 8:25 (US) Fed's Dudley speaks in New York

- 8:30 (CA) Canadian Apr Building Permits M/M: -8.1% expected v 23.5% prior

- 8:30 (US) Q1 Final Nonfarm Productivity: 1.2% expected v 0.8% prior

- 8:30 (US) Q1 Final Unit Labor Costs: 2.9% expected v 3.3% prior

- 8:30 (US) Initial Jobless Claims w/e May 30th: 620k expected v 623k prior, Continuing Claims w/e May 23rd: 6.855M expected v 6788M prior

- 9:00 (CA) Bank of Canada Rate Decision: No change expected, currently 0.25%

- 10:00 (CA) Canadian May Ivey Purchasing Managers Index: 54.0 expected v 53.7 prior

- - 11:00 (US) NY Fed to conduct coupon purchase of Notes maturing between May 2011 - April 2012

- (US) May ICSC Chain Store Sales Y/Y: 0.6% expected v 0.7% prior

** UK Local Government elections and election of UK and Dutch representatives for European Parliament commence**


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