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Wednesday August 26, 2009 - 10:13:35 GMT
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Forex Blog - European Market Update: IFO data shows German economy is on the mend, but officials remain cautious on sustainability

Today 05:50am EST/09:50am GMT

European Market Update: IFO data shows German economy is on the mend, but officials remain cautious on sustainability



- (TH) Thailand Central Bank leaves its Benchmark Interest Rate at 1.25%; as expected.

- (GE) German July Import Price Index M/M: -0.9 v -0.8%e; Y/Y: -12.6% v -12.5%e

- (SW) Swedish Aug Manufacturing Confidence: -20 v -15e; Consumer Confidence: +3.1 v -0.4e; Economic Tendency Survey: 88.7 v 91.0e

- (SP) Spain Jun Mortgages on Houses Y/Y: -10.8% v -22.6% prior; Mortgages-capital loaned Y/Y: -16.1% v -25.8% prior

- (SW) Swedish July Trade Balance (SEK): 6.4B v 7.9Be

- (NO) Norwegian Jun Unemployment Rate (AKU): 3.0% v 3.2%e

- (GE) German IFO - Business Climate: 90.5 v 89e; Current Assessment: 86.1 v 86.0e; IFO - Expectations: 95.0 v 92.0e

- (SA) South Africa CPI (all items) M/M: 1.1% v 1.0%; Y/Y: 6.7% v 6.6%e


- In equities news overnight: European bourses opened to the downside pairing gains printed in the second half of yesterday's trading session. European markets, which had been broadly negative, rallied sharply on the back of US consumer confidence figures to print new 2009 calendar year highs. Pre-market trading was to the downside following these gains and mixed earnings reports from European firms. Today's earnings included French commercial bank Natixis [KN.FR], utility firm Suez Environment [SEV.FR], the brewer Heineken [HEIA.NV], insurance firm Swiss Life [SLHN.SZ], miner Antofagasta [ANTO.UK], advertising firm WPP [WPP.UK] and energy firms Tullow Oil [TLW.UK] and John Wood Group [WG.UK]. Following their opening lows, equities trended higher following support form earnings names, financials and some discretionary sectors ahead of the German August IFO business climate read at 4:00EST. Speculation that the number would come in ahead of estimates, along with the strong read out of
Belgium on Tuesday pushed equities to their highs right before the release. German August IFO figures did not disappoint, reading ahead of the expectation but cautious commentary, including the statement that businesses saw continuing conditions worse now, than in the year ago period led to a rapid drop off. This down movement, led by the DAX pushed European equities back below the unchanged mark, a level they have maintained since. On the back of earnings and economic data, turnover levels in today's trading have come in broadly ahead of their moving averages with the CAC outperforming on strong trading in shares of Alcatel-Lucent [ALU.FR].

-In individual equities: Natixis [KN.FR] Reports Q2 Net Loss €883M (inc items) v Loss €801Me, announced strategic review. BPCE to guarantee approximately €35B of segregated assets. || Suez Environment [SEV.FR] Reports H1 Net €175M v €145Me, Rev €5.9B v €5.9Be; lowers EBITDA guidance. Sees new 2000 EBITDA at stable y/y vs previous target of low single-digit growth. || Swiss Life [SLHN.SZ] Reports H1 Net CHF172M v CHF139Me; Gross Written Premiums CHF10.4B v CHF10.6Be. Solvency ratio 155%. Seeking to cut operational costs by CHF400M. Swiss sales CHF4.6B -2% y/y. France sales CHF2.5B -7% y/y. Germany sales CHF971M +14% y/y. || Antofagasta [ANTO.UK] Reports H1 Net $236M v $193Me, Rev $1.2B v $1.2Be dividend of 3.4p/shr. Group copper production 218.2k tons v 2336.k y/y. || WPP Group [WPP.UK] Reports H1 Net £108M v £179Me, Rev £4.3B v £4.3Be. || John Wood [WG.UK] Reports H1 Net $107M v $108Me, Rev $2.4B v $2.4Be. || Tullow [TLW.UK] Reports H1 Pretax £34.8M v €34Me, Rev £291M v £289Me. H1 realized oil price bbl $53 v $80.1 y/y. || Heineken [HEIA.NV] Reports H1 Net profit €483M v €446Me, Op profit €993M v €927Me, Rev €7.15B v €6.9Be. H1 consolidated beer volumes -6.6% on like for like basis. || ING [INGA.NV] Reportedly, Co seeks $1.8B for final bids for private banking operations. || Gazprom [GAZP.RU] Reports Q1 Net RUB104B v RUB85Be, Rev RUB931B v RUB912Be. ||

- Speakers: ECB's Gonzalez-Paramo commented that banks must not be overly prudent and lend to the real economy. He noted that the full crisis was not yet over || IFO's Abberger stated one could not conclude that the economic recovery was sustainable at this time. He expected significant rise in jobless rate in latter part of 2009 and into 2010, but did not expect German unemployment to exceed 5M. IFO believes that difficulties easing in all areas of economy. The current levels in EUR exchange rate not posing problems for exporters || IFO's Nerb commented that the ECB should maintain interest rates at a low level and that it was too early for any rate hikes. Nerb also noted that it was too early to discuss exit strategy from government measures. Thus he believes that there should be no ECB interest rate hike until Mid 2010 || Sweden Think Tank NEIR revised its GDP view upward with 2009 GDP seen contracting by 5.0% compared to its prior forecast of a 5.4% contraction made back in June. Its 2010 GDP view now at +1..5% compared with its prior +0.8% June forecast. ||
China's Q3 industrial output to rise by approximately 11.5% - Ministry with 2009 output up in a range of 11 to 12 percent.

- In Currencies: The German IFO data exceeded expectations but cautious comments by IFO members weighed upon the initial euphoria. EUR/USD tested the 1.4350 area immediately after the IFO data but encountered some steady selling. For the most part the USD was maintaining its familiar levels against most pairs. The GBP maintained a heavy tone against the major pairs in continued selling associated with recent dovish BoE policy stance and high level of government and consumer indebtedness. Overall dealers speculating that the
UK recovery will lag the Euro and US regions. noting that GBP/USD dipped below the 1.63 handle while GBP/JPY tested its 100-day mvg avg at 153.33 area.

- In Fixed Income: Corporate debt markets have been subject to a deluge of bank issuance this morning. Deutsche Bank launched its €3B tier 1 offering aimed at the retail market, with €1.25B printed thus far at a yield of 9.50%. Soc Gen has followed Deutsche Bank's lead with a benchmark Tier 1 offering of its own in the works, whilst price talk on Lloyd's 10 Euro denominated offering has been set around 195bps over swaps, and a 3y offering from West LB has been indicated around 130bps over swaps. Government Bonds have struggled for direction this morning in
Europe . Bunds were subject to particular volatility following the IFO surveys for August, initially selling off in response to better than expected headline readings, only to rally in response to dovish comments out of the IFO economists on the topic of interest rates. Gilts have outperformed ahead of another BoE buyback, with the generic front month futures contract reaching its highest level since late May at 120.39 in early trade . Ahead of conventional BTP auctions on Friday, Italy comfortably sold €3B in 2011 zero coupon bonds. Heading into the Treasury's $39B auction, new 5y notes hit a high yield just below 2.50% in the when issued market, and are trading at a concession of roughly 3bps to the existing issue at current levels.

- In Energy:
Iran Opec Min commented that OPEC to discuss expected Q1 output surplus at Sept 9th meeting || China to raise gasoline and diesel prices by CNY500/ton. The price increase may be effective on Thursday and in response to gains in crude oil prices. The National Development and Reform Commission's crude basket has risen in value by close to 11% over the past 22 working days, which is above the 4% that triggers price increases under China's fuel pricing mechanism.

*** NOTES ***

- Economic data continues to improve but official comments on sustainability remains cautious

- Japan Exports to US were worse than expectations

***Looking Ahead*** US durable goods and new home sales.

- (PD) Polish Central Bank Base Rate Announcement: No change expected, current base rate is 3.50%

7:00 (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e Aug 21st: No expectations v 5.60% prior

- 8:30 (
US) Jul Durable Goods Orders: 3.0%e v -2.2% prior; Durables Ex Transportation: 0.9%e v 1.6% prior

- 9:00 (GE) German CPI - North Rhine-West. M/M: No expectations -0.2% prior; Y/Y: No expectations -0.7% prior;

- 10:00 (US) Jul New Home Sales 390Ke v 384K prior; Home Sales M/M: 1.6%e v 11.0% prior

- 10:00 (UK) BoE reverse auction with purchases in 2013 - 2019 maturities

- 10:30 (US) DOE Crude, gasoline and Distillate Inventories

- 11:00 (US) Fed to purchases notes/bonds with 2026 - 2039 coupon pass

- 12:00 (FR) French July Total Jobseekers: No expectations v 2.52M prior; Net Change: No expectations v -18.6k prior

- 12:30 (MX) Mexico to sell MXN1.55B in 3-year notes ans MXN 1.2B in 5-year notes

- 13:00 (US) Treasury's $39B 5-year Note auction

**Notable upcoming events: elections in Japan on Sunday.


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