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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Gold approaching all-time highs as former Fed's Greenspan talks inflation; Incoming Japanese Fin Min reiterates that strong JPY currency has benefits

Today 05:54am EST/09:54am GMT

European Market Update: Gold approaching all-time highs as former Fed's Greenspan talks inflation; Incoming Japanese Fin Min reiterates that strong JPY currency has benefits



- (TU) Turkish Aug Consumer Confidence: 81.3 v 80.3e

- (SZ) Swiss July Retail Sales Y/Y: 1.0% v 0.7%e

- (SW) Swedish Average Hour Prices (SEK): 1.98Mv 1.88M prior

- (IT) Italian Aug Final CPI (NIC incl tobacco) M/M: 0.3% v 0.4%e; Y/Y: 0.1% v 0.2%e

- (IT) Italian Aug Final CPI - EU Harmonized: 0.2% v 0.3%e; Y/Y: 0.1% v 0.2%e

- (UK) Aug Claimant Count Rate: 5.0% v 5.0%e; Jobless Claims Change: 24.4K v 25.0Ke

- (UK) Average Earnings inc Bonus 3M/Y: 1.7% v 1.9%e; Y/Y: 2.2% v 2.3%e

- (UK) July ILO Unemployment Rate: 7.9% v 8.0%e

- (UK) Jul Manufacturing Unit Wage Cost 3M/Y: 4.3% v 6.4% prior

- (EU) Euro-zone Aug CPI M/M: 0.3% v 0.3%e; Y/Y: -0.2% v -0.2%e; Core Y/Y: 1.3% v 1.2%e

- (SZ) Swiss Sep ZEW Expectations Survey: 59.0 v 18.6 prior

- (IT) Italian Jul Current Account: €3.3B v -€1.1B prior


- In equities news overnight: European bourses opened to the positive and have traded broadly higher throughout the European morning. Equities have continued to trend higher following new low prints in the USD against a swath of European and Asian currencies. In addition to this macro trend, outperformance in equities has been seen specially within retailers, steel/industrial names, construction and technology sectors. Retail names have continued their lightness following yesterday's
US advance retail figures in addition to European retailers Next [NXT.UK] and Inditex [ITX.SP] reporting strong figures. Comments out of ArecllorMittal [MT.NV] as it holds its investor day has rallied steel names on its commentary on Chinese and emerging market demand. Goldman Sachs sector upgrades in European building and technology sectors have pushed those names higher as well through the first 2hrs of trade. Automotive names have continued to see heavy attention as the Frankfurt Auto Show continues. Notable auto commentary came from Fiat [F.IT] that stated it planned to provide an update on Chrysler by the end of November. M&A possibilities, specifically within the basic resource and mining sector has been kept alive by conference comments out of Chinalco, stating that it expected to see an acceleration of deals in the sector.

-In individual equities: AreclorMittal [MT.NV] CEO: See global steel demand growth to return to yearly average of 3-5% post crisis -Investor Day comments. Does not expect US and European steel markets returning to normal levels in 2010. Sees Chinese domestic demand increasing by 15% in 2009, this level will decline in 2010 but still continue to grow. || Inditex [ITX.SP] Reports H1 Net €375M v €350Me, Rev €4.9B v €4.8Be, SSS -2%. || Fiat [F.IT] Chairman: Confirms groups targets, 2010 is not expected to be as difficult at 2009; New Chrysler plan will be presented at by the end of Nov 2009. || Chinalco [ACH] Chairman: Will accelerate pace of international M&A. States that a new wave of action is seen coming in this sector. Have seen a recovery in demand levels to those seen during H1 2008. || Next [NXT.UK] Reports H1 Pretax £185.5M v £180Me, Rev £1.5B v £1.5Be; LFL sales -2.5%. Interim dividend per share 19.0p v 18.0p +5.6% y/y. || Lloyds [LLOY.UK] May be forced by the EU Commission to sell all or part of
Halifax's branch network - London Times. || Tollow Oil [TLW.UK] The company and Anadarko may establish a new oil field located off of the west coast of Africa - FT. || SAP [SAP.GE] Founder Plattner reportedly selling €240M shares over next year. To sell €15M per month through Dec 2010. Plattner Hasso currently has 10.5% stake in firm. || Deutsche Telkom [DTE.GE] Interested in buying Strato Unit of Freenet -Handelsblatt. || Total [FP.FR] Reaffirms FY09 Capex to be within $18B budget, maintains interim dividend at €1.14/shr. Net debt to equity ratio at 25%. ||

- Speakers: Japanese incoming Fin Min Fujii reiterated his view that strong JPY had merit for economy and that there was no need for currency intervention if moves are gradual. **Note: First 'official' comments after Hatoyama was elected as PM. Fujii noted that there were no plans to alter make up of
Japan's foreign reserves, which its total holdings of US Treasuries stood at $711.8B back in June according to US TIC data. || The new Japanese PM Hatoyama commented that the outlook for Japan was still unclear and it must stimulate consumer spending. The PM commented that it would reexamine the previous government's extra budget noting that prior spending had not aided regional economies. The PM stated that it could secure ¥7T in savings. To complete 2010/11 budget by year end East The Asia bloc to be expanded to Asia-Pacific but plan not to alienate the US or the dollar||Polish Central Banker Skrzypek commented that the crisis was entering a new phase. He noted that planned asset sales cannot be the only method on the budget || Polish Central Banker Wasilewska-Trenkner commented in an interview that a slow monetary policy tightening might be necessary as economy recovers. The next central bank GDP forecast to be 'less pessimistic'. High inflation mainly due to fuel prices and noted that the Polish Central Bank did not go too far with monetary easing cycle. || Russia First Deputy PM Shuvalov stated that the economy was slowing beginning to emerge from crisis and now entering a rebuilding period. He saw the economic recovery completed by 2012. New risks to economy are inflation, unemployment and decreasing demand || Russian Finance Ministry's Kudrin commented that it would seek to follow a more conservative budget direction. He noted that State debts would not exceed 16% of GDP levels in 2012 || (IN) Indian Weather Bureau provided update on monsoon season with the June 1-Sep 14 rains running 21% below normal compared to the 23% prior update. || RBA's Broadbent commented that the Chinese recovery was sustainable and should continue. Australia was well placed relative to peers || OECD forecasted the its region could lose 25M jobs from end-2007 through 2010. It saw unemployment rate hitting 10%. OECD's Gurria added that it was not the time to remove the fiscal stimulus

- In Currencies: The USD entered the European morning on shaky ground as former Fed Chair Greenspan commented that US lawmakers could hamper FED's ability to rein in its monetary stimulus and that inflation might "swamp" the bond market. Greenspan also noted that surge in Treasury issuance to hurt the dollar. The mention of inflation sent gold to fresh 18-month highs and feed into the weak dollar sentiment. The EUR/USD moved above the 1.47 level for the first time since last Dec. The recent USD price action suggests that the USD was becoming the new focal carry trade funding currency

- A historic day in
Japan as the change in government likely to result in a fundamental change in economic policies. Japanese incoming Fin Min Fujii commented that a strong JPY had merit for its economy and saw no need for currency intervention as long as the moves were gradual. The market took notice of the new government's official view and the JPY currency firmed across the board against the majors (perhaps again aided by Japanese repatriations for fiscal half-year end). Although Fujii previously made these comments over the last two weeks following this reiteration of his view on this topic but were his first 'official' comments after Hatoyama was elected as PM. USD/JPY probed towards the 90.00 level where option barriers were said to lurk. The EUR/JPY cross tested the mid-132 level while GBP/JPY moved below the 149 handle. Japanese PM Hatoyama commented that he would reexamine previous government's extra budget since spending had not aided regional economies. He also stated that the East Asia bloc would be expanded to Asia-Pacific but the plan did not seek to alienate the US or the dollar

- The GBP maintained a steady tone as its unemployment and claims data came in line with expectations. GBP/USD was entering the NY morning hovering around the 1.65 neighborhood.

- In Fixed Income: Government bonds have put in a strong performance this morning in
Europe, rallying in tandem with equities. Treasuries were buoyed following comments from the incoming Japanese Finance Minister Fuji, who commented that the new government had no plans to diversify its foreign reserves. Japan remains the US second largest creditor with Treasury holdings at $712B as of June, with fresh TIC data for July due out later in the NY morning. The US yield curve is flatter thanks to long end out performance. The yield on the Long Bond's is back below 4.25%, whilst 10y Notes yield 3.41% and the 2y Note is approaching the 0.90% level. Germany sold €4.1B in the second tap of the current on the run Bunds with moderate success, but Germany and UK government bonds have rallied nonetheless, partly dragged up by treasuries but also after the third successive negative reading in Euro zone inflation and on closer inspection, weak UK employment numbers The 2y Gilt yield remains anchored at all time lows below 0.73%, after yesterdays comments from the BoE's King on lowering the deposit rate. Corporate issuance has been light with UBI's €1B in covered bonds, priced at 60bps over swaps, the only offering of note. Austria's 3y USD offering has been indicated at flat to midswaps, or a 43bps risk premium over the 3y Note.

- In commodities: Spot gold hit fresh 18-month highs near the $1,020 level but remained below its all time highs of $1,032.40 made back in March 2008. Today's push higher being attributed to former fed Chairman Greenspan comments and concern about the
US debt limit and the potential that Congress would hamper Fed's effort to fight inflation.

- In the papers: WSJ discussed that the
US the government might take a step to help the Treasury avoid hitting the $12.1T debt ceiling, which is expected to be reached by mid-Oct. The article noted that since late last year, the Treasury had been selling special short-term securities and placing the proceeds in an account at the Fed. The program (Supplementary Financing Program) reached about $560B last in 2008, but has since fallen to about $200B. The Fed used the program to help finance rescues, as it was an alternative to printing money. Article noted that US Treasury Sec Geither has already requested Congress raise the debt limit, but lawmakers have not acted on that request.

*** NOTES ***

- Former FED Chair Greenspan: Concerned that lawmakers will hamper FED's efforts to rein in its monetary stimulus

- Incoming Japanese Fin Min Fujii: strong JPY has merits for Japanese economy; No need for currency intervention if moves are gradual

- PIMCO's Bill Gross raises holdings of govt debt to 44% from 25% prior; cuts mortgage bond holdings

***Looking Ahead: US TIC data….are the BRIC nations altering their US Treasuries?

- (RU) Russian Aug Producer Prices M/M: 1.4%e; Y/Y: -11.7%e

- 7:00 (US) MBA Mortgage Applications: No estimate versus 17.0% prior

- 8:30 (CA) Canadian Jul Manufacturing Sales M/M: 2.5%e v 1.9% prior

- 8:30 (US) Aug CPI M/M: 0.3%e v 0.0% prior, Y/Y: -1.7%e v -2.1% prior, Ex Food & Energy M/M: 0.1%e v 0.1% prior, Y/Y: 1.4%e v 1.5% prior

- 8:30 (US) Q2 Current Account Balance: -$92.0Be v -$101.5B prior

- 9:00 (US) Net Long-term TIC Flows: $60.0Be v $90.7B prior, Total Net TIC Flows: No estimates v -$31.2B prior

- 9:15 (US) Aug Industrial Production: 0.6%e v 0.5% prior, Capacity Utilization: 69.0%e v 68.5% prior

- 10:00 (US) DOE Crude/Gasoline/Distillate Inventories

- 13:00 (US) NAHB Housing Market Index: expected at 19 versus 18 prior


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