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Forex Blog - European Market Update: UK Retail sales data surprises on the downside; Market begining to think Japan is adopting a different approach on its currency policy

Thursday, September 17, 2009 5:58:11 AM

 European Market Update: UK Retail sales data surprises on the downside; Market begining to think Japan is adopting a different approach on its currency policy


- (JP) Japanese July Residential Land prices -4.0% y/y, Commercial Land Prices -5.9% y/y (largest declines in 5 years)
- (RU) Russian Gold & Forex Reserves w/e Sep 11th: $4190.9B v $404.9B prior -
- (FI) Finland Aug PPI M/M: 0.7% v -0.4%e; Y/Y: -8.6% v -9.1%e
- (HU) Hungarian Jul Avg Gross Wages Y/Y: 1.4% v 1.9%e
- (SW) Swedish Unemployment Rate: 8.0% v 8.0%e
- (NV) Netherlands Aug Unemployment Rate: 5.0% v 5.0%e
- (HK) Hong Kong Aug Unemployment Rate: 5.4% v 5.5%e
- (UK) Aug Retail Sales M/M: 0.0% v 0.1%e; Y/Y: 21.% v 2.7%e
- (UK) Hong Kong Aug Unemployment Rate: 5.5%e v 5.4% prior
- (UK) BoE"s Quarterly Inflation Attitudes Survey: 1 year CPI expectations at 2.4% v 2.4% prior (May)
- (EU) Euro-zone Jul Trade Balance: €12.6B v €6.4Be; Trade Balance Seasonally Adj: €6.8B v €1.2Be
- (EU) Euro-zone Jul Construction Output M/M: -2.0% v -1.1% prior, Y/Y: -10.8% v -7.8% prior
- (UK) Sep CBI Industrial Trends Total Orders: -48 v -54 prior

- In equities news overnight: European markets opened strongly positive continuing their run-ups from yesterday's session. Positive closes in Asian markets perpetuated this positive sentiment with Chinese authorities reiterating commitment of a loose monetary policy through 2010 and Japanese authorities speaking on stimulation of domestic demand. In the premarket, further commentary out of
UK based retailers John Lewis, Kingfisher [KGF.UK] and French Connection [FCCN.UK] continued retail week announcements. Broadly positive comments carried these names mixed, but slightly higher past the open. Other European market movers included tech names, with SAP [SAP.GE] trading to the downside in sympathy with its main US rival Oracle [ORCL] that reported after the US close. Detailed commentary out of Ireland regarding the size (€40B) of its Nama bad bank fund, along with its speculated valuation of loans sharply rallied Irish banks Allied Irish [ALBK.IR] and Bank of Ireland [BKIR.IR]. In sector performance, industrials outperformed on the EuroStoxx 50 following a sector and specific upgrade out of BNP Parribas. Following industrials, financials and energy names led the upward trend. Dissapointing Aug retail sales out of the UK at 4:30EST served as the catalyst for trading range lows. European bourses have remained broadly positive and trending higher into 5:30EST.

-In individual equities: (UK) Private retailer John Lewis: FY09 Pretax £86M v £107M y/y, Rev £3.1B v £2.94B y/y. || Allied Irish Bank [ALBK.IR] Reportedly set to raise approx €2B in new capital following losses on loans sold to Irish Nama fund. Analysts see
Irelands major banks being relatively under-capitalized following the sale of €40B in loans to the Irish gov. Final write-down price that Nama offers will determine the level of capital Irish lenders will need to raise. Current expectations are for a sale at a discount of approx 30% to represent true fair value. || Kingfisher [KGF.UK] Reports H1 Pretax £288M v £287Me, Rev £5.5B v £5.5Be, LFL Sales -2.1% y/y, maintains interim dividend at 1.925p/shr. || Bayer [BAY.GE] Cropscience had a modest start to Q3; Current unit EBITDA ex-item target of 25% seen as ambitious target. Q3 to be negatively affected by weather and lower selling prices. || Balfour Beatty [BBY.UK] Statement re press speculation; Confirms that it is in advanced discussions regarding a significant and complementary acquisition. If the acquisition proceeds, it is expected that it would be substantially funded by a rights issue. || Vodafone [VOD.UK] CEO: To announce new cost reduction plans in November - Goldman Sachs conf. Board will re-look at JV situation with Verizon. || VOW [VOW.GE] May restructure truck unit; Under the plan, the company may eventually partner with Man AG - FT. Overhaulling of units could lead to combination of all truck making labels. VW is Man's largest shareholder with a 29.9% stake. ||

- Speakers: Chinese Central Banker reiterated that
China would maintain its current policy of moderately loose monetary policy; to continue into 2010
||BOJ's Shirakawa commented that a Yen appreciation might support economy the Japanese economy in the long run but added that the BOJ was watching impact of price moves at this time. He stated that a Yen rise would lower prices in the short term but that currency rates should be set by the market in a stable manner. On the Japanese economy, Shirakawa remained cautious on the overall economic outlook but noted that the downside risks to domestic economy were lessening. He did express that he was not confident about private demand once the stimulus effect faded || BoJ's Yamaguchi stated that he expected the domestic recovery in
Japan to continue but its momentum was not that strong. He did note that the global economy had shown signs of bottoming out since last spring and noted that the global recovery momentum would continue for a while. On the side of caution he added that Western countries financial system remained vulnerable and that credit costs for Japanese banks could keep rising. Need to check corporate support steps were not hindering recovery in functionality of markets. Lastly he stated that price declines likely to continue for some time || German Fin Min Steinbrueck warned against euphoria on the German economy outlook. He reiterated the view that there was no credit crunch in Germany although credit conditions could worsen for certain companies. He saw no short term risks of inflation. He stated that there would be No VAT tax hike after election but could discuss raising reduced VAT rates || German Export Assoc reiterated its concern of possible credit crunch in 2010. Back on July 15th the BGA Group warned of increased credit risk in Germany with the credit crunch likely to worsen dramatically in 2010 ||
|| Russia Economic Advisor Dvorkovich stated that Russia would continues measures into 2010 to prevent a second wave to crisis || German VDA: Expects 2009 global car demand to decline by 10% to 15%

- In Currencies: The dollar once again entered the European morning on shaky ground as fresh 2009 lows were made in Euro and Swiss related pairs. The technical picture seemed conducive for further dollar losses while spot gold continues to hit fresh 18-month highs above $1,024 level. EUR/USD tested 1.4767 while USD/CHF dipped below 1.03 handle.
- Market participants again took notice that perhaps
Japan was adopting a different approach on its currency policy. BOJ's Shirakawa stated that yen appreciation might support the Japanese economy in the long run. This comment coming a day after the incoming Fin Min Fujii reiterated his view that strong JPY had merits for economy and noted that there was no need for currency intervention if moves were gradual. The USD/JPY continues to hold above the 90.00 figure where option barriers are said to lurk but the BOJ's comments sent the pair back into the mid 90 area after entering the European session at 91.20
- Dealers taking note of possible currency implications should Vodafone offload its Verizon carrier service pact. One dealer noted that it could result in 'massive' USD selling. The chater centers around Vodafone CEO comments on Sept 16th that the Board will re-look at it JV situation with Verizon. The GBP traded up to the 1.6560 area ahead of the
UK retail sales data before slumping to test 1.6500 on the lower-than-expected data.
- As the NY morning approaches dealers ponder if any shift in U.S. interest rate expectations could also be dollar supportive recalling that Medley report from Wednesday that two Fed members have been discussing the removal of accommodation sooner rather than later and noted that these members moving from neutral to tilting hawkish in bias. One dealer did point out that thinking interest rates would stay low "forever" might provoke a rates expectation adjustment in the future

- In Fixed Income: With equities bid yet again and markets facing up to a raft of supply, Government bonds have unsurprisingly exhibited a softer tone this morning in Europe.
Spain sold €2.5B in 10s, France sold almost €8B in 2 to 5y paper and the UK sold £5.25B in off the run 5y Gilts. Results were generally moderate, although the offering were sizeable, particularly in the case of France and Germany. Peripheral debt, in particular Ireland, has benefited from yesterday's bad bank announcement from the Emerald Isle. In contrast, Treasuries continue to be bought, particularly in the Long end. Long Bond futures have attracted some decent bidding in thin volumes, up 9 ticks at the time of writing. Some major Us corporate names announced plans to tap European debt markets with offering on the way from Bank of America (12y GBP) and GE Capital (11y in EUR). German potash name SDF launched a €750M 5y offering.

- In Energy: Russian Fin Min Kudrin commented that the current price of oil was overvalued and could see a correction in 3 to 6 month period as the US FED begins to withdraw liquidity ||

- In commodities: Spot gold continues to probe fresh 18-month highes. Tested $1,024

- In the papers: WSJ reports that the Obama Administration to cancel Bush plan to build missile-defense system in
Poland and the Czech Republic. he US will base its decision on a determination that Iran's long-range missile program has not progressed a rapidly as previously estimated. || FT reported that the Fed was reviewing banks' exposure to commercial real estate. The central bank would look into a cross-section of banks in order to determine how resilient the firms were to the commercial real estate market. The article pointed out that the Fed was not characterizing the exercise as a "stress test"

*** NOTES ***
- BoJ kept overnight interest rates steady at 0.10% but upgraded its view on the economy
- BOJ's Shirakawa commented that a Yen appreciation might support economy the Japanese economy in the long run
- UK Retail sales data surprises on the downside
- USD The technical picture seemed conducive for further losses; Gold continues to probe towards all-time highs at $1,032.40/oz
- Russia Fin Min: Oil could correct within the next six months on Fed action

***Looking Ahead
- (RU) Russian Aug Unemployment Rate: 8.3%e v 8.3% prior
- (RU) Russian Aug Retail Sales M/M: No estimates v 1.9% prior, Y/Y: -9.0%e v -8.2% prior
- 7:00 (CA) Canadian Aug CPI M/M: 0.1%e v -0.3% prior, Y/Y: -0.7%e v -0.9% prior, Core M/M:0.1%e v 0.0% prior, Y/Y: 1.6%e v 1.8% prior
- 8:00 (PD) Polish Aug Producer Prices M/M: -0.7%e v -1.3% prior, Y/Y: 2.8%e v 3.0% prior
- 8:00 (SZ) Swiss National Bank (SNB) Interest Rate Decision: No change expected, current SNB 3-Month Libor Target Rate is 0.25%
- 8:30 (CA) Canadian Aug Leading Indicators M/M: 0.5%e v 0.4% prior
- 8:30 (US) Aug Housing Starts: 598Ke v 581K prior, Building Permits: 583Ke v 564K prior
- 8:30 (US) Initial Jobless Claims w/e Sep 12: 555Ke v 550K prior, Continuing Claims w/e Sep 5th: 6.1Me v 6.088M prior
- 10:00 (US) Sep Philadelphia Fed: 8.0e v 4.2 prior
- 10:00 (US) Treasury's Geithner speaking on mortgage fraud in Washington
- 10:30 (US) Natural Gas Inventories
- 11:00 (US) Treasury's 2/5/7y Note announcement
- 12:00 (TU) Turkish Rate Decision: 50bps cut to 7.25% expected ( current base Rate is 7.75%)
- 14:00 (CO) Coombia to sell bonds
- 15:00 (BR) Brazil to sell Fixed and Floating rate notes


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