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Monday September 21, 2009 - 10:04:11 GMT
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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Equity markets softer as more defensive bias builds; Pending IMF gold sale helps USD recover from multi-month lows

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

European Market Update: Equity markets softer as more defensive bias builds; Pending IMF gold sale helps USD recover from multi-month lows


- (RU) Russian Aug Unemployment Rate: 8.1% v 8.3%e

- (RU) Russian Aug Retail Sales M/M: 1.8% v 1.8% prior, Y/Y: -9.8% v -9.0%e

- (SZ) Swiss M3 Money Supply Y/Y: 7.7% v 7.7% prior

- (SA) South African Jul Retail Sales Y/Y: -3.9% v -5.9%e


- In equities news overnight: European equities opened the week's trading on a mixed note before moving broadly negative. Directional signals from
Asia were mixed and light as both Japanese and Indian markets were closed for public holidays. Trading in China has maintained its volatile nature with the opening of Mettalurgical Corp of China on the Shanghai Composite. The Shanghai Composite traded in a wide band, at one point trading to the downside as much as 3.0% before rallying into the close, final levels printed positive 0.15%. On the back of this sentiment, European stocks quickly moved lower on a return of speculation that equities have over-run their post March 2009 rally. Equity losses were seen in Industrials (ArcelorMittal [MT.NV] cut at BNP Paribas), Basic Resources (China concern, BHP [BHP.AU] commentary) and Financials (speculation of RBS [RBS.UK] secondary, OECD comments). Volume levels have come in lighter than averages with little economic data to drive equity direction. Into the 5:00Est hr, equities have continued their downward momentum.

-In individual equities: RBS.UK: Considering additional share issuance to private investors in efforts to prevent the UK Govt stake from increasing -
London times. Placement estimated at £3-4B and may replace a small segment of the Govt stake (about 11% of market cap). || Allied Irish [ALBK.IR] Ireland expects the firm to require more capital than its own €2B estimate - Sunday Tribune. || VW [VOW.GE] Volkswagen AG is in advanced talks for buying a stake in Suzuki Motor Corp - German press citing Suzuki executive. || ThyssenKrupp [TKA.GE] Spokesperson: Will reduce short time work by approx 33% in September. || Banco Santander [SAN.SP] Announces launch of primary offer of units of BS Brasil. Total amount of the transaction will be between BRL11.55B and BRL13.13B (€4.34 - 4.93B, approximately, at current exchange rates). || Solar World [SWV.GE] CEO: All of groups production sites are operating at 100% of capacity. ||

- Speakers: ECB's Weber reiterated the ECB viewpoint that the economic freefall was over and stabilization period underway. The road towards recovery would be 'bumpy' and added that the German economy would return to the level of prosperity it had in 2008 possibly only in 2013. He saw unemployment rising in 2010 and 2011 period but not breeching the 5M level || ECB's Tumpel-Gugerell commented that the crisis would only gradually calm. She noted that banks regaining health and the return of public confidence were key factors towards resolving the crisis ||German MOF: German Economic recovery has continued in Q3; Net borrowing for 2009 likely to be below the planned €49.1B. Unclear if recovery is sustainable. Aug Total Tax revenue fell 9.9% y/y with the Federal tax revenue declining by 12.5% y/y. Low capacity utilization posed a threat for jobs and consumption || ECB's Tumpel-Gugerell noted that the crisis will only gradually calm and noted that key factors towards resolving the crisis hinged on that banks regaining health and the return of public confidence. || Reportedly China to stop issuing IPO license agreements for 4 months on the back of excess liquidity fears halts financial company's offline IPOs subscription licenses || OECD report showed continue concerns over EU banks impaired asset levels. It noted that some banks might continue to have insufficient capital levels. Financial sector needs strong and transparent stress tests and the EU should seek to avoid and lower levels of protectionism. || Fitch's reaffirmed of
Italy's "AA-" sovereign rating and stable outlook

- In Currencies: USD opened firmer against the major currency pairs with dealers attributing the better tone on the news of the IMF gold sale plan. (IMF announced the sale of 403.3 metric tons of gold on late Friday). However some chatter that
China would discuss the gold purchase at the upcoming G20 later this week caused the dollar to consolidate its gains throughout the European morning. The JPY was weaker as USD buy stops were triggered above last week's highs in the 91.60-65 region and the pair tested above the 92 handle.

- In Fixed Income: Dealers noting that foreign appetite for US Treasuries remains strong. US Treasuring data shows that foreign investors purchased 43.1% of the $1.41 trillion of notes and bonds sold in 2009 compared with 27.1% of the $527B issued at this point in 2008 || With little by way of data and no supply to speak of, it has been a quiet European morning in government bond markets. Volumes are thin with well under 200k contracts traded at the time of writing.
Spain's syndicated 30y has attracted good bidding, with order books said to be in excess of €7B and pricing indicating a roll of around 5bps to the existing issue according to traders. Perhiperal spreads are a touch wider versus Bunds, despite Fitch's reaffirmation of Italy's AA- rating and stable outlook. Corporate issuance has been similarly light with Lloyds mortgage backed bonds and tier 1 perpetual from Seba the only announcements of note. Three month Euribor fixed steady at 0.76%.

- In Energy:
China might increase prices for hydro-electric power in the near future according to the China Securities Journal. The article noted that currently, Chinese hydro-power prices are lower than prices for coal-fired electricity. And that the government might make hydro-power prices equal to prices for coal-fired electricity. Hydro dams made up about 16.5% of China's power output in 2008. || China's Sinopec [SNP stated that current sales of refined oil products were still lower than a year ago levels. Domestic diesel demand has not recovered effectively despite economic recovery

- In commodities:
China reportedly to discuss potential purchases of IMF gold at upcoming G20 meeting . ***Reminder: Back on Apr 23rd China State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) noted that its Gold reserves were at 1,054 metric tons compared to levels of 600 metric tons back in 2003. Back in May PBoC's Hu noted that China had been buying gold in its domestic market over the past 5 years, but had only recently refined this up to a standard enough to count as a reserve and would keep markets informed of further increases. Hu stated that "we will continue to announce our gold reserve." Last November China's PBoC was considering raising its gold reserve by 4K tons

*** NOTES ***

- Foreign appetite for US Treasuries remains strong (see fixed income section)

- China to stop issuing IPO license agreements for 4 months on the back of excess liquidity fears

- OECD: Continue to have concerns over EU banks impaired asset levels

- B of A analyst: equity market now has mixed signals; maintaining a more defensive bias as negative divergences build

***Looking Ahead

- 8:30 (CA) Canadian Jul International Securities Transactions: C$9.5Be C$10.5B prior

- 10:00 (US) Aug Leading Indicators: 0.7%e v 0.6% prior


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