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Thursday December 17, 2009 - 11:09:00 GMT
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European Market Update: Weaker UK retail sales data adds to Europe's woes; Dollar benefits from safe-haven flows and year-end liquidity conditions

Thursday, December 17, 2009 5:58:45 AM

 European Market Update: Weaker UK retail sales data adds to Europe's woes; Dollar benefits from safe-haven flows and year-end liquidity conditions


- (PH) Philippines Central bank leaves Overnight borrowing Rate unchanged at 4.00%; as expected
- (FI) Finland Nov PPI M/M: 0.6% v 0.1% prior, Y/Y: -5.6% v -8.4% prior
- (HK) Hong Kong Nov Unemployment Rate: 5.1% v 5.2%e
- (NV) Netherlands Nov Unemployment Rate: 5.3% v 5.3%e
- (SW) Swedish Nov Unemployment Rate: 8.0% v 8.2%e
- (RU) Russian Gold & Forex reserves: $443.7B v $451.2B prior; first decline in 10 weeks
- (IT) Italian Q3 Unemployment Rate : 7.8% v 7.7%e; highest since Q3 2005
- (NO) Norwegian Dec Unemployment Rate: 2.7% v 2.7%e
- (SA) South Africa Nov PPI M/M: 0.8% v 0.2%e; Y/Y: -1.2% v -1.8%e
- (UK) Nov Retail Sales M/M -0.3% v 0.5%e; Y/Y: 3.1% v 3.7%e; first MoM decline in 6 months
- (UK) BoE Quarterly Inflation attitudes survey: 1 year CPI expectations at 2.4% v 2.4%
- (GR) Greek Q3 Unemployment Rate: 9.3% v 8.9% prior
- (SZ) Swiss Dec ZEW Survey: No est v 56.4 prior
- (EU) Oct Construction Output M/M: No est v -1.1% prior, Y/Y: No est v -8.0 % prior
- (BR) Brazil Dec FGV Inflation M/M: -0.1%v 0.0%e

- 5:30 (BR) Brazil COPOM Monetary policy minutes: Decision to hold rates steady consistent with non-inflationary recovery

- Equities: European equity markets opened under selling pressure and have remained offered through the morning session. Equity weakness has been a reflection of USD strength against a broad spectrum of international currencies. USD outperformance began in the NY session on Wednesday on the back of FOMC comments and accelerated through the Asian trading session. Citigroup [C] formalized the pricing of its secondary offering as part of its TARP repayment plan after the NY close at $3.15/share. Aftermarket and
Frankfurt trade in Citi has been to the downside following that pricing and the announcement that the US Treasury would not sell a planned $5B stake at that price (reminder UST bought in at a conversion price of $3.25/share). Speculation the ECB was nearing a final decision requiring further detailed collateral information from European banks furthered financial sector weakness. Disappointing UK NOV retail sales figures at 4:30EST, reading a m/m reduction for the first time in six months spread weakness in the retail sector. Equity traders are looking ahead to earnings in the NY premarket from key names including Rite Aid [RAD], Fedex [FDX] and Discover [DFS]. Trading volumes have hovered around their moving averages.

-In individual equities: Arriva [ARI.UK]: Provides trading statement: Performance in line with expectations; Cost reduction programs in all three divisions. || Rio Tinto [RIO.UK] Announces first iron ore sale to
India equal to 160K tons. || Axa [CS.FR] Axa Asia Financial AXA.AU: NAB agrees to buy Australia and NZ unit for A$4.6B or A$6.43/share in cash (or a combination of A$1.59 in cash and 0.1745 NAB shares) vs the joint bid from Axa SA and AMP of A$6.22/share. || EADS [EAD.FR]: French Defense Minister: Company must cover the bulk of extra costs from delay of A400M planes; Confident Kuwait will order Dassault Aviation's Rafale fighters - La Tribune. || E.On [EOAN.GE]: May reach new natural gas delivery agreement with GazProm by the end of 2009 -Die Welt. || Roche [ROG.SZ]: Taspoglutide meets primary endpoints in Phase III studies with insulin glargine (Lantus(R). || VTB [VTBR.RU]: Reports Q3 Net loss RUB15B v loss RUB8Be; See provision charges as having peaked. ||

- Speakers:
China PBoC's Zhu commented that the USD depreciation process to continue due to rising deficits. He added that it was getting hard for foreign Gov't to purchase US Treasuries. The central banker commented that the global financial markets still yet to stabilize as the recent Dubai and Greek situation suggest. The central banker noted that the majority of global growth in 2009 was from China and the country would overtake Japan as the world's second largest economy in 2010 ***German Chancellor Merkel reiterates views expressed by ECB members that each Euro member was responsible for its own sound finances. She also stressed that Germany must cut deficit to under 3% of gdp by 2013 as per Maastrict Stability pact. The G20 summit did discuss global transaction tax (Tobin tax) and she foresaw tough negotiations before joint G20 exit strategy ** Basel Committee issued proposals on Bank regulation and to introduce leverage ratios. It suggested to raise quality of Tier 1 cap ratios and sought to raise quality, consistency and transparency of capital bases. It would introduce measures to promote capital building in 'good times'. To introduce a global minimum liquidity standard including a 30-day coverage ratio requirement *** UK's OFCOM commented that the UK mobile sector was serving consumers well and saw no need for wider probe. OFCOM did note that Mobile coverage in UK was an area of concern ***

- Currencies: The USD maintained its form tone against the major pairs that began following the FOMC statement in which the Fed painted a slightly more optimistic economic outlook. The dollar gained sharply in
Asia after the alleged 1.4500 option barrier was breeched electing some stop loss selling went through EUR/USD (and triggering a broad adjustment across the G10 currency regime). The safe-haven flows away from peripheral debt weighed upon the Euro currency. Dealers also noted that year end repatriation flows also aiding the dollar sentiment. EUR/USD was testing below 1.4350 ahead of the NY morning.

- The rush to safe havens was also weighing on the EUR/CHF cross but remain above the 1.500 level (which it has held since the SNB intervention back in march). Dealers are noting that recent SNB action to began its slow exit from expansionary policy aiding the CHF a bit, SNB's Roth confirmed that the SNB will act to avoid a fortified appreciation of the CHF,

- The GBP exhibited weakness following its negative MoM retail sales data as the UK recession prompted consumers to spend less at clothing and department stores in the approach to Christmas. GBP/USD slumped over 100 pips in the aftermath to test below 1.61. A stronger dollar weighed upon the energy and metal sectors, which in turned prompted a weaker CAD and AUD sentiment.

- Fixed Income: Government bonds are enjoying a bid this morning in
Europe. Treasuries were firmly bid throughout Asia, rallying in tandem with the USD ignoring the recent theme where the greenback has tracked yields. Risk aversion following Citi's failed pricing, post FOMC buying, year end position squaring and illiquidity were all offered up as examples - ultimately momentum has been maintained in the European session, with yields lower across the curve and US 2s10s oscillating around all time highs at 275bps. Trading in European govts has been characterized by a rotation out of the periphery and into the core, with spreads uniformly wider against Bunds, led again by Greece after yesterday's downgrade at S&P. The Greek 10y hit fresh 7-month highs at Bunds+260bps, a staggering 30bps wider on the session. The benchmark 10y Bund yield is 5bps lower and below 3.15%, while the 2y Schatz is testing 1.15% - despite an upward revision to the MoF's issuance forecast for 2010. Not to be completely outdone, Gilts have enjoyed a bid thanks to underwhelming retail sales data (including the first m/m decline in 6 months). The benchmark 10y shed 1.5bps to yield 3.87% as we go to press.

- Energy: Qatar Oil Min stated that OPEC would discuss compliance issues at Angola Dec OPEC meeting and did not expect any change in the output production ***Sinopec [SNP] forecasted 2009 crude imports at 138M tons or 2.8M bpd

- USD stronger on safe-haven flows led by yesterday's S&P downgrade of Greece's sovereign rating and warned it could be dropped further. Intra-European gov't bond spread widen
- UK Retail Sales MoM fall for the first time since May

***Looking Ahead:
- (RU) Russian Nov Unemployment Rate: 7.8%e v 7.7% prior
- (RU) Russian Retail Sales M/M: 0.7%e v 3.2% prior, Y/Y: -6.0%e v -8.5% prior
- 7:00 (CA) Canadian Nov CPI M/M: 0.3%e v -0.1% prior , Y/Y: 0.8%e v 0.1% prior
- 7:00 (CA) Nov CPI Core M/M: 0.2%e v 0.1% prior, Y/Y; 1.3%e v 1.8% prior
- 7:30 (BR) Brazil Nov Current Account: -$3.465Bv -$2.91B prior
- 8:00 (PD) Poland Nov PPI M/M: 0.1%e v 0.3% prior, Y/Y: 2.4%e v 2.0% prior
- 8:00 (PD) Poland Sold Industrial Output M/M: -5.6%e v 1.09% prior; Y/Y: 6.8%e v -1.2% prior
- 8:30 (CA) Canadian Oct International Securities Transactions: C$6.00Be v C$13.59B prior
- 8:30 (US) Initial Jobless Claims w/e Dec 12th: 465Ke v 474K prior, Continuing Claims: 5.170Me v 5.157M prior
- 9:00 (US) Oct RPX Composite 28 day Y/Y: No est v -10.02% prior, Index: No est v 193.96 prior
- 10:00 (US) Nov Leading Indicators: 0.7%e v 0.3% prior
- 10:00 (US) Dec Philly Fed: 16.0e v 16.7 prior
- 12:00 (TU) Turkish Central Bank Rate Decision: no change expected, current Base Rate is 6.50%


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