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Monday February 15, 2010 - 11:05:59 GMT
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European Market Update: Thin holiday conditions provide reason for pause in markets; IMF and EU Commission cautiously optimistic on Hungary budget targets; EcoFinMin meet later today on Greece

Monday, February 15, 2010 5:54:34 AM

 European Market Update: Thin holiday conditions provide reason for pause in markets; IMF and EU Commission cautiously optimistic on Hungary budget targets; EcoFinMin meet later today on Greece


- (FI) Finland Jan CPI M/M: 0.1% v 0.1%e, Y/Y: -0.2% v -0.2%e
- (HU) Hungary Dec Final Industrial Production M/M: -5.8% v -5.7% prior; Y/Y: -1.4% v -1.4% prior
- (CZ) Czech Jan PPI M/M: 0.5% v 0.5%e; Y/Y: -1.5% v -1.4%e
- (CZ) Czech Dec Export Price Index Y/Y: -3.9% v -3.4% prior; Import Price Index Y/Y: -3.2% v -5.7% prior
- (CZ) Czech Dec Retail Sales Y/Y: -1.9% v -3.0%e v
- (TU) Turkey Nov Unemployment Rate: 13.1% v 13.4%e
- (FI) Finland Dec Current Account: €130M v €150Me
- (SZ) Swiss Jan Producer & Import Prices M/M: 0.3% v 0.2%e; Y/Y: -1.3% v -1.5%e
- (DE) Denmark Jan Wholesale Prices M/M: 1.5% v -0.6% prior; Y/Y: 2.8% v 0.3% prior
- (NO) Norway Jan Trade Balance (NOK): 34.4B v 31.1B prior
- (IT) Italy Dec Total Trade Balance: -€123M v -€912M prior; Trade Balance EU: -€1.4B v -€884M prior
- (PO) Portugal Q4 Labor Costs Y/Y: 2.8% v 4.8% prior

- Equities: European equity bourses shrugged of negative closes in Asian markets and opened bid this morning, thanks to a number of encouraging flows in the premarket. But stocks have steadily ticked lower as the session progressed with uncertainty lingering ahead of this evening's meeting of EU Finance ministers in
Brussels. Man SE ( MAN.GE Q4 Op Profit 126M v 141Me, Rev €3.1B v €3.3Be) and Air Liquid (AI.FR FY09 Net €1.23B v 1.2Be; Rev €12.0B v €12.3Be) are both trading higher after reporting mixed results while Yara International (YAR.NO) is off over 6% in Norway after announcing the acquisition of US listed Terra Industries, in a $4.1B, all-cash deal. BAE Systems (BA.UK) dipped into negative territory after it confirmed that a previously announced decision by the Us DoD to not renew a contract would account for a £592M charge on FY09 results. Although some distance from the highs posted in the early going, European equity indices have managed to hold onto significant gains in admittedly subdued volumes, with the US closed today for Presidents day. As we go to press the CAC and FTSE are leading the way up (both up around 1%) with the DAX (+0.70%) slightly underperforming.

- Speakers: RBA Board Member Corbett commented that a higher AUD could hurt certain export sectors and added that the greatest risk to Australian economy was finite spare capacity *** EU Business Group: EU must commit to resolve Greek crisis, ECB should maintain accommodative monetary policy. It saw Euro-zone recovery as still tentative and forecasts 2010
GDP growth of 1.2%. It noted that a Lower euro currency aided in exports but volatility of euro was difficult for businesses***Turkey Fin Min Oszko commented that Turkey would not draw any additional IMF funds. He stated that Turkey likely met its 2009 budget deficit goal and could meet its 2010 budget deficit target although the country needed fiscal discipline in order to do so. *** EU Commission stated that Hungary's 2010 budget was in line to meet the3.8% GDP target and that it contained 'significant level of reserves'. EU stated that there were significant budgetary risks that called for a 'rigorous' implementation of tight fiscal policies and might call for a rebuilding of its budget reserves.*** IMF Delegation head commented that Hungary's 2010 budget deficit target was achievable and that the country was on road to recovery. The IMF official noted that Hungary might need extra steps to limit 2011 budget deficit to below 3% of GDP. The IMF saw room for gradual and cautious interest rate cuts; but such measures depended on financial market conditions. Lastly it noted that Hungary Gov't debt to GDP ratio might decline to 65% of GDP over the next five years ****** Japan PM Hatoyama commented that there was little cause for optimism despite recent GDP data. He noted that the Unemployment conditions remained "severe". The PM also stated that he did not plan to raise the consumption tax until summer 2013 from the current 5% level***Goldman Sachs Chief Economist O'Neill commented that China might revalue the CNY by 5% "soon" in an effort to slow growth. *** UK Chancellor Darling reiterated his belief that reducing deficit by half over 4 yrs is the right policy; important deficit reductions do not harm wider economy

- Currencies:
Holiday thin trade resulted in limited activity in the European session. Dealers feared that the absence of liquidity might have had the Euro retest and possible breech Friday's lows of 1.3530 but that did not occur as the NY morning approached. Constructive comments for several Eastern European countries seemed to stem any risk aversion flows for the time period. (see above speaker section for IMF and EU comments on Hungary and Turkey). EUR/USD was holding above the 1.36 level for the bulk of the morning. Spot gold reclaimed the $1,100/oz level for the first time since Feb 4th. The European Finance Ministers to meet later today with Greece and other peripherals likely to be a main topic.

- Fixed Income: The much anticipated curve flattening (one of the more popular predictions within the analyst community for 2010) has clearly failed to materialize so far this year , largely thanks to t
Greece induced flight to safety bids into the short end of the German yield curve. With the 2y Schatz yield below 1% for the second straight session, capitulation unwinding of flattener trades has resulted in 2s10s steepening through 221bps for fresh 5 month highs today. Ahead of the EU finance ministers meeting in Brussels, and with press reports hinting that Greece will resist pressure from the ECB and Germany to further reign in spending, and moreover that a majority of Germans want Greece expelled from the Euro, peripheral spreads are wider against the core with Greece again the worst performer, with 10yr spreads adding another 20bps to trade back above +290bps. Meanwhile 5 year CDS spreads on Dubai surged back through 650bps (highest levels since March 2009) with markets still awaiting formal details on credit restructuring

- In the Papers: FT ran a story that
Greece to resist pressure from ECB and Germany for immediate cuts in budget spending. Article noted that the Greek govt said to oppose pressure to add 1-2% in VAT and additional public sector wage cuts. It stated that Greece sought to postpone any further steps until mid-March.

Dubai 5-year credit default swaps rise to highest level since last March above 650bps
- Euro-Zone EcoFinMin meet in
- FT:
Athens to resist push for more austerity.
- IMF and EU Commission cautiously optimistic on Hungary's budget
- Goldman Sachs O'Neill: Beijing may revalue the CNY by 5% "soon" in an effort to slow growth

***Looking Ahead:
- Price action likely to remain limited after Asia's Lunar New Year holiday and holidays in North America on Monday (Both US and Canada)
- 6:30 (CL) Chile Jan Copper Exports: No est v $3.2B prior
- 8:00 (PD) Poland Jan CPI M/M: 0.5%e v 0.0% prior; Y/Y: 3.5%e v 3.5% prior
- 8:00 (PD) Poland Jan Budget Level (PLN): No est v 552.1M prior; YTD: No est v -23.8B
- 11:30 (IS) Israel Jan Consumer Prices M/M: -0.3%e v 0.0% prior; Y/Y: 4.1%e v 3.9% prior
- (BE) Belgium Trade Balance (EUR): No est v 1.9B prior
- (AR) Argentina Feb Consumer Confidence: No est v 45.6 prior



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