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Monday February 25, 2013 - 11:08:24 GMT
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| | Email EU Market Update: Risk appetite holds steady ahead of Italian elections results EU Market Update: Risk appetite holds steady ahead of Italian elections results
Mon, 25 Feb 2013 5:38 AM EST

- Moody's Cuts UK Sovereign Rating to Aa1 from Aaa' GBP hits 2 year low
- Haruhiko Kuroda said to have become leading candidate for replacing BOJ gov Shirakawa; JPY currency at 33-month lows with Nikkei at 4 highs
- China Feb HSBC Manufacturing PMI at 4-month low but holds above the 50 level
- Nicos Anastasiades wins Cyprus presidential election, as expected
- Awaiting Italian election results; polls close at 09:00 ET (14:00 GMT); first exit polls likely soon after
- Italy sells upper end of amount in its 2-year bonds at a higher yield ahead of election results

***Economic Data***
- (FI) Finland Jan PPI M/M; +0.2% v -0.2% prior; Y/Y: 0.7 v 1.5% prior
- (HU) Hungary Dec Retail Trade Y/Y: -2.1% v -3.9%e
- (CZ) Czech Feb Business Confidence: 2.3 v 1.7 prior; Consumer Confidence: -22.3 v -27.8 prior; Composite: -2.6 v -4.2 prior
- (ES) Spain Jan Producer Prices M/M: 1.1% v 0.0% prior; Y/Y: 2.6% v 3.3% prior
- (EU) ECB: 1M borrowed in overnight loan facility vs. 1.0M prior; 166.4B parked in deposit facility vs. 162.2B prior
- (HK) Hong Kong Jan Trade Balance (HKD): -27.5b v -29.0Be; Exports Y/Y: 17.6% v 19.2%e; Imports Y/Y: 23.9% v 25.0%e
- (PL) Poland Jan Retail Sales M/M: -20.6% v -22.4%e; Y/Y: 3.1% v 0.7%e
- (PL) Poland Jan Unemployment Rate: 14.2% v 14.2%e
- (IT) Italy Jan Non-EU Trade Balance: -2.3B v +3.2B prior
- (RO Romania Jan Money Supply Y/Y: 3.2% v 4.6% prior
- (UK) Jan BBA Loans for House Purchase: 32.3K v 34.0Ke

Fixed Income:
- (IT) Italy Debt Agency (Tesoro) sold 2.82B vs. 2.0-3.0B indicated range in Zero Coupon Dec 2014 CTZ; Avg Yield 1.682% v 1.434% prior; Bid-to-cover:1.65 x v 1.45x prior

- (IT) Italy Debt Agency (Tesoro) sold total 1.25B vs. 0.5-1.25B indicated range in 2021 and 2026 BTPi
- Sold 941M in 2.1% I/L Sept 2021 BTPi; Yield 2.79% v 3.33% prior; Bid-to-cover: 1.76x v 2.13x prior
- Sold 309M in 3.1% I/L Sept 2026 BTPi Bond; Avg Yield 3.23% v 3.49% prior; Bid-to-cover: 3.31x v 3.27x prior
- (DE) Germany sold 1.939B in 12-Month BuBills; Avg Yield 0.0353% v 0.1319% prior; Bid-to-cover:2.2 x v 1.8x prior


Indices: FTSE 100 +0.50% at 6,365,
DAX +1.2% at 7,750, CAC-40 +0.70% at 3,730, IBEX-35 +0.80% at 8,245, FTSE MIB +0.80% at 16,371, SMI +0.50% at 7,591, S&P 500 Futures at +0.20% at 1,518

- European equity markets are broadly higher, as UK banks have risen despite Moody's downgrade of the UK's AAA sovereign rating. Additionally, Italy's FTSE MIB has moved higher, amid some hopes that the lower than expected turnout for Italy's elections could be negative for PM candidate Berlusconi. Markets have also gained, amid the strength seen in the EUR/JPY currency pair. Commodity related shares are broadly higher, despite weaker than expected Chinese manufacturing PMI figures.

- UK movers [Thornton's +10% (H1 profits and sales rose y/y),Senior Plc +6% (FY results rose y/y, raised dividend by 22%), Antofagasta +2.5% (broker commentary), Bunzl +1.4% (raised dividend by 7%),Banks are broadly higher, despite Moody's downgrade of the UK's sovereign rating; International Ferro Metals -6% (H1 sales declined y/y), Reckitt Benckiser -4% (FDA denied citizen's petition related to buprenorphine-containing products), Pearson -3% (FY sales below ests, sees flat profits in 2013)]
- France movers [Vivendi +3% (received Brazilian approval to sell GVT); Archos -14% (sales declined y/y due to competition)]
- Germany movers [Wirecard +3% (mobile payment partnership with Vodafone), K+S +3% (broker commentary); Merck KGaA -0.30% (study for cilengitide missed primary endpoint)]
- The Netherlands movers [Postnl +5.5% (Q4 sales above ests), TNT Express +2.5% (new CEO)]

- France Fin Min Moscovic
i commented that 2013 deficit was now seen at 3.7% (3.0% prior) and falling back to 3.0% for 2014
- Poland Fin Min Rostowski stated that combating the economic slowdown was the country's top priority and saw slightly better conditions in 2014. He noted that Poland would err if it set Euro entry date too soon
- EU's Rehn reiterated he saw signs of improving sentiment in financial markets
- Poland Central Bank Gov Belka stated that the domestic economy was pretty stable and that risk in capital flows had been kept under check
- Citi analyst commented that UK sovereign rating cut might push more QE and the cut to reinforce official tolerance for weaker GBP currency to lift exports. Citi believed that other rating agencies would likely to follow Moody's sovereign cut this year. The sovereign rating cut was a major political blow to Cameron and could make it harder for conservative to win in 2015
- German Bundesbank might transfer less than 1B to the government in 2013 (**Note: Prior reports suggested that Bundesbank could make a decision on how much of its profits it will transfer to the government in Feb)
- Greece Central Bank 2013 GDP seen at -4.5%; to return to growth in 2014
- Greece Central Bank Gov Provopoulos stated that the country would gradually emerge from crisis as Confidence was building with deposits returning; Confirmed keeping 2013 GDP forecast of -4.5%, recovery to start in 2014. Non-performing loans +22.5% end of Sept from Dec 2011
- Japan Finance Min Aso: Kuroda nomination is correct choice: Did not directly discuss fx market in meeting with South Korea's President Park
- German Fin Min Schaeuble and French Fin Min Moscovici issued a joint statement following the Cyprus elections. They sought an agreement on Cyprus by end-March. Both expressed confidence that new Cyprus Govt would accelerate reforms to sustainable growth and to fiscal and financial stability
- Singapore Fin Min Tharman presented 2013 Budget Speech in which he expected 2012/13 budget balance of +S$3.9B (equates to 1.1% of GDP) which is a larger surplus than expected. The budget was based upon 2013 GDP growth between 1-3%. Singapore noted that it had to slow down the growth for the foreign workforce

- The European session was relatively quiet as participants awaited the first exit polls from the Italian elections. Press reports noted that turnout for the Italian elections might be lower than expected, which was a positive for the Bersani and Monti backers but nonetheless a close outcome was expected. The polls are due to close at 3 pm (local time) on Monday and the results could come on Monday night or early Tuesday. The EUR/USD was steady around 1.3225.
- Peripheral spreads initially tightened in the session but the price action faded by the NY morning. Both Italian and Spanish 10-year gov't yields were lower by over 5bps before reversing the decline and climbing several basis points.
- USDJPY gapped higher at the start of Asian trading through 94.75 for fresh 33-month highs after reports circulated that Kuroda was now seen as the lead candidate to head the BOJ. However, the pair still could not muster enough momentum to break above the 95 handle and the JPY retraced throughout the session. USD/JPY was around 93.80 ahead of the NY morning.
- The GBP moved off its Asian lows of 1.5072 following the UK sovereign downgrade late Friday by Moody's. March Gilt contract reverses earlier losses, now up 4 ticks at 116.10 after testing 115.41 earlier today.

Political/In the Papers:
- Moody's cut the UK's sovereign rating from Aaa to Aa1. There has been ongoing press debate about whether or not the downgrade has already been priced into Gilts. Additionally, following the move by Moody's, various UK press reports suggested that Chancellor Osborne could be pressured to relax his fiscal consolidation plan. Dealers are now expected to focus on the March 20th budget statement for further clarity on the UK's fiscal outlook
- According to press reports the turnout for the Italian elections may be lower than expected, amid reports that a large turnout could benefit Berlusconi and Grillo. An article in the FT suggested that many are expecting a close outcome. The polls are due to close at 3 pm (local time) on Monday and the results could come on Monday night or early Tuesday.
- BoJ Governor Position: Press reports have suggested that the head of the Asia Development Bank Haruhiko Kuroda is believed to be the frontrunner for the BoJ governor position. An official announcement could come later this week. According to prior reports, Kuroda has been a proponent of aggressive easing measures. Outgoing BoJ Gov Shirakawa is due to step down on March 19th.
- US fiscal debate: In terms of the US sequester, President Obama is still said to be open to negotiations related to the matter, while Republicans have been less flexible (FT). The sequester-related fiscal cuts are due to take effect, starting on March 1.

***Looking Ahead***
***All times listed for economic events are denominated in Eastern Standard Time (Add 5 hours for GMT equivalent)
25-26 FEB (AU) APEC Finance and Central Bank Deputies' meeting
- (PT) Portugal 7th Troika review begins
- (UR) EU-Ukraine Summit in Brussels
- (GR) Bank of Greece Annual Shareholders meeting
- (EG) Egypt begins preparation for Parliamentary Elections
- (IR Iran Nuclear Power talks in Kazakhstan
- (SE) Sweden Central Bank Gov Ingves
- (UK) DMO syndication of 2052 I/L Gilt
- 06:00 (BR) Brazil Feb FGV Construction Costs M/M: 0.9%e v 0.4% prior
- 06:00 (IS) Israel to sell Bills and Bonds
- 06:00 (BE) Belgium Debt Agency cancel Bonds (sold 5-year notes via syndicate last week)
- 06:00 (RO) Romania to sell Bills
- 06:30 (US) Daily Libor Fixings
- 06:30 (BR) Brazil Central Bank Weekly Economists Survey
- 08:30 (US) Jan Chicago Fed National Activity Index: No est v 0.02 prior
- 08:30 (BR) Brazil Jan Tax Collections (BRL): 103.5Be v 103.3B prior
- 09:00 (IT) Italian Elections polls close
- 08:50 (FR) France Debt Agency (AFT) to sell combined 7.5B in 3-month, 6-month and 12-month Bills
- 09:30 (EU) ECB announces prior settlements in SMP program to offset bond purchases
- 09:30 (EU) ECB calls for bids in 7-Day Main Refinancing Tender
- 10:00 (MX) Mexico Q4 Current Account Balance: -$4.2Be v -$3.7B prior
- 10:30 (EU) ECB Member Weidmann (Germany) in Paris
- 10:30 (IS) Israel Central Bank Interest rate Decision; Expected to leave the Base Rate unchanged at 1.75%
- 10:30 (US) Feb Dallas Fed Manufacturing Activity: No est v 5.5 prior
- 10:45 (UK) Chancellor Osborne testifies to Parliamentary banking panel
- 11:00 (US) Fed to purchase $2.75-3.50B in Notes
- 11:30 (US) Treasury to sell $65B in 3-Month and 6-Month Bills
- 12:15 (CA Bank of Canada Gov Carney speaks in London, Ontario
- 13:00 (US) Treasury to sell $35B in 2-Year Notes
- 13:30 (DE) ECB member Asmussen speaks in Berlin
- 14:00 (AR) Argentina Jan Industrial Production M/M: No est v -0.6% prior; Y/Y: No est v -3.4% prior
- 16:15 (AU) RBA's Debelle in Adelaide




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