Wednesday, March 31, 2010

INTERNATIONAL NEWS WRAP; Euro zone inflation; Eurozone growth outlook; Greece plans to sell a global bond in dollars in late April or early May

The powerful European Central Bank [ E C B ] i...         Euro zone inflation was much higher than expected in March; Inflation in the 16-country area was 1.5 percent year-on-year, the highest since December 2008, after 0.9 percent in February; the 1.5% compares w/expectations of a 1.1% increase.  Reuters 
         Eurozone unemployment inline - The euro zone's 10 percent jobless rate in February was the highest since August 1998 and in line with market expectations.  Reuters
         German jobs #s surprise on upside - The number of people registered as unemployed dropped by 31,000 in March to 3.568 million, defying expectations for an increase by 10,000 (DJ)  
         Eurozone – new S&P report on the region's eco growth outlook; S&P views the overall recovery in member countries as still fragile, which calls into question the single currency zone's growth model, as detailed in the article "The Eurozone's Two Growth Models Collide," 
         ECB lends banks less than forecast; The European Central Bank will lend banks less than economists forecast in its final offer of unlimited funds over six months.  Sixty two banks bid for 17.9 billion euros ($24.1 billion).  Economists forecast that it would lend 60 billion euros – Bloomberg 

         UK confidence - U.K. consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in March; An index of sentiment fell to minus 15 from a four-month high of minus 14 the previous month; Economists had expected a reading of minus 13 – Bloomberg
         UK - U.K. Debt Costs Are 'Flirting' With AAA Limit; Britain's soaring interest bill is forecast to exceed 10 percent of revenue in four years – Bloomberg 
         Greece – the country's Mon debt issue continues to sell off in the secondary market; Greek PDMA Chief Petros Christodoulou told Bloomberg Television that he sees the spread against German Bunds falling to around 200 basis points by the fourth quarter.  Reuters 
         Greece plans to sell a global bond in dollars in late April or early May; Greece needs to raise 11.6 billion euros ($15.6 billion) in bonds before the end of May after April funding was "taken care of," – Bloomberg
         Greece may pay about 13 billion euros ($17.5 billion) more in interest on the debt it sells this year than it would have if yields had stayed at their pre-crisis levels relative to Germany's – Bloomberg 
         Bank taxes - France and Germany are moving toward the introduction of bank taxes aimed at the riskiest activities, Les Echos reported; German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet approved a levy on German banks for a crisis-prevention fund (Bloomberg)
         Latvia - Moody's Investors Service has today raised the outlook on the Latvian government's Baa3 ratings to stable from negative.
         Lithuania  - Moody's raises Lithuania ratings outlook to stable
         China is considering widening the yuan's trading band in Apr, Caijing magazine reported in its latest edition; Yuan forwards rose, trading near the highest level in more than two weeks, on mounting speculation the Chinese gov't may permit appreciation – Bloomberg
         China & yuan - Cheng Siwei, an influential former lawmaker, said on Wednesday, said China should reform its FX regime to allow the yuan to move more widely – Reuters 
         China - The People's Bank of China will work toward meeting its 2010 loan targets and will be flexible in using monetary-policy tools, the central bank said Wednesday following its first-quarter monetary policy committee meeting – DJ

         Korea - Industrial production rose 3.6%m/m sa in February after staying flat in January. In year-on-year base, IP increased 19.1%oya (JPMogan 18.0, consensus 21.8), moderated from 36.9% in January when the favorable base effect was compounded by the timing of lunar holidays. Output gain in Februrary was accompanied by inventory accumulation, but still in line with our view that the real GDP growth would see a modest reacceleration in 1Q10  

         Japan - The PMI manufacturing overall index was basically unchanged again in March, marking 52.4 after 52.5 in the previous two months. While the level is a bit lower than the 4Q average (53.5), the current level of the index suggests that the manufacturing activity remains solid. 

         Japan - Housing starts showed the unexpected weakness in February. After the five consecutive solid rises, unit starts fell a large 7.9%m/m, sa, to the lowest level in three months.  Miwako Nakamura 
         Australia - The last domestic economic releases ahead of the RBA's April Board meeting today offered material surprises that support our central view that the next 25bp rate hike will be delayed until May. The retail numbers shocked on the downside, as did building approvals, though the credit data fell in line with market expectations.     
         Iran - Obama said he is seeking to have sanctions against Iran in place this spring -- and that ideally the United Nations sanctions regime would be in place "within weeks."  CBS 

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