Thursday, May 13, 2010

International News from Across the Atlantic

· Europe: DJ Euro Stoxx dn 0.2%; FTSE +0.1%; Japan +2.2%; China +2.1%; Hong Kong +1.1%; India +0.5%; Australia +1.7%; SP futures dn 4pt.
· European holidays - Much of continental Europe, including Germany, France, Austria, Sweden and Switzerland, celebrates the Ascension Day holiday Thurs, with many people also taking Friday off to engineer a four-day break (per Bloomberg).  Official market closings: Thurs (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Austria, Switzerland); official Fri closures (Denmark).  While not all markets are officially closed, trading/news flow today is on the light side b/c of these holidays. 
· ECB monthly bulletin published this morning. "The latest information has also confirmed that the economic recovery in the euro area continued in the early months of 2010. The Governing Council expects the euro area economy to expand at a moderate pace in 2010, but growth patterns could be uneven in an environment of unusually high uncertainty.  Governing Council expects price stability to be maintained over the medium term.
· ECB bond buys - FT Alphaville says so far the ECB has been buying mostly Greek, Portuguese, and Irish debt.
· Portugal’s PM & the country’s opposition leader agree on tax hikes to help heal budget – DJ  
· Spain austerity measures - JPMorgan's M Bastoni published takeaways (note the budget cuts were announced Wed morning) - All the measure appear reasonably straightforward to implement, and the estimated fiscal benefits can be estimated in advance with some accuracy. The only concern is the 1.2bn (0.1% of GDP) cut that should be achieved at the local government level. Perhaps the most substantive concern will be on the impact on growth, given that the Spanish unemployment rate is already close to 20%.
· Greece's unemployment rate rose to 12.1 percent in February from 11.3 percent in January – Reuters
· Italy – Italian bonds rose after the gov’t sold 5yr and 15yr paper at lower yields than existing debt.  Bloomberg

· UK May Consumer Confidence – Nationwide Building Society’s index of sentiment rose 1pt to 74 but followed a large 9pt drop last month. The forward expectations portion of the index fell 2 pts to 104. Bloomberg
· UK March Trade Deficit – Widened to GBP7.5B vs. St. GBP6.4B.  Bloomberg 
· Japan March Current Accounts Surplus – Widened even more than St. estimating to Y2.534T (vs. St. Y2.17T). Exports rose 45% while imports rose just 22%. Bloomberg
· Australia jobs - The Australian economy added a further 33,700 jobs last month (J.P. Morgan: 7,500, consensus: 22,500), taking total employment gains to date in 2010 to a whopping 110,000; the economy has added 28,000 jobs on average each month this year. The unemployment rate and the workforce participation rate remained steady in April at 5.4% and 65.2%, respectively, following slight upward revisions to the March results.  
· Bolivar – Venezuelan President Chavez said the unregulated currency market may disappear. Bloomberg

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