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Taoiseach Enda Kenny presents a bowl of shamrock to President Obama, at a White House reception, St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2011.
The Yen: The Group of Seven finance ministers and central bank governors on
Friday intervened in the foreign exchange market for the first time since
In a statement, the G-7 countries said that at the request of the Japanese
authorities, the authorities of the US, the UK, Canada, and the European
Central Bank would join with Japan in concerted intervention in currency
The yen was weaker at ¥81.36 per dollar recently, from as high ¥76.80 earlier in
the Asian day.
Yen falls following G-7 agreement to intervene in currency
markets; Davy economist, Conall Mac Coille, commented - -
"The G-7 has agreed to intervene in foreign exchange markets to lower
the value of the yen. There was an immediate response from markets
with the yen falling in value against the dollar by 3%. With the yen
currently trading just under 81.75 against the dollar, it has
returned to levels similar to those that preceded the earthquake
last week. However, central bank intervention in foreign exchange
markets has had mixed success in the past, and the expectation
remains that there will be significant repatriation flows as
Japanese households and companies sell foreign assets to pay for
reconstruction work. So it is not clear that the intervention will
ultimately be successful in holding down the yen.
The news that the UN Security Council has approved a
resolution supporting a no fly zone in Libya and the possibility of
military action to protect civilians has sent oil prices back to
recent peaks. As the prospect of the resolution being passed became
apparent yesterday , oil prices rose from a low of $109.53 per
barrel yesterday to back above $116 per barrel in early trading this
morning. Higher oil prices are clearly bad news for CPI inflation
and the outlook for policy rates. This morning's release of German
output price data indicated that the annual rate of inflation was
6.4%, in line with expectations, but largely driven by the increase
in oil prices.
On a reasonably quiet day for macroeconomic data releases, the
market may also focus on the outlook for the UK consumer. The
Nationwide measure of consumer confidence released early this
morning indicated that confidence fell to a record low of 38 in
February, down from 47 the previous month. That consumer confidence
in the UK is now worse than during the depths of the financial
crisis reflects a combination of factors hitting real incomes such
as higher tax rates and the current high rate of CPI inflation
combined with the prospect of the coming fiscal adjustment, a weak
housing market and expectations for the Bank of England to raise
interest rates in the near future. Clearly, the outlook for consumer
spending in the UK is pretty bleak, so we do not believe that a rate
rise in May from the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee is
the done deal that the market is currently pricing in."
White House St. Patrick's Day Reception, March 17, 2011
Economic View 1; US data underlines upbeat tone
of the Federal Reserve; Goodbody economist, Juliet Tennent, comments
-- "Attention in Europe yesterday may have been on the successful auction of €4bn in
10 year and 30 year bonds by Spain, but what is probably more relevant is
further evidence from the US that the economy is on the “firmer footing”
described by the Fed in the minutes of its rate setting meeting earlier in the
The Philly Fed Index for March, which measures manufacturing output,
confounded expectations of a fall to increase for the sixth month in a row,
rising to 43.4, its highest level since 1984. In line with global inflationary
trends, February CPI rose to 2.1% yoy, although the core remained subdued at
Weekly jobless numbers were also better than expected. If the recent
run of good economic data out of the US continues the Fed, in line with its
counterparts in the Bank of England and the ECB, is likely to begin
contemplating its exit strategy from the very accommodative monetary policy that
it has exercised for more than two years. While last week’s tragic events in
Japan are likely to delay any change in policy from the ECB, the Bank of England
or the Fed, it is clear that a return to normalisation of monetary policy is not
Economic View 2; UK consumer confidence collapses; Juliet Tennent added -
- "Highlighting the headwinds facing the consumer in the UK and in line with the
GfK survey, February Nationwide Consumer Confidence fell to 38, its lowest level
since 2004 when the survey began. With all segments of the survey falling, the
outlook for the UK consumer is uncertain. Once again the dilemma facing the Bank
of England, who is contemplating interest rate increases in the face of
stubbornly high inflation, is displayed by the weakness in the underlying
Yen intervention by the G7 will work Friday, David Bloom, the Global Head Foreign Exchange Strategy at HSBC said. "The fundamental backdrop for the yen is not bearish," he added:
Poland: CRH (Reduce, Closing Price €15.30); Polish
cement industry set for a good 2-3 year period; Goodbody analyst, Robert Eason,
comments - - "According to the media in Poland cement producers are expecting sales to
increase by 5-8% this year to 16.5m tonnes. This is underpinned by robust
infrastructure spend. The industry has already had a strong start to the year,
with volumes up over 100% yoy in Jan-Feb and +20% on a two year basis. The
longer-term fundamentals of the industry are also strong and the industry could
reach 20m tonnes in the next 2-3 years, which translates into annualised growth
of 9-14%.This is positive for CRH who is the number one building materials
provider in Poland, a country that is one of the company’s biggest exposures in
Europe at over 10% of group profits."
Elan: Update on PML cases; Davy's Jack Gorman
comments -- "In the latest safety update on Tysabri released last night, seven new PML cases were confirmed in February –
bringing the total to 102. There have now been 55 cases in Europe,
42 cases in the US and five in the rest of the world. Twenty-one
(21%) of the patients with PML have died.
Analysis: Overall incidence of PML in patients exposed to Tysabri
has thus risen to 1.23 per 1,000 from 1.16 per 1,000. The presence,
or absence, of the known risk factors can have a material impact on
each individual patient's risk of developing PML. These are prior
immunosuppressant use, duration of treatment and JC-virus status.
Observing the data by treatment epoch, the new cases are in
patients with 13-36 infusions. For 1-12 months, the rate remains at
0.01, indicating little or no PML (note that all data are per 1,000
patients exposed). For 13-24 months, the rate is 0.44 compared to
0.41 previously. For 25-36 months, the incidence rate continues to
be highest at 1.68, up from 1.64. The 37-48 month incidence actually
fell in the month to 1.03 from 1.06.
The data also outline, to 95% statistical confidence levels, what
the estimated upper and lower bounds may reach for each of the
treatment epochs. The longer duration cohorts have hovered close to
2.0 for the last year; the highest remains the cohort with 25-36
infusions at 2.18.
Davy View: After a spike in cases during January (ten), the
number of new reported PML cases has declined – although it remains
ahead of average case levels of four to five per month. Monthly data
should be interpreted with caution as no detail is provided on
whether patients had some or all of the risk factors identified with
The focus for Elan/BIIB continues to be to clarify these risk
factors. The JC-virus assay is critical to this. To this end, it is
encouraging that in 25 natalizumab-treated patients who developed
PML and in whom serum samples were available 6.5-187 months prior to
the onset of PML, all 25 patients had anti-JCV antibodies detected."
Discussing today's bullish signs for the U.S. economic recovery and how the tragedy in Japan will impact global trade, with with Frederick Smith, FedEx chairman/CEO:
Tipperary Candle Company Lands First US Order with New York’s Iconic St.
Patrick’s Cathedral: It may seem that Taoiseach Enda
Kenny has performed a miracle with Enterprise Ireland's help as it wishes to
St Killian’s helps New York Cathedral move to cleaner, safer, more
environmentally friendly smokeless candle system
St. Killian’s Candle Company, a Tipperary-based
provider of religious candles, yesterday debuted its new smokeless candle in the
US on St Patrick’s Day. The first US order for the green-friendly product was
placed by New York’s venerable St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The institution selected St. Killian’s products as a cleaner, safer and more
cost-effective alternative to the older-generation candles currently used by
churches across the US. The order was secured with assistance from Enterprise
Ireland’s New York office.
The order was celebrated after St Patrick’s Day Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Attendees included Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Minister for Trade and Foreign
Affairs, Eamon Gilmore along with executives from St. Killian’s Candle Company
and the Most Rev. Archbishop Dolan of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The mass must have been on Wednesday as the
Taoiseach was in Washington DC on Thursday.
“It is fitting for us to mark our US debut on St. Patrick’s Day with an order
from St. Patrick’s Cathedral,” said St. Killians’ CEO, Michael Barrett.
honored to count St. Patrick’s Cathedral as our first US customer. They have
stringent performance, environmental, aesthetic and safety standards for their
candles. We’re glad that our products meet their requirements.”
In New York Thursday, the
Dow Jones rose 161 points or 1.39% to 11,775.
The S&P 500 rose 1.34% and
the Nasdaq added 0.73%.
MSCI Asia Pacific Index of shares was little changed Friday.
Nikkei 225 rose 2.7%; China's Shanghai Composite added 0.33%; Australia's S&P/ASX
200 Index rose 1.56% and the Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensex index fell 0.92%
closed at 3,005 on Thursday, Dec 31st - - a rise of 289% in 2009. The index
averaged 59% lower in 2009 than a year earlier.
Thursday, July 15, 2010, the index fell for the 35th straight session, by 9
points, or 0.537%, to 1,700 points,
On Friday July16th, the BDI rose 20
points or 1.12% to 1,700 to break the 35-session losing streak.
Thursday this week, the BDI fell 5 points or 0.32% to 1,533.
The Financial Times reported
earlier in January, that Australia’s flooding and fears of ship oversupply has
pushed down a gauge of the cost of hiring ships to carry coal, iron ore and
other dry bulk by nearly half since October to the lowest level since the
aftermath of the financial crisis. The Baltic Dry index, the widely watched
measure of dry bulk charter rates, fell to 1,453, nearly half the 2,784 peak
reached on October 27, 2010.
margin between the US benchmark WTI (West Texas Intermediate) used on the New
York Mercantile Exchange and Brent is almost $13.
said in early February that a surge in oil inventories in Cushing, Oklahoma,
where WTI is delivered into America’s pipeline system, has depressed the value
of the benchmark against other yardsticks. The
International Energy Agency said on Thursday that with “few relief valves” to
cut the stock overhang in Cushing, the price dislocation “may persist for months
[or years] to come”.