Market Vibrations: News and Commentary from the Europe Desk (0955 GMT)
0955 GMT:UK retail sales beat expectations for the second month in a row as consumers found an appetite for household goods and furniture. Monthly retail sales (excluding auto fuel) grew by 1.2% in January, well above the median forecast which was -0.3%. Retailers sold 1.9% more than this time last year. Bank of England governor King this week referenced cooling inflation as a boost for consumers in the UK. King added that the economy is expected to “gradually” recover its losses this year as global markets attempt to regain steam after the crisis. Elsewhere, German President Wulff is expected to resign today.
0820 GMT: The Greek press is reporting that Greece could introduce legislation forcing bondholders resisting a debt swap to participate in the deal. Meanwhile, the German press reports that the IMF told the EU it wouldn't support a second Greece bailout without a guarantee of debt sustainability. Elsewhere, the Greek culture minister has resigned.
0735 GMT:NZD had a field romp during the Asian session today after the RBNZ said statisical reporting could represent a 10% understatement of the actual GDP. Meanwhile, the BoJ's Shirakawa said Japan's 1% inflation goal is still a long way off, according to the BoJ minutes released overnight. The French PM has been on the wires this morning, saying there is no difference of opinion between himself and Germany's Merkel regarding that the fact that "everything must be done to avoid a detault by Greece." The IMF's Prasad seems to disagree though, saying this morning that he believes Greece will eventually exit the Eurozone. Stay tuned for UK retail sales and Canadian unemployment later in the European session.
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