Economic calendars flag the events which are likely
to have the biggest impact for certain currency pairs
and financial markets. Here are the economic events
you want to keep your eyes peeled for.
Labour market statistics
Any changes to employment and unemployment rates within a country or key industry can signal changes in an economy’s strength. The job market statistic which is notorious for shaking major currency pairs is the Nonfarm Payroll, published on the first Friday of every month by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Retail sales data
Retail sales figures analyse how consumers spend money and then compare it to previous periods. Consumer spending contributes to the overall GDP of a country. If retail sales increase, it indicates stronger economic growth, whereas it shows the opposite if it falls.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
GDP is an economic indicator that has been used for close to a century to gauge the overall health of a country’s economy. GDP looks at how much a country is spending domestically by calculating the sum of consumption, investment, government spending and net exports. When surprising GDP figures are announced, they can quickly influence the demand for a currency for better or for worse.
Analysts track the inflation of a currency through the consumer price index (CPI) and producer price index (PPI). The CPI tracks the cost of several predefined consumer goods such as food, medical care and energy. As prices for consumer goods increase, it indicates inflation. The PPI looks at raw materials used by manufacturers to produce finished goods for consumers. If raw materials increase in cost, it’s expected, consumer prices will follow.
Central Bank Policy
Interest rates and central bank monetary policy can profoundly affect the value of a currency. Interest rates going up or down can be positive or negative depending on the context. Low-interest rates are typically used to stimulate an economy with better conditions to borrow money and fewer incentives to save money. Reducing interest rates are a not so secret weapon used by central banks to stimulate the economy and are therefore associated with a weak economy.
The trade balance is the difference between imports and exports of a country. When imports are high, it signifies a strong demand for domestic goods. High exports show an interest in goods produced overseas. When the imports and exports are netted off, and exports exceed imports, it shows the country is exporting many products and is therefore competitive on the market. If a country is importing more than it exports, it can be seen as a sign of prosperity but also of a lack of competitiveness on the market.