Weekly Outlook for 12-16 March

The commodities markets including gold and crude oil market didn’t do much during last week on a weekly scale despite the strengthening of the U.S. during last week over the Greek debt crisis, the strong U.S. non-farm payroll employment numbers and the contraction of EU GDP during Q4 2011. This week there are many important events, decisions and publications that could affect the direction of forex and commodities markets. Among these items are: FOMC meeting and rate decision, U.S. Philly Fed survey Bank of Japan rate decision, U.S. Federal budget balance, German ZEW economic sentiment, U.S. CPI  and U.S. unemployment claims. Here is an economic news calendar outlook for the week of March 12th to March 16th that highlights news items regarding to the U.S., Japan and EU.   

(All times GMT):

  • Monday 12th of March 19:00 –U.S. Federal Budget Balance: this upcoming publication will present the changes in the U.S federal balance for February 2012; this report indicates the government debt growth and thus may affect the U.S dollar. In the last report regarding January the deficit rose by only $27 billion  – the lowest gain in over two years – to a deficit of $349 billion for the fiscal year of 2012;
  • Monday 12th of March tentative – Bank of Japan – Rate Decision and Monetary Policy Statement: Bank of Japan will decide on its interest rate and monetary policy. Up to now, BOJ kept the interest rate unchanged at 0 to 0.1 percent. If the BOJ will introduce monetary stimulus plans, it could affect the Yen and commodities prices because Japan is among the leading countries in importing commodities including oil, and natural gas;


  • Tuesday 13th of March 10:00 –German ZEW economic sentiment: The upcoming publication will refer to the ZEW indicator of economic sentiment for Germany for March 2012. For February 2012 the ZEW indicator for Germany increased to 5.4;
  • Tuesday 13th of March 13:30 –U.S. Retail Sales Report: this report will present the monthly changes in the retail sales and food services for February 2012; in the recent report regarding January, the retail sales, when controlling for the price changes, increased by 0.4% from the previous month; gasoline stations sales also increased by 1.4% in January compared with December 2011, and were also 7.4% above sales in January 2011; this report could signal the development in U.S’s gasoline demand (for my review of the recent retail sales report).
  • Tuesday 13th of March 18:15 – FOMC Meeting (Statement): The FOMC will convene for the second time this year and will decide on the its interest rate and present an economic outlook for the U.S. economy; I think there is little evidence the FOMC will decide on another stimulus plan, especially since the U.S. economy shows signs of recovery (e.g. improving labor market and expanding GDP); the FOMC meeting and the statement that will follow may affect the strength of US dollar and consequently gold and silver prices; if the recent rally of gold and silver prices during last week was stem, in part , due to speculation of another quantitative easing plan, this meeting could pull down precious metals prices (assuming there won’t be such an announcement);


  • Wednesday 14th of March 10:00 – Euro Area Annual Inflation (February): the inflation in Euro Area reached 2.6% in February (flash report), while to core CPI reached 1.5%. If the upcoming inflation rate estimate will continue a drop, it may raise the chances of an additional ECB interest rate cut in the next ECB rate decision;
  • Wednesday 14th of March 14:00 – Bernanke Speech: following the FOMC meeting on Tuesday the Chairman of the Federal Reserve will give a speech might have some influence on the forex and commodities markets. The title of the speech is “Community Banking“;
  • Wednesday 14th of March tentative –IEA monthly oil report: this upcoming report will present an updated (as of February) outlook and analysis for the global crude oil market for 2012 and 2013 (a summary of the previous report);
  • Wednesday 14th of March 15:30 – EIA Crude Oil Stockpiles Report: the EIA (Energy Information Administration) will publish its weekly update on the U.S oil and petroleum stockpiles for the week ending on March 9th; in the previous report, the U.S petroleum & oil stockpiles slightly decreased by 1.4 million barrels to 1,753.995 million barrels (the recent oil stockpiles review);


  • Thursday 14th of March 08:30 – Libor Rate of Swiss National Bank: the Swiss National Bank will make its decision on the Libor rate; this decision may influence not only forex traders but also commodities traders if there will be a change in the currently low Libor rate;
  • Thursday 14th of March 13:30 – U.S. Department of Labor– Jobless Claims Weekly Update: initial claims edged up to 362,000 claims for the week ending on March 3rd; the number of insured unemployment rose by 10,000 to 3,416 thousand during the week of February 25th; the upcoming weekly update might affect the forex and commodities markets;
  • Thursday 14th of March 13:30 – U.S. Producer Price Index: This report will present the progress in the PPI during February 2012, i.e. the inflation rate from producers’ stand point. In the previous report regarding January this index for finished goods edged up by 0.1% compared with December’s rate and rose by 4.1% in the past 12 months; this news might affect the direction of gold and silver prices;
  • Thursday 14th of March 14:00 – U.S. TIC Long Term Purchases: The Treasury International Capital report will show the main changes in the purchases and sales of US long term treasuries in January 2012. In the previous report regarding December 2011, the net foreign purchases of U.S Treasuries longer-term notes reached $17.9 billion;
  • Thursday 14th of March 15:00 – Philly Fed Manufacturing Index: This monthly survey provides an estimate for the progress of the US economy as it measures the manufacturing conditions. In the last February survey, the report showed the growth rate moderately increased from +7.3 in January 2012 to +10.2 in February 2012. This index, may have be among the factors to affect not only the U.S Dollar but also the American stock indexes, oil and gold prices (the recent Philly Fed review);
  • Thursday 15th of March 15:30 – EIA U.S. Natural Gas Market Report: this EIA weekly update of the U.S. natural gas market will present the recent changes natural gas production, storage, consumption and price developments for the week ending on March 9th. In the recent report, natural gas storage  fell by 80 Bcf to 2,433 billion cubic feet for all lower 48 states (the recent review on the natural gas storage);
  • Friday 16th of March 13:30 –U.S Core Consumer Price Index: This monthly report will present the main changes in the core consumer price index during February 2012. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor statistics in January 2012, the core CPI slightly rose by 0.20% (M-o-M) and also increased over the last 12 months by 2.3%.

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