Weekly Outlook for 19-23 March 2012

The main even from last week that may have affected not only the strength of the U.S dollar but also affected commodities prices mainly gold and silver prices was the FOMC meeting. Bernanke’s speech the following day may have also strengthened the U.S dollar as the U.S. economy is showing good signs of progress mainly in the labor market. This week there are many important events, decisions and publications that may affect forex and commodities markets; many of these reports refer to the U.S housing market which is still struggling. Among the reports and new items are: U.S. housing starts, GB CPI, U.S. new home sales, EU manufacturing PMI, Canada’s retail sales and U.S. unemployment claims. Here is an economic news calendar outlook for the week of March 19th to March 23rd that highlights news items regarding to the U.S., Canada, EU, Japan, Great Britain, Australia and China.   

(All times GMT):

  • Sunday 18th of March 2:30 –Bank of Australia Governor Stevens speaks: The Bank of Australia governor Stevens will give a speech as part of a discussion panel in the Australian Securities Investments Commission;
  • Monday 19th of March 12:30 – Monetary Policy Meeting Australia’s Bank: The minutes of the monetary policy meeting of the reserve bank of Australia shows the main factors that affected the board’s decision to leave the Bank’s basic interest rate unchanged at 4.25%; this rate decision may affect the Australian dollar currency and consequently major commodities prices including crude oil and gold prices;
  • Tuesday 20th of March 09:30 – Great Britain CPI: this report will show the yearly rate of GB’s consumer price index for February 2012; some expect the February inflation will be slightly lower than in recent months; in the recent report regarding January the annual CPI declined from 4.2% to 3.6%; this news may affect the direction of the British pound;
  • Tuesday 20th of March 13:30 – U.S. Housing Starts: the U.S Census Bureau will publish the U.S housing starts report for February 2012; this report was historically correlated with gold price – as housing starts increased, gold prices tended to decrease the following day (even when controlling to the U.S dollar effect); in the previous report, the adjusted annual rate reached 699,000 in January 2012, which was 1.5% above December’s rate of 689,000;
  • Tuesday 20th of March 13:30 – U.S. Building Permits: The previous report edged up by 0.7% (M-o-M) in the adjusted annual rate of building permits and reached 676,000 in January 2012. If this report will continue to show a rise in the building permits rate, it may indicate that the U.S housing market is slowly recovering from its slowdown  (the previous US building permits and housing starts review);
  • Tuesday 20th of March 17:45 – Bernanke Speech: following the FOMC meeting on Tuesday the Chairman of the Federal Reserve will give a speech that may influence on the forex and commodities markets. The speech will be in from of college students. The title of the speech is “The Federal Reserve and the Financial Crisis” Part 1″;

  • Wednesday 21st of March 09:30 – MPC Meeting Minutes: Following last month’s MPC meeting, in which it was announced the rate will remain unchanged at 0.5% and the asset purchase program will remain at £325 billion, the minutes of the meeting might bring some perspective behind this decision regarding the next steps of the MPC;
  • Wednesday 21st of March 15:00 – U.S. Existing Home Sales: This report will refer to the changes in U.S. existing home sales during February 2012; in the recent report regarding January 2012 the number of homes sold increased: the seasonally adjusted annual rate reached 4.57 million home sales – a 4.3% gain (for the recent existing home sales review);
  • Wednesday 21st 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 16th; in the recent report, the U.S petroleum & oil stockpiles decreased by 4.4 million barrels to 1,749.5 million barrels (the recent oil stockpiles review);
  • Wednesday 21st of March 00:50 – Report of Japanese Trade balance: The Japanese trade balance deficit for January 2012 increased by 7.8% compared with December 2011, to reach 612.8 billion YEN (roughly $7.38 billion) deficit (seasonally adjusted figures). This rise is mainly due to the rise in imports by 0.4%, and the drop in exports by 0.4%. Japan is among the leading importing countries of commodities, such as crude oil and gold; its trade balance could provide insight into Japan’s changes in demand goods and services;
  • Wednesday 21st of March 3:30– China flash Manufacturing PMI: this index will cover 800 companies in 20 industries in China; according to the HSBC Manufacturing PMI report regarding January 2012 the Manufacturing PMI edged up to 49.7; this index indicates the changes in China’s manufacturing sectors growth rate; if this upward trend will continue, this may also positively affect commodities prices;


  • Thursday 21st of March 10:00 – Euro Area Manufacturing PMI (February 2012): In the last flash report regarding February 2012, the Euro Zone Manufacturing PMI reached 49.7. This report will provide an indicator to the economic development of the Euro zone’s manufacturing conditions; furthermore this news may affect the Euro/USD exchange rate and consequently major commodities prices;
  • Thursday 21st of March 13:30 –Retails Sales Canada (January 2012): This report examines the development in the retails sales in Canada during January 2012. It may affect the direction of USD/CAD exchange rate. In the previous report regarding December 2011, retails sales slightly decreased by 0.2% to $38.6 billion (see here the full report);
  • Thursday 21st of March 13:30 – U.S. Department of Labor– Jobless Claims Weekly Update: initial claims decreased to 351,000 claims for the week ending on March 10th; the number of insured unemployment fell by 81 thousand to 3,343 thousand during the week of March 3rd; the upcoming weekly update may affect the strength of the US dollar and consequently commodities prices;
  • Thursday 22nd of March 15:30 – EIA U.S. Natural Gas Market Report: this EIA weekly update of the U.S. natural gas market will show the recent changes natural gas production, storage, consumption and price developments for the week ending on March 16th. In the recent report, natural gas storage declined by 80 Bcf to 2,369 billion cubic feet for all lower 48 states (the previous review on the natural gas report);
  • Thursday 22nd of March 17:00 – ECB President Draghi Speaks: Following the recent ECB rate decision in which the rate remained flat at 1% the President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi will give a speech. He may refer to the recent Greek debt crisis and the progress of the EU economy. His speech may affect the Euro to US dollar exchange rate;
  • Thursday 22nd of March 17:45 – Bernanke Speech: The Chairman of the Federal Reserve will give another speech this week. The title of the speech is “The Federal Reserve and the Financial Crisis” Part 2″;
  • Friday 23rd of March 13:00 – Canada’s Core CPI: This report will refer to the core consumer price index changes during February 2012 when controlling the volatile components such as energy, fruit and vegetables. According to the Canadian CPI report for January 2012, the CPI rose by 2.5% during the past 12 month up to January – this is a higher rate than in December; the core CPI excluding food and energy rose by 1.6% from January 2011 to January 2012. This report could affect the strength of Canadian dollar, which is strongly correlated with commodities prices;
  • Friday 23rd of March 15:00 – U.S. New Home Sales: This report will show the changes in new home sales  January 2012; in the recent report (January 2012), the sales of new homes reached an annual rate of 321,000 – a 0.9% decrease compared with the number of new homes sold in December 2011; if the number of home sales will show a decrease in the upcoming report, it may further indicate a slowdown in the U.S real estate market which may also affect strength of the US dollar.

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