Weekly outlook for 14-18 March

Here is a weekly forecast for the week of Match 14th to 18th presenting the main news items, reports and events scheduled for this week mainly related to the US, Europe, and the US. Mainly there will be publications regarding trade balance and employment updates.

The news besides these reports that could affect the commodities markets is the continuous turmoil in the Middle East (see here for further elaborations) and the recent catastrophe in Japan caused by the tsunami attack over the weekend (see here for more on the subject) .

This forecast shows how prices of major commodities such as crude oil price might be affected from the following reports (all times GMT):

  1. Tuesday 15th of March 18.15PM – Decision on Federal Reverse’s Interest Rate: The current Fed’s basic interest rate is set at 0 to 0.25 percent, and has been for the last two years. In the last meeting the FOMC said it to continue the stimulus plan and complete the purchase of 600$ billion long term Treasury securities by the end of second quarter of 2011. There are those, however, who think this stimulus plan doesn’t work well as banks keep on denying credit to US consumers. In this upcoming FOMC meeting the committee will decide if it wish to raise the current interest rate level, as there are some concerns for possible inflation pressure, and the will check the progress of the QE2 plan;
  2. Wednesday 16th of March 10:00AM– Euro Area core monthly inflation (February): There still ongoing concerns regarding the inflation in Euro zone, due to the low interest rate (basic interest rate is at 1%), and the bailouts granted to Ireland, Greece and perhaps even Portugal in the near future. In January 2011 the annual inflation rate was 2.3%, up from 2.2% in December for Euro Area. There are expectations that in the upcoming CPI report for February 2011 there will a further rise in CPI (for the full previous report);
  3. Wednesday 16th of March 15.30PM – EIA report about Crude oil inventories: The EIA (Energy Information Administration) will issue its weekly report on the changes in consumption, imports, storage and production, of petroleum in the U.S. and gasoline, propane and crude oil prices. Last week’s report showed petroleum stocks keeps falling for the fourth straight week; last week they have declined by 0.4%, a decrease of nearly 6.2 million barrels of crude oil to reach 1,771 million barrels. (see here my previous review on crude oil stocks);
  4. Thursday 17th of March 13.30PM – Department of Labor report – US unemployment claims: For the week ending on Mar 5th, the report showed a rise in initial claims by 26,000, to reach 397,000 claims; the insured unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.0% for the week ending on Feb 26th; finally, the number of insured unemployment was 3.771 million, a drop of 20,000 compare to the previous week;
  5. Thursday 17th of March 13.30PM – Report on US CPI: This monthly report shows the main changes in the core consumer price index. According to the US Bureau of Labor statistics for January 2011, the CPI rose by 0.4%, and over the last 12 months the CPI rose by 1.6%. The main reason for the rise is related to the energy prices which rose by 2.1% during January 2011 (out of which the gasoline prices index increased by 3.8%);
  6. Thursday 17th of March 15.30PM – EIA report about Natural gas storage: The EIA will also issue its weekly report on the changes in natural gas storage, production and consumption. In the recent EIA report natural gas storage reached a total of 1,674 billion cubic feet for all lower 48 states, which is higher by 32 billion cubic feet for the same week in 2010; this is also the lowest level since April 2010. (see here my previous review on last week’s figures );
  7. Friday 18th of March 9.00AM – Euro area balance of payments: This upcoming balance of payments report will regard January 2011 and the Euro (27 countries). The previous report, pertaining December 2010, showed that EU27 had a deficit of 13.3 billion euro, compare with 11.2 billion euros in November (see here the last report);
  8. Friday 18th of March 10.00AM – Euro area trade of balance: a complementary report to the balance of payments is the upcoming balance of trade report also regarding January 2011. In the December 2010 report, the Euro area had an external trade surplus of 0.7 bn euro. For the EU27, however there was a 143.3 bn euro deficit, mainly related to the rise in deficit in energy. This report shows the changes, among other, in demand for energy commodities in Europe, and thus Europe’s role in influencing the energy market in general and crude oil price in particular (see here the last report).




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