A guide to the most important regular data releases to keep an eye on.
Which regular data releases should you monitor?
In my 20+ year career in fund management and investment analyst, I've compiled the most important regular data releases and events that UK investors pay close attention to, whether day traders or long-term investors.
US Federal Open Markets Committee Interest Rate Decision
This is when policy makers at the US central bank meet to set the interest rate policy for the US economy. This is a two-day meeting starting on a Tuesday and ending on a Wednesday with the release of the policy decision at 7:00pm UK time. The meeting usually takes place monthly but not every month; there are eight planned for 2021. Low interest rates act as a spur to the economy while higher interest rates are used to slow it down which is why the markets are highly sensitive to this news release. There are three key mechanisms to implement the policy rate: open market operations; where the central bank buys and sells government bonds in the open market, the discount rate; the rate at which banks can borrow from the central bank, and the reserve requirement; the percentage of customer deposits that can’t be lent out again.
US Non-Farm Payrolls
This is the US monthly jobs figures, the farming industry figures are stripped out because of its high seasonality effects, it also excludes government employees and non-profit sectors. The data is released on the first Friday of every month at 1:30pm UK time. There are many components of this data set including how many jobs were created or lost over the prior month, the unemployment rate, the average hourly earnings and any revision to the previous months numbers. These figures give one of the most valuable insights of the health of the world’s largest economy and play a significant role on policy decisions by the US central bank.
Bank of England Interest Rate Decision
Like the US central bank, the Bank of England meets roughly eight times a year to discuss the health of the economy and market conditions. It takes place over a three-day period culminating in an announcement usually at 12:00pm on a Thursday, on the official or base interest rate as well as other policy measures such as the level of quantitative easing that is required. The base rate is the rate of interest charged to commercial banks for overnight loans, this along with QE are some of the tools policy makers use to keep UK inflation rate at or close to 2% per annum which is one of their primary objectives.
European Central Bank Interest Rate Decision
The central for the Eurozone area meets roughly eight times a year with the policy decisions being released via a press release at 12:45pm UK time, followed by a press conference at 1:30pm, usually on a Thursday. A key objective for the Governing Council is to maintain price stability across the region deemed as keeping inflation just under 2% over a year. The key tools it uses are the minimum bid rate (also known as the ECB refi rate); the rate charged to national central banks for one-week loans, the deposit rate; the overnight rate charged to national central banks and the marginal lending rate; the rate that national central banks must charge commercial banks for overnight loans.
Other key data releases and events
Investors also place great importance to the Gross Domestic Product figures from the above regions and more recently the figures out of China are just as important too. These are generally published on a quarterly basis. Monthly CPI and Retail Sales figures from these regions are also eagerly anticipated to traders. Most UK data releases are at 7:00am or 9:30am UK time while most US data releases take place at 1:30pm UK time.
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