U.S. Economic Calendar Event Update – Mar 13

These are the U.S. economic calendar events for Wednesday, March 13, 2013. All times are EST.

MBA Purchase Index for the week ending on 03/09 are scheduled to be released at 7:00 AM. The prior period for MBA Purchase Index had a result of 14.8%. This event has a low effect on US markets.

Retail Sales for Feb are scheduled to be released at 8:30 AM. Analysts are estimating a result of 0.5%. The prior period for Retail Sales had a result of 0.1%. This event has a major effect on US markets.

Retail Sales ex-auto for Feb are scheduled to be released at 8:30 AM. Analysts are estimating a result of 0.5%. The prior period for Retail Sales ex-auto had a result of 0.2%. This event has a major effect on US markets.

Export Prices ex-ag. for Feb are scheduled to be released at 8:30 AM. The prior period for Export Prices ex-ag. had a result of 0.5%. This event has a low effect on US markets.

Import Prices ex-oil for Feb are scheduled to be released at 8:30 AM. The prior period for Import Prices ex-oil had a result of 0.2%. This event has a low effect on US markets.

Business Inventories for Jan are scheduled to be released at 10:00 AM. Analysts are estimating a result of 0.3%. The prior period for Business Inventories had a result of 0.1%. This event has a low effect on US markets.

Crude Inventories for the week ending on 03/09 are scheduled to be released at 10:30 AM. The prior period for Crude Inventories had a result of 3.833. This event has a low effect on US markets.

Treasury Budget for Feb are scheduled to be released at 2:00 PM. Analysts are estimating a result of $-205B. The prior period for Treasury Budget had a result of $-237.7B. This event has a low effect on US markets.

At the release of important events, US equity markets (INDEXSP:.INX) can make major moves. Be sure to keep an eye on S&P (NYSEARCA:SPY), Nasdaq (NYSEARCA:QQQ) and Dow Jones (NYSEARCA:DIA) at the time of announcements.

Here is some more information about the events discussion in this article.

MBA Purchase Index: Gauges demand for mortgage application in the US . Tracking new home mortgages and refinances, MBA Mortgage Applications Survey serves at a current indicator for the US housing market. Growth in mortgages suggests a healthy housing market. Due to the multiplier effect housing has on the rest of the economy, rising activity suggests increased household income and economic expansion. The headline figure is the weekly percentage change in the MBA Mortgage Applications figure. Among the various indices measured in the survey, the purchase index and refinancing index most accurately reflect where the housing market is headed. The purchasing index measures the change in existing home sales in all mortgage applications, while the refinance index measures the mortgage refinancing activity in all mortgage applications.

Retail Sales: The retail sales report is a measure of the total receipts of retail stores. The changes in retail sales are widely followed as the most timely indicator of broad consumer spending patterns. Retail sales are often viewed ex-autos, as auto sales can move sharply from month-to-month. It is also important to keep an eye on the gas and food components, where changes in sales are often a result of price changes rather than shifting consumer demand. Retail sales can be quite volatile and the advance reports are subject to rather large revisions. Retail sales do not include spending on services, which makes up over half of total consumption. Total personal consumption is not available until the personal income and consumption reports are released, typically two weeks after retail sales.

Retail Sales ex-auto: The Retail Sales ex Autos released by the US Census Bureau is a monthly data that shows all goods sold by retailers based on a sampling of retail stores of different types and sizes except the automobile sector. The retail sales index is often taken as an indicator of consumer confidence. This report is the “advance” report, which can be revised fairly significantly after the final numbers are calculated.

Export Prices ex-ag.: Excluding aggriculture, this tracks price changes of U.S. export goods. The figure is used to determine whether a change in the headline Export figure is representative of an increase of goods sold to foreign nations or just an increase in the price of export goods. United States exports account for approximately a tenth of the nation’s GDP. The headline figure is the percentage change in the index from either the previous month or year.

Import Prices ex-oil: Excluding oil, this tracks changes in the prices paid for goods imported to the United States . The figure is significant in relation to the trade balance, the difference between the total value of exports and the total value of imports. A positive trade balance (surplus) acts as an appreciating weight on the dollar, reflecting demand for dollars in exchange for exports. Conversely, a negative value (deficit) puts downward pressure on the dollar’s value. Given such impacts, traders assess changes in import prices to gain insight on the trade balance. The Import Price Index becomes useful in determining whether a change in import volume has actually sprung from a higher foreign demand or from a real increase in prices for foreign goods. The US is a net importer nation, where imports a significant part of the nation’s GDP. Accordingly, a major price swing in foreign goods can have significant impact on the US inflation.

Business Inventories: The business inventories report includes sales and inventory statistics from all three stages of the manufacturing process (manufacturing, wholesale, and retail). But by the time it is released all three of its sales components and two of its inventory components have already been reported. Because retail inventory is the only new piece of information it contains, the market usually ignores the business inventories report. However, sometimes retail inventories swing enough to change the aggregate inventory profile. This may affect the GDP outlook. When it does, the report can elicit a small market reaction.

The aggregate sales figures are dated and they say little about personal consumption. They are actually a good coincident indicator, but the market is far more interested in forward-looking statistics. The inventory-to-sales (I/S) ratio measures the number of months it would take to deplete existing inventory at current sales rates. A relatively low (high) I/S ratio may mean that manufacturers will have to build up (draw down) inventory levels. Depending on the strength of final demand and the degree to which recent inventory changes have been intended or unintended, this can have an effect on the industrial production outlook. Note that this information is much more useful to market economists than it is to other market participants.

Crude Inventories: Measure of inventories of crude oil stored for future use. The figure relies on the Energy Information Administration’s Monthly Crude Oil Report which surveys companies that store 500 or more barrels of crude oil. Because companies with smaller stores are excluded, the figure systematically underestimates actual crude oil stores. Nonetheless, the report is significant as changes in crude oil inventories provide insight into oil demand and prices. A significant decrease in inventories suggests the supply of oil is possibly strained, which puts upward pressure on oil prices. Any increase in oil prices will act as an inflationary pressure as increased oil prices are fed through the economy. But because any affects of Oil Stocks would take some time to feed through the economy, the report typically does not affect the market. The figure is reported monthly, either in thousands of barrels per month or as a percentage change from the previous month.

Treasury Budget: The monthly Treasury budget data follow strong seasonal patterns which produce huge month-to-month fluctuations in the deficit. These fluctuations tell us little about long term budget trends. To the extent that the market analyses the monthly Treasury data, the focus is on year/year changes in receipts and outlays, since the data are not seasonally adjusted. Only in April, the most important month for tax inflows to the Treasury, does the market pay any attention to this report. The data can be predicted with reasonable accuracy by using daily data in the Daily Treasury Statement.

Alex Fredricks

Alex Fredricks

Alex Fredricks has a degree in business and is an avid day-trader. Alex's experience and love for the game of the markets is shown not only in his posts, but the post he helps edit for other authors on our staff.