1. Investopedia's Forex Outlook For March 2012: Macro Highlights
  2. Investopedia's Forex Outlook For March 2012: Eurozone Headlines
  3. Investopedia's Forex Outlook For March 2012: U.S. Economy News
  4. Investopedia's Forex Outlook For March 2012: Other Economies: Japan, Switzerland and U.K.
  5. Investopedia's Forex Outlook For March 2012: Upcoming Economic Calendar

March 1

  • U.S. ISM PMI – The ISM's Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) measures the supply manager and purchasing professions with a focus on the manufacturing industry. Since this is a leading indicator for overall economic health, it's a very important indicator for the market to watch. Analysts will be watching for a continuation of the positive 30-month trend and a reading above 50 that indicates manufacturing expansion.
  • U.S. Jobless ClaimsJobless claims are a leading economic indicator important for measuring employment that is released every Thursday prior to market open. After solid employment figures last month, analysts will be watching for a continuation of this trend to ensure the U.S. employment picture is still improving.
  • U.S. Personal Incomes – Personal income is a leading indicator used to determine future consumer demand, which is a key component of the U.S. service economy. Analysts will be watching this indicator to see if consumers and spending more, which is a bullish sign for the U.S. service-based economy and specific subsectors.
  • Switzerland GDP – Gross domestic product (GDP) says the most of any indicator about a country's economy and is therefore among the most-watched indicators in the market. Analysts will be watching to see how much Switzerland's GDP has been hit by a higher franc valuation, which has wreaked havoc on its export sector.
  • Germany PMI – The purchasing managers index (PMI) is a leading indicator that uses the supply management and purchasing professions statistics. As a leading manufacturing giant, analysts will closely watch Germany's PMI figures to ensure that the country continues to avoid a recession, despite its neighborhood's weakness.
  • Italy CPI – The consumer price index (CPI) is a measurement of consumer prices that provides a gauge of inflation. Analysts will be watching Italy's CPI figures to ensure that the country's problems with deflation aren't worsening.
  • HICP Flash – The harmonized index of consumer prices (HICP) is a solid indicator of overall inflation in the E.U. Analysts are watching this number to ensure that the region isn't slipping further into a deflationary environment or setting itself up for inflation, particularly as it continues to tweak its monetary policy.
  • E.U. Summit – European leaders will meet in Brussels to discuss the Eurozone's financial crisis. While no decision is expected to be made regarding the expansion of bailout funds, negotiations are ongoing and any announcements could impact the euro. (For more, see The Forex Economic Calendar.)
March 5

  • PMI Services Index Readings – The U.S., E.U. and British PMI services indexes are all leading indicators of economic performance that measure the supply chain's purchasing managers. Analysts will be watching these indicators as a confirmation of a turnaround in the U.S. and Britain, and in Germany, the continuing avoidance of a recession.
March 7

  • Japan GDP – Gross domestic product (GDP) is perhaps the most widely followed economic indicator, as it shows the growth or slowdown of the entire economy. Analysts will be watching Japan's GDP closely after its troubled fourth quarter GDP figures sparked concerns that its economy may be falling back sharply.
March 8

  • Switzerland CPI – The consumer price index (CPI) is the most widely followed gauge of inflation. Analysts will be closely watching the Swiss CPI to determine the extent of the damage being done by the Swiss franc's chronically high valuation.
  • ECB Policy Decision – Interest rates dictate currency movements, which makes policy rate decisions extremely important. While interest rates are expected to remain in-line, the press conference afterwards could present hints of future monetary policy, which could move the euro higher or lower.
  • BOE Policy Decision – The Bank of England's policy rate decision will be closely watched by analysts, particularly after the bank's decision to increase stimulus spending in February. While no actions are expected, the subsequent press conference could provide hints of future policy action.
  • U.S. Jobless Claims - Jobless claims are a leading economic indicator important for measuring employment that is released every Thursday prior to market open. After solid employment figures last month, analysts will be watching for a continuation of this trend to ensure the U.S. employment picture is still improving. (For related reading, see The Fundamentals Of Forex Fundamentals.)
March 9

  • U.S. Payroll and Unemployment – U.S. payroll and unemployment figures are extremely important for the U.S. service-based economy. Analysts will be closely watching this indicator given last month's solid performance – a drop in unemployment from 8.5% in December to 8.3% in January. Any failure to continue this drop could have a very bearish effect on the U.S. economy and the dollar.
  • Britain PPI – The producer price index (PPI) measures producer prices before they are passed along to consumers, which makes it a leading indicator for inflation. Analysts will be watching to make sure that deflation isn't a problem now, while making sure that inflation doesn't become a problem in the future.
  • U.S. International Trade – International trade data measures the trade balance by looking at imports versus exports. Analysts will be watching export data to see if that part of the economy is improving, while a greater trade deficit could send the dollar lower.
March 12

  • Italy GDP – Gross domestic product (GDP) is among the most important indicators of economic health. Analysts will be closely watching Italy's GDP figures to determine if the country is recovering or headed in the opposite direction at a critical time.
  • European Finance Ministers Meeting - Europe's finance ministers are expected to meet in Brussels, while at the same time the Greek debt swap is expected to be completed. The meeting is expected to address the European sovereign debt problems and may involve decisions to expand the ESM or other bailout funds, which could send the euro higher, if it meets or exceeds market expectations. (For related reading, see Economic Factors That Affect The Forex Market.)
March 13

  • FOMC Policy Decision - Interest rates move currencies and the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee Policy Decision is among the most important events to watch in the forex market. While interest rates are expected to remain low, the statement accompanying the rate decision and any new projections could shake up the market as traders weigh the prospects of future policy decisions.
  • Italy CPI - The consumer price index (CPI) is a measurement of consumer prices that provides a gauge of inflation. Analysts will be watching Italy's CPI figures to ensure that the country's problems with deflation aren't worsening.
March 14

  • Britain Labor Report – Payroll and unemployment data is a highly watched indicator of economic improvement, particularly in service-driven economies like Britain's. Analysts will be closely watching this report as a leading indicator to see if the economic situation is improving in Britain, particularly after its stimulus spending.
  • E.U. Industrial Production – Industrial production measures the output of factories, mines and utilities, as a leading indicator of economic performance. Analysts will be watching for higher industrial production in the Eurozone as a sign of economic recovery.
March 15

  • Bank of Japan Minutes – The Bank of Japan's minutes follow monetary policy board meetings with a lag of several weeks. Analysts will be carefully watching this report for hints of future monetary policy action at a time when Japan's economy is struggling with a sharply slower economy.
March 20

  • Britain CPI – The consumer price index (CPI) is a widely followed inflationary indicator. Analysts will be watching Britain's CPI for signs of both deflation and inflation, which could warrant monetary policy actions to fix down the road. (For related reading, see The Consumer Price Index: A Friend To Investors.)
  • Greek Bond Maturation – Greece's 14.4 billion bond matures, which should be affordable with its new multi-billion euro bailout.
March 21

  • Japan Merchandise Trade – Merchandise trade measures the difference between imports and exports, which provides a view of a country's trade deficit. Analysts will be watching this figure closely given the country's troubled economic performance in recent quarters.
March 22

  • European PMI - The purchasing managers index (PMI) is a leading indicator that uses the supply management and purchasing professions statistics. Analysts will be closely watching Europe's PMI figures to determine whether or not its major economies are headed out of a recession.
  • Britain Retail Sales – Retail sales are an important leading indicator of consumer spending. Analysts will be watching Britain's retail sales in order to gauge if consumers are starting to spend more – a trade that may ultimately start the healing process for its economy.
March 28

  • Britain GDP - Gross domestic product (GDP) is among the most important indicators of economic health. Analysts will be closely watching Britain's GDP to determine the effectiveness of its economic stimulus efforts as well as the progress made on its recovery. (For related reading, see High GDP Means Economic Prosperity, Or Does It?)
March 29

  • EC Economic Sentiment – The EC economic sentiment data is a survey that measures both business and consumer sentiment and gauges the mood across the euro countries. Analysts will look for an improvement in this indicator as a very early leading indicator of a turnaround.
  • Japan Industrial Production – Industrial production measures the physical output of factories, mines and utilities. Analysts will be closely watching this indicator as an early sign of recovery for Japan's troubled economy.
March 30

  • Italy CPI - The consumer price index (CPI) is a measurement of consumer prices that provides a gauge of inflation. Analysts will be watching Italy's CPI figures to ensure that the country's problems with deflation aren't worsening.
  • HICP Flash - The harmonized index of consumer prices (HICP) is a solid indicator of overall inflation in the E.U. Analysts are watching this number to ensure that the region isn't slipping further into a deflationary environment or setting itself up for inflation, particularly as it continues to tweak its monetary policy. (For related reading, see How The U.S. Government Formulates Monetary Policy.)

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