Germany PMI Manufacturing Index (May 1) The Germany PMI Manufacturing Index is a monthly questionnaire designed to assess variables in the private sector economy, ranging from new orders to stock levels. With the country's reliance on the manufacturing sector, forex traders can use this information as a leading indicator of economic strength.

U.S. ISM Manufacturing Index (May 1) The U.S. Institute of Supply Management Manufacturing Index is a monthly survey of more than 300 manufacturing firms on employment, production, new orders, supplier deliveries and inventories. The financial markets use this information as a leading indicator of overall economic health.

Germany PMI Services Index (May 3) The Germany PMI Services Index, compiled by Markit from a survey of over 500 companies in the services sector, measures the country's service sector. Since developed countries like Germany rely on domestic consumption to fuel GDP growth, this is an important indicator for forex traders to watch.

EMU PMI Services Index (May 3) The EMU PMI Services Index, compiled by Markit from over 2,000 private sector firms across the eurozone, measures some 80% of the Eurozone's private sector services output. Forex traders watch this report as a leading indicator of GDP strength or weakness given developed countries' reliance on domestic consumption to fuel GDP.

U.S. Payroll and Unemployment (May 4) U.S. Payroll and Unemployment data is among the most important release affecting the country's economy given the focus on employment as a key driver of economic growth. Higher employment figures tend to lead to greater consumer spending, and subsequently, higher GDP growth over time.

SEE: The Unemployment Rate: Get Real

Bank of Japan MPB Minutes (May 6) The Bank of Japan's Monetary Policy Board (MPB) minutes consist of notes from the central bank's board meetings with a four to five week lag. Commentary from these notes can be invaluable for forex traders looking for insights into the central bank's future policy actions, or simply economic insights on Japan.

Great Britain Producer Price Index (May 11) Great Britain's Producer Price Index (PPI) measures prices paid by producers for raw material inputs before the products are passed on to consumers, as well as output or factory gate prices that are indicative of retailer margins. Forex traders can use this as a leading indicator of inflation ahead of the consumer price index (CPI).

Italy Consumer Price Index (May 14) The Italy Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the average prices for a fixed basket of goods and services that are commonly purchased by consumers. Forex traders use this information as an indicator of inflation, which can signal the need for higher interest rates and affect currency prices.

EMU Industrial Production (May 14) EMU Industrial Production measures the physical output from factories, mines and utilities from the 16 members of the eurozone. These figures can assist forex traders in determining whether manufacturing activity – a key contributor to GDP and employment – is on the rise or on the fall ahead of other indicators like retail sales.

European GDP Flash (May 15) Gross domestic product (GDP) is the broadest measure of aggregate economic activity from all areas of the economy. The European GDP Flash is a preliminary estimate from the GDP releases of Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, but may also include data from other countries, if it's available.

U.S. CPI and Retail Sales (May 15) The U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a broad measure of inflation calculated via the average prices of a basket of consumer goods. Retail Sales is another important metric that looks at all durable and non-durable goods receipts. Combined, these measures provide a gauge of consumer health in the U.S.

Great Britain Labour Market Report (May 16) The Great Britain Labour Market Report measures a variety of different employment metrics to provide insight into economic health. Statistics in the report include labor force participation rates, ILO employment and claimant count unemployment figures, which can be used to assess economic health.

Japan GDP (May 16) Gross domestic product (GDP) is the broadest measure of aggregate economic activity from all areas of the economy. Japan's GDP will be closely watched by forex traders looking for signs of a recovery following the country's troubled fourth quarter 2011.

U.S. Housing Starts (May 16) U.S. Housing Starts represent the start of construction on a new building primarily used as a residential building. The report is the most followed report on the housing sector, which represents the single largest asset owned by many Americans. A recovery in housing generally means that consumers are feeling more confident.

U.S. FOMC Minutes (May 16) The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is the policy-making arm of the Federal Reserve responsible for short-term interest rate decisions. While interest rates aren't likely to move anytime soon, the committee is also responsible for decisions regarding liquidity programs, such have a significant impact on the economy.

Great Britain Consumer Price Index (May 22) The Great Britain consumer price index measures average prices for a fixed basket of goods and services that are commonly consumed throughout the U.K. The figure is calculated using the HICP method preferred by the European Union and used by the Bank of England as a key gauge of inflation.

SEE: The Consumer Price Index: A Friend To Investors

Japan Merchandise Trade (May 22) Japan's merchandise trade measures the difference between imports and exports for various goods and services. Since Japan's economy relies heavily on exports, this is a very important measure for forex traders to watch, with a trade surplus being favorable for the Japanese yen.

Great Britain GDP (May 24) Great Britain's gross domestic product is the broadest and most highly watched measure of aggregate economic activity spanning its entire economy. Unexpected increases in GDP can lead to favorable currency movements, while unexpected decreases can lead to adverse trends.

Great Britain Retail Sales (May 24) Great Britain's retail sales report measures the total receipts at stores that sell durable and nondurable goods. Since consumer spending is a large part of the country's economy, this is a very important metric that can be indicative of future changes in GDP or other metrics. Higher retail sales are generally seen as a positive indicator.

Japan BOJ MPB Minutes (May 27) The Bank of Japan's Monetary Policy Board (MPB) minutes consist of notes from the central bank's board meetings with a four to five week lag. Commentary from these notes can be invaluable for forex traders looking for insights into the central bank's future policy actions, or simply economic insights on Japan.

EMU Economic Sentiment (May 30) The European Monetary Union's economic sentiment report measures both consumer and business sentiment to gauge the state of the economy. Forex traders tend to use this metric as a leading indicator of economic health and future growth prospects, similar to consumer sentiment and business surveys in the U.S.

Japan Industrial Production (May 30) Japanese industrial production measures the physical output from factories, mines and utilities. These statistics can help financial markets ascertain whether manufacturing is on the rise or falling, which tends to be a leading indicator for the overall economy, since manufacturing precedes retail sales.

Switzerland GDP (May 31) Switzerland's gross domestic product is the broadest and most highly watched measure of aggregate economic activity encompassing every area of its economy. Recently, the country has been struggling with a higher Swiss franc valuation, which has hurt it exports, making this an important indicator to watch moving forward.

EMU HICP Flash (May 31) The European Monetary Union Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) is a measure of inflation calculated by each member of the EMU that is comparable to other countries around the world. The figure is used by the European Central Bank (ECB) to set inflation targets and is therefore very important for forex traders to watch.

SEE: Macroeconomics: Introduction And History



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