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An economic calendar is used by investors to monitor market-moving events, such as economic indicators and monetary policy decisions. Market-moving events, which are typically announced or released in a report, have a high probability of impacting the financial markets.

An economic indicator is a statistic that conveys certain information about economic activity. Economic indicators allow investors to analyses the economic performance of a state, country or region, as well as make forecasts about future performance.

For example, each quarter the United States releases data on gross domestic product (GDP). This economic indicator allows investors to analyses the performance of the US economy over the previous three-month period, and make comparisons against the previous year. How fast the US economy grows can have a significant impact on market behavior.

Economic indicators are usually released by governments, international organizations and private research firms.


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Monetary Policy

Monetary policy refers to the process by which central banks and other monetary authorities control the money supply. Each country and economic region has a monetary authority that seeks to promote stability and economic growth within its jurisdiction. One of the ways a monetary authority might do this is by adjusting (either increasing or decreasing) interest rates.

Central banks and monetary authorities meet several times each year to discuss current market conditions and determine whether or not monetary policy needs to be adjusted to achieve the desired result of stability and growth. These events are outlined in the economic calendar.

For example, the European Central Bank (ECB) meets every month to discuss monetary policy and determine the appropriate interest rate. The ECB’s Governing Council announces the interest rate decision after the meetings. Investors use the announcement to not only hear about ongoing policy developments, but to forecast future ones.

Monetary policy is formulated and released by central banks and monetary authorities only.

Event Frequency

Events listed on the economic calendar are released at different intervals, depending on the nature of the event. Events usually occur weekly, monthly and quarterly (i.e. every three months). The frequency of the event also varies with each country and region.

As a general rule, most events occur monthly. Few events are released quarterly and even fewer are released weekly. Below are some examples.

Weekly Events

  • Initial Jobless Claims (US)
  • Business Outlook (Bank of Canada)
  • M3 Money Supply (European Central Bank)

Monthly Events

  • Unemployment Rate
  • Consumer Price Index(CPI)
  • Building Permits

Quarterly Events

  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
  • Business Outlook (Bank of Canada)
  • M3 Money Supply (European Central Bank)