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What is an Economic Calendar?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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An economic calendar is a calendar with a list of major anticipated economic events like release dates of new securities, and information about economic indicators from the government and private firms interested in tracking such indicators. People involved in financial markets use an economic calendar to keep track of events known to have an impact on the market so they can make decisions about investments and other activities. Such calendars are released by financial magazines and other publications, often on a weekly basis, and people can also develop their own, customized for their needs.

Economic calendars can cover a wide variety of topics. One of the most important is the release of government data about major economic indicators like durable goods orders, manufacturing rates, and unemployment rates. This information is released on a regular schedule and usually causes shifts in the markets. Knowing when to expect it can help investors prepare. Likewise, information about interest rate changes can play a role in economic trends and an economic calendar can help people track projected dates of interest rate announcements.

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Releases of securities, including sales of government securities, may also be of interest to investors. Dates of projected releases can be noted in an economic calendar along with the anticipated time of the release. The market responds very quickly to events and it is important to know not only the date, but the time of projected events; knowing that something will happen at noon Eastern Standard Time, for example, allows people to plan their economic activities around it.

Several websites dedicated to economic topics publish economic calendars and allow people to create custom versions. For a custom calendar, people can select from a list of events they want to follow to ask the website to generate an economic calendar tailored to their needs. The calendar can deliver messages to email and cellphone, providing reminders and updates to keep people abreast of market events.

When reviewing an economic calendar, it is important to take note of the local date and time, especially when someone is looking at a calendar covering activities in the global market. Some calendars come with conversions to allow people to convert times in multiple time zones to the time zone they are currently in. Activity in foreign markets may occur at odd hours and traders should be aware of this while they look at information about projected economic events.

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