Evaluating data on economic calendars in the UK

Economic calendar - Trading with David

Economic calendars in the United Kingdom provide information on upcoming economic expectations and events. 

We will review calendar sources from newswire companies, government agencies and free data providers, carefully chosen for our service over several years. 

First, we’ll talk about what makes an excellent economic calendar source before going into the basics of interpreting economic calendars.

What Makes a Good Economic Calendar?

First, you need to find out why you’re looking at an economic calendar in the first place. 

Each trader has a different reason for checking an economic calendar – some may be using it to monitor inflation data releases while others may be analysing it to gauge the release of employment figures in a different country. 

Whatever your reason for looking at economic calendars, you’ll need a good source.

Economic calendars aim to provide a snapshot of what’s going on in an economy and how it affects specific markets or economies. 

It can also help you spot trends both short and long term. The following are key indicators that should include in an economic calendar:

  • The event being announced
  • The release date of the data or actual results
  • Who is providing the data, i.e. government agency or newswire company
  • Where this data is being released from, i.e. which country
  • What time this is being released, i.e. morning/afternoon/evening times for that country
  • What to expect from the data release, i.e. how it can impact a specific market.

Trading Using Economic Calendars

When you first start looking at economic calendars, your primary focus will be learning what they are used for and which source best suits your trading needs. 

Once you can recognise what to look for and how these events can affect markets, the next step is to apply this knowledge in real-time during live markets. 

The newswire companies we use for our calendar feed include Reuters and Bloomberg. 

Both of these providers have their pros and cons when it comes to searching through all their sources, sorting out which ones you need and getting the information into a format suitable for your trading platform. 

It might be time consuming or difficult at first if you’re not familiar with the information these companies offer.

The government agencies we include in our economic calendar feed are The Office of National Statistics (ONS) (UK), US Bureau of Labour Statistics (US) and Australian Bureau of Statistics (Aus). 

Their feeds cover inflation data, employment figures, and business activity. They release their information around the same time every month, making them easy to follow during live trading sessions. 

For example, if your trading strategy were based on the release of employment numbers from Australia, then you’d know when these were coming out each month without searching through newspapers or newswires. 

It’s worth noting that sometimes a country will release its employment figures before the expected release date. You must check for it when looking at any economic calendar feed.

Free Data Providers (FTPs) and Economic Calendars

A few free data providers (FTPs) offer their economic calendars geared towards individual traders or small companies. 

They take information from newswire companies, government agencies and other sources to provide an economic calendar that’s easy to search through. 

The downside to getting your personalised calendar is that there isn’t much backup if it all goes wrong. 

For example, this FTP went down during one of the UK’s inflation announcements in April 2015, leaving many traders without access to these crucial indicators until after the event.  

Evaluating Economic Calendar Services

The vital thing to look for when evaluating economic calendar feeds is the quality of the information. 

It means looking at various factors such as which sources they use, how often these change, and any backup if something goes wrong. 

Some companies offer multiple feeds with different types of information, so it helps to know your trading strategy before you buy an economic calendar feed because it will save you time later. 

For example, someone who only trades the monthly employment numbers won’t need a feed that includes inflation data and daily business activity since they’re not relevant for this type of trader.

Link to Saxo Bank for more information.