How to cut through the noise of the economic calendar - DailyFX Tips & Picks

TRADING the markets involves having an understanding of both technicals and fundamentals. But with a sometimes ambiguous relationship between macro fundamentals and FX prices, it will usually take time before traders figure out how to incorporate both into their trading.

The situation is made more difficult because so many different macro fundamental reports are published each day. The trick is to simplify the view you take of macro fundamentals, and to focus on what central banks are also focusing on. This will often be explicitly noted in their monthly statements and minutes.

For a currency trader, for example, it would be useful to know what a central bank is using as a guide to its short-term interest rate decisions. The reason is because the divergence in interest rates and/or amounts of quantitative easing between different central banks tends to drive FX prices. If a central bank is expected to raise interest rates more or earlier than other central banks, its corresponding currency tends to gain. The opposite is also true.

What do central banks usually focus on? Most would like to keep inflation growing at or near 2 per cent per year, hence inflation is something to keep an eye on. Another variable is the unemployment rate, as many central banks have the goal of ensuring it reaches its long-term neutral level. This level is also called the NAIRU, or the Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate Of Unemployment.

For more about this and leading indicators of the unemployment rate, see http://bit.ly/CityAM31

Alejandro Zambrano is a currency strategy analyst at DailyFX.com.