My tag line for this blog begins with the word “exploring,” and that’s particularly appropriate this week. Originally, I had planned to post about a specific long-term fundamental indicator, but ended up exploring multiple sources of market information instead. So I’ve decided to provide a brief survey of those on-line sources this week.
It started with last weekend’s post about China, the Yuan, and why I don’t trade it. While thinking about China this weekend, I remembered a story in the Wall Street Journal about how they’ve been burning through their currency reserves lately. Thinking that the general subject of foreign reserves would be an interesting topic, I started looking around for historical data by country. This was pretty easy to find, but as I visited various sites, I found myself exploring more varied topics and indicators.
Weird right? I mean, who ever heard of someone searching for one thing on the web and then going off on some tangent? Never happens.
So anyway, I thought I’d put my surfing to good use. Here’s a partial list of on line sources that you can use to find a wealth of economic and financial information about countries all over the globe. In future posts I’ll provide more detail about what can be found at these sites, and explore how to integrate the various indicators into a streamlined trading plan.
Of course you knew this was coming right? Everyone lists this as a weekly must-have. This report comes out on Friday each week and shows futures positions as of the prior Tuesday. These are positions in the futures market held by U.S. commercial market participants as well as speculators in various futures contracts, including those for foreign currencies. While the commercial positions can be considered fundamental information, the speculative positions fall within the realm of deep technical analysis.
Wait, didn’t I just discuss this one? Well, take a look at the raw report from the CFTC and then at the graphical presentation from Oanda. It’s like night and day. The Oanda reports are beautiful, easy to read, and free for everyone (full disclosure: Oanda is also my broker). The only problem I have with these is figuring out how Oanda derives its numbers from the data on the raw report, so I’ll continue to chew on that and report back.
Yeah, I know. It’s actually called the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, except that no one calls it that. Even they group themselves into a larger organization called the World Bank Group now. Anyway, there’s a lot more on this site than anyone can easily digest, so I’ve concentrated just on the Economy & Growth indicators. To get there, click on the link above, or go to the main site, click on Data in the menu across the top, then on Indicators in the menu below. Scroll down to the Economy & Growth section. For some reason the data only go to 2014, but that’s a global bureaucracy for you. The fun thing is that you can go all the way back to 1981 on these.
Yes, you read that right; the CIA. This has some of the same data as the World Bank, but I was gratified to see that it actually goes up through 2015. Yay! Also, the system of internal links in this site is nice and intuitive. You can very easily change between the view of an individual country to a ranked list of countries by indicator, or to the definition of some indicator. Just choose a country from the main page, scroll down and open up the Economy section, and you’re off and running.
The IMF site has a lot of cool interactive graphical data, but you may find the various pages and features extremely slow to load. From the main page, click on Countries in the top menu and make sure you know the first letter in the country’s name. One thing I like is that each country’s page has a link to its central bank, if one exists.
While you can easily get to all the world’s central banks from the IMF site, the U.S. dollar is still the big dog on the block. The U.S. Federal Reserve is composed of 12 regional banks, all of which can be easily accessed from the link above. Each regional bank has its own site with unique features and goodies guaranteed to engross any Forex trader for hours. So go explore!
Now you’re probably thinking, “Great! more information overload!” But fear not, intrepid trader! I’m all about extracting useful data and boiling it down into useful systems and tools that traders can use every day to improve performance and increase profits. That’s why I continue to build out and improve the CapTraderPro dashboards.
So as I continue this series of posts, I’ll go into more detail on these and other information resources. Until then…keep pipping up!