By Bryan McCormick
The economic calendar is rather short today, featuring the weekly mortgage and oil-supply numbers. The new items on the docket are import-export data and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony before the House Committee on Financial Services at 10 a.m. ET and tomorrow before the Senate as part of the semi-annual report on monetary policy.
At 7 a.m. ET the MBA Purchase Applications data will be released. I look only at the purchases component of the mortgage report as this indicates fresh economic activity. There is no forecast for this report, but last week's purchases came in at 188.9.
A number higher than 188.9 by 5 percent or more would be bullish. If purchases come in lower than 188.9 by 5 percent or more, it would be bearish.
Import and Export Prices come out at 8:30 a.m. ET. Export prices are seen rising by 0.2 percent, in line with last month's reading. Import prices are seen coming in at -0.6 percent. This would be the most bullish outcome for this report, but that may be difficult given the size of the trade gap reported yesterday. Falling import prices with rising export prices are disinflationary.
The most bearish outcome would be for a fall in export prices and a rise in import prices, which would be inflationary. The low end of the forecast range for export prices is for a drop of -0.1 percent. The high end of the import prices forecast is at 0.9 percent. A big spread between negative export prices and positive import prices is inflationary.
The EIA Petroleum Status Report will be released at 10:30 a.m. ET. Before the EIA data comes out, the American Petroleum Institute issues a competing report based on its own supply data.
The forecast for both reports was for a draw of -1.8 million barrels. But the API release, which came out last night after the market closed, showed a build of 2.341 million barrels instead.
If the EIA data confirms this build or shows an even larger build, it could be bearish for crude. If instead the build number is smaller than the API's 2.341 million barrels, or is a negative number indicating a draw, it could be bullish for crude.
The EIA is a government body, and the API is a private industry group. The two reports do not always agree either in terms of amount or direction.