The Complete Guide to the Forex Economic Calendar for Traders

The forex economic calendar is an invaluable tool for traders. This comprehensive calendar outlines upcoming market-moving events and data releases for major economies around the world.

Understanding how to use the forex calendar effectively can help you make more informed trading decisions. This guide will provide everything you need to know about the forex economic calendar and how to use it in your trading strategy.

    What is the Forex Economic Calendar?

    The forex economic calendar lists upcoming data releases, speeches from central bank officials, and other events that impact currency markets. It provides valuable insight into what news events are on the horizon that could cause volatility in currency values.

    The calendar covers major economies around the world including the United States, Eurozone, United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and more. Time zones play an important role, with most events clustered during European and North American market hours.

    Events and data releases are color coded by level of importance, showing traders how potentially impactful the announcements could be on currency prices and pairs. Updates also include actual figures, forecasts, and previous metrics to gauge how the news is expected to turn out.

    Traders routinely consult the forex calendar to inform their trading. By knowing what major events are approaching, they can prepare trading strategies accordingly or avoid the markets altogether during particularly volatile periods.

    Why the Economic Calendar Matters for Trading

    The economic calendar is invaluable for forex traders because it helps identify opportunities while also warning of potential hazards. Here are some of the key reasons why following the calendar is crucial:

    • Understand upcoming volatility – The calendar shows you at a glance when big news is ahead that could spark sharp movements and volatility in exchange rates.
    • Position yourself ahead of events – Use the calendar to plan your entries and exits around news events. Open or close positions before volatility strikes.
    • Avoid unexpected shocks – Don’t get blindsided by surprises. The calendar helps you stay aware of all major scheduled announcements that can impact currencies.
    • Trade the news events – Some traders specifically look to trade around high impact events, trying to profit from the volatility. The calendar helps time this strategy.
    • Gauge market reactions – See how markets and currency pairs respond to different data and events. This helps you learn how prices move around news.
    • Follow central bank policies – Interest rate changes and statements from central banks drive forex prices. The calendar alerts you to these influential updates.
    • Confirm your bias – Events can confirm or contradict your trading bias. If a release aligns with your outlook, it reinforces your positions.

    In summary, savvy traders worldwide turn to the economic calendar to stay smart and get a leg up in forex trading. Ignoring the calendar leaves you in the dark and at the mercy of unpredictable market swings.

    Key Components of the Forex Calendar

    While different calendars may present data in various formats, they generally include common key details:


    The currency or currencies that could be most impacted by the event. Major currency pairs are EUR/USD, GBP/USD, USD/JPY, USD/CHF, USD/CAD, AUD/USD, and NZD/USD.


    The name of the economic data release, speech, or other event that is scheduled to occur. For example, Nonfarm Payrolls, CPI, Federal Reserve interest rate decision.


    The date and time according to GMT or local time zones when the event will happen. Times posted account for daylight savings.

    Impact Level

    The potential significance or importance of the event on currency markets, categorized as high, medium, or low impact. High impact signals major volatility potential.

    Actual, Forecast, Previous

    For economic data releases, the actual reading, economist forecasted number, and previous reporting period’s figure will be listed. This helps gauge reaction expectations.

    Let’s look at an example calendar entry to see these elements:

    USD Unemployment Rate 
    Friday, 8:30am EST
    High Impact
    Actual: 3.7%
    Forecast: 3.7%
    Previous: 3.6%

    This indicates the U.S. unemployment rate will be released on Friday at 8:30am EST. It’s projected to be a high impact event. Economists forecast the rate to remain unchanged at 3.7% from the previous month’s 3.6% reading.

    Types of Economic Events

    Many different scheduled events can impact forex markets. Here are some of the most common and influential types of announcements tracked on the economic calendar:

    Interest Rate Decisions

    Central bank interest rate decisions and statements are among the most impactful forex market movers. Major announcements come from the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank (ECB), Bank of England (BoE), Bank of Canada (BoC), Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), and Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ). Interest rates influence currency valuations.

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    Employment Data

    Key employment reports like U.S. Nonfarm Payrolls, Canadian jobs data, and Australia employment change figures offer insights into economic growth. Rising employment and wages also influence inflation and interest rates.

    GDP Reports

    Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reports measure overall economic health and growth. GDP influences currencies as stronger expansions allow more expansionary monetary policy. Leading releases are from the U.S., Eurozone, UK, Japan and Australia.

    Manufacturing Data

    Manufacturing PMIs and industrial production figures help assess business conditions and demand for currencies of export-driven economies like Germany and Japan. China manufacturing PMIs also carry importance.

    Consumer Price Index (CPI)

    CPI reports like U.S. and Eurozone CPI track inflation trends. Rising consumer prices may prompt central banks to tighten policy and boost currencies. Falling CPI allows more accommodative policy.

    Trade Balance

    Trade balance reports highlight demand for exports and imports between nations. Figures like China trade data and Eurozone trade balances showcase global commerce. Currencies can strengthen with higher trade surpluses.

    Retail Sales

    Retail sales statistics demonstrate rising or falling demand from consumers. Strong spending supports economic and currency growth while weak sales may weigh on both. U.S. and U.K. monthly retail sales are closely watched.

    Business Confidence Surveys

    Surveys like Germany’s ZEW gauge business outlooks. Improving or worsening business sentiment points to changes in risk appetite, growth forecasts, and currency demand.

    Housing Data

    Housing market indicators reflect asset valuations and broader economic vibrancy. Home sales, home prices, and construction reports from the U.S., Canada, China, and Australia clue investors in to changing economic momentum.

    Political Events

    Elections, referendums, and geopolitical developments in major economies influence leadership, policies, and currency stability. Examples include U.S. and U.K. elections, Brexit developments, and tension over North Korea, Syria, and Iran.

    These examples represent some of the more influential scheduled events. Traders also watch speeches from central bank leaders, policy meeting minutes, and surprises like rate decisions outside of normal meeting schedules.

    High, Medium, and Low Impact Events

    Not all economic events and data carry the same importance. The economic calendar assigns a rating to each release to highlight the difference:

    High Impact Events

    These releases have the most potential to spark substantial volatility and large swings in currency rates. High impact events include:

    • Interest rate decisions from major central banks
    • U.S. Nonfarm Payrolls
    • GDP reports
    • CPI inflation rates
    • Federal Reserve statements

    High impact events can cause currency rates to swing 100 pips or more in minutes. Use caution trading around these announcements.

    Medium Impact Events

    These events have the potential to move currency markets but with more moderate volatility expected. Medium impact events include:

    • Employment reports outside of U.S. NFPs
    • Manufacturing and services PMI data
    • Trade and current account balances
    • Retail sales figures
    • Business sentiment surveys
    • Housing market data

    Price action around medium impact events may see 50 to 100 pip movements. Have a game plan when trading around these releases.

    Low Impact Events

    These scheduled announcements are less likely to significantly disturb currency rates. Low impact events include:

    • Minor economic data
    • Speeches from non-central bank leaders
    • Final GDP revisions
    • Employment sub-metrics like wages and unemployment duration
    • Regional manufacturing and services data

    Low impact events may cause 15 to 50 pip fluctuations. These can still impact intraday trading but generally lack market-moving weight.

    Prioritize following high and medium impact events most closely on the economic calendar using the assigned impact levels as your guide.

    Reading and Interpreting the Calendar

    Reading and properly interpreting the economic calendar takes some practice. Follow these steps when reviewing the calendar for trading opportunities:

    • Note “high” events – Flag upcoming high impact releases on your calendar. These present the most volatility risk and opportunity.
    • Compare forecasts and preview – Compare forecasts to previous metrics. Will the data likely beat, meet, or miss expectations? Preview the consensus outlook.
    • Consider existing positions – Do you have open trades that could be impacted? How will they be affected if volatility strikes?
    • Form an advance bias – Develop an advance bias on how your currency pair could react if the actual reading surprises expectations.
    • Plan risk management – Map out risk reduction plans like tighter stops or exiting trades before news hits. Volatility can gap prices against you.
    • Set alerts leading up – Use calendar alerts to warn you leading up to impactful releases so you stay attentive.
    • Squelch reaction emotions – When a big report hits, don’t react instantly based on emotions. Stick to your plan.
    • Trade the reaction – Consider trading the volatility sparked by a high impact surprise, but only with disciplined risk rules in place.
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    Economic news can be fast-moving and intense. Stay proactive leading up to event risk, react rationally when volatility strikes, and manage risk above all else.

    How Economic News Impacts Currency Values

    Economic data and events impact currency rates based on how the information influences monetary policy, relative growth, inflation, and interest rate differentials. Here are some examples:

    • Strong GDP or employment – Bullish growth data boosts a currency by pointing to higher rates from the central bank.
    • Dovish central bank – If a central bank turns unexpectedly dovish with rate cuts, forward guidance, or QE, its currency tends to weaken.
    • Hawkish central bank – When central banks turn hawkish with rate hikes, balance sheet reduction, or optimistic outlooks, their currency appreciates.
    • High inflation – Strong inflation may force a central bank to tighten policy by raising rates, which can boost the currency’s value.
    • Political turmoil – Geopolitical unrest introducing uncertainty may weigh on the economies and currencies involved.

    Currencies gain relative strength when their nation experiences positive growth, price stability, and policy support. Alternatively, weaker data, rising instability, or dovish policy all tend to pressure currencies lower compared to rivals.

    Using the Forex Calendar in Your Trading Strategy

    The economic calendar is most useful when you incorporate it proactively into your broader forex trading strategy. Consider these tips:

    Planning Ahead

    • Review upcoming events weekly and monthly for potential trading opportunities or risks
    • Research expected results and historical data to gauge typical reactions
    • Build trading ideas around economic releases suited to your strategy
    • Form directional bias for your currency pairs based on events

    Execution and Timing

    • Execute trades ahead of events with enough room to absorb potential volatility
    • Set orders to trigger on breakouts following data surprises
    • Use stop orders to exit existing trades before major data hits
    • Time entry and exit points around lower volatility periods

    Managing Risk

    • Widen stops on trades ahead of high impact events
    • Reduce position size to limit risk exposure to volatility
    • Hedge positions by incorporating negatively correlated pairs
    • Close trades ahead of events if holding through is too risky

    Proper trade planning, timing, and risk management are vital skills when mixing a forex calendar with your trading strategy. Practice incorporating major economic data into sample trades in a demo account.

    Best Practices When Using the Calendar

    Keep these additional tips in mind to maximize your usage of an economic calendar:

    • Check the calendar daily so you don’t get blindsided by surprises
    • Mark your calendar ahead of time with major high impact releases
    • Don’t overtrade around lower impact events without a solid reason
    • Remember news trading is risky – don’t rely on it for profits
    • Know when markets are closed to avoid trading illiquid periods
    • Consider spreading trading volume across multiple smaller trades rather than gambling on one volatile event
    • Never make a trading decision solely based on a calendar event unless you fully understand the risks involved

    The economic calendar is a map, not a crystal ball. Use it to guide your trading, but don’t depend on any one event to be profitable long-term. Consistent discipline is what pays over time, not news trading.

    Economic Calendars to Follow

    Many leading forex brokers and financial sites publish free economic calendars covering major global events. Check out a few top calendars:

    • – Customizable calendar offering analysis, consensus, and historical data across global economies.
    • DailyFX Economic Calendar – Actionable calendar from leading forex site with event impact labels, forecasts, and currency correlation details.
    • BabyPips Economic Calendar – Easy to read calendar with color-coded impact levels and analysis. Popular with beginners.
    • Economic Calendar – Extensive calendar with filters by country, importance, and release type. In-depth historical data.
    • Trading Economics – Calendar focused on high impact events. Offers considerable historical data.
    • MarketWatch Economic Calendar – Concise calendar providing event forecasts and consensus expectations.
    • XM Forex Calendar – Clean interface showing major global events, forecasts, and impacts.

    Try following a couple leading forex calendars to stay tuned in to upcoming event risks and opportunities in the markets. Pay attention to which calendars offer useful trading features like analysis, historical data, currency correlation statistics, and customization options.

    FAQs About the Forex Calendar

    Let’s run through some frequently asked questions about using an economic calendar for forex trading:

    What days/hours see the most forex volatility from news events?

    Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8am to 10am ET when London and New York sessions overlap tend to be active news trading periods. Fridays are often quieter. Watch for lunch hour dips in volatility.

    How can you trade forex calendar events?

    Place limit orders relative to release forecasts, trade breakouts, use spreads, reduce size, and hedge trades. Manage risk above all.

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    How do you read an economic calendar?

    Note high impact events, compare forecasts to previous data, anticipate reactions, form bias, plan risk management, set alerts, stick to plans when news hits.

    How far in advance should you plan trades based on the forex calendar?

    Plan trades at least several days ahead of major events following your research. Open positions well in advance of data releases.

    Can you make consistent profits only trading the forex calendar?

    It’s risky to rely solely on unpredictable news events for profits. Even the best economists get forecasts wrong. Manage risk and use events to complement a balanced strategy.

    What skills help when trading news events?

    Discipline, logical bias development, risk management, technical and fundamental analysis, and contingency planning abilities help traders profit from economic events.

    How do you know if an economic release will be positive or negative?

    Compare forecasts to previous data. Read analyst expectations. Understand how different readings could impact the currency based on inflation, growth, policy, risk appetite.

    What is the best economic calendar for forex trading?

    Top calendars include Forexfactory, DailyFX,, BabyPips, and Trading Economics. The best depends on your preferences for features, analysis, and ease of use.

    Using the forex economic calendar effectively takes research, planning, and practice like any skill. Familiarize yourself with high impact events, learn to interpret expectations, and implement solid risk practices when trading around news.


    The economic calendar is an indispensable tool for forex traders seeking an extra edge in the markets. By staying informed about scheduled event risks and volatility opportunities across global markets, you can implement more informed strategies.

    Use this complete guide to understand the key components of forex calendars and the characteristics of different data releases. Learn when to exercise caution, when to take advantage, and how to incorporate events into your broader trading plans.

    With comprehensive knowledge of the forex economic calendar and its inner workings, you can take your trading strategy to the next level. Just remember to exercise discipline, manage risk, and never rely entirely on unpredictable news events to be profitable in forex.

    “If you don't find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

    - Warren Buffett

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