This Week’s Economic Tape: Housing Data, Fed Speakers Abound

 @moranzhang
on March 16 2012 2:25 PM
next week's tape
City workers make phone calls outside the London Stock Exchange. Reuters

This week - March 19 to 23 -- kicks off February housing data with housing starts on Tuesday, followed by existing and new home sales later in the week. While the week will bring a host of data, Treasury yields will be most closely watched amid speeches by several fed officials including William Dudley (FOMC voter, dove), Ben Bernanke (FOMC voter, dove) and Narayana Kocherlakota (FOMC non-voter, mild hawk). They're expected to reiterate interest rates will remain at ultra-low levels through late 2014.

Below are other entries on the economic calendar:

Monday

Greece: CDS auction result for Greek sovereign.*

8:35 a.m. - Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William C. Dudley (voter) will speak about the regional and national economy before the Long Island Association in Melville, N.Y. This speech is part of Dudley's day-long visit to Long Island.

10:00 a.m. - NAHB housing market index for March. The index has topped expectations and increased sharply over the past few months. The NAHB housing index is up from a recent low of 13 in July to 29 in February, a near five-year high. Economists expect this trend to continue, and forecast it'll reach 30 in early March. Any number below 50 indicates that more developers and builders view conditions as poor than good. The last time this gauge came in above 50 was April 2006. The gain in homebuilder sentiment in early March is particularly important as it sets the stage for the spring selling season.

1:40 p.m. - Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William C. Dudley (voter) will partake in a roundtable discussion with Brookhaven National Laboratory, a multi-program national laboratory operated by Brookhaven Science Associates for the U.S. Department of Energy, in Upton, N.Y.

Tuesday

8:30 a.m. - February housing starts are expected to inch up to 710, 000 units, a monthly increase of about 1.5 percent, matching the gain in January. Building permits will advance to 700,000. The improvement in part reflects an incredibly mild winter. Average temperatures for December, January and February were the fourth highest since national data started being kept in 1890.

10:00 a.m. - The Senate Banking Committee holds nomination hearings on Fed candidates Jeremy Stein of Massachusetts and Jerome Powell of Maryland.

12:45 p.m. - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivers a lecture to undergraduate students at the George Washington University School of Business on The Federal Reserve and the Financial Crisis (Part 1).

5:30 p.m. - Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota (non-voter) speaks at the Hyman P. Minsky Lecture Series at Washington University. His speech is titled On the Limits to Monetary Policy.

Wednesday

7:00 a.m. - MBA mortgage index.

10:00 a.m. - February data on existing home sales. Sales of existing homes are likely to rise 0.7 percent after increasing 4.3 percent in January. Pending home sales rose 2.0 percent in January and has now risen in three of the past four months. Also of interest in the report will be the inventory data. Since the summer, inventory of existing homes for sale has tumbled, bringing months' supply down to 6.1 months. Economists expect inventory to pick up later this year.

7:50 p.m.* - Japan: Trade balance for February.

Thursday

China: HSBC Flash manufacturing PMI index for March.*

France/German/E17: Flash manufacturing and services PMI indexes for March.*

8:30 a.m. - Initial jobless claims for the week ended March 17 are expected to rise 7,000 to 358,000. This is consistent with adding roughly 200,000 to nonfarm payrolls per month.

10:00 a.m. - FHFA housing price index for January is forecast to rise 0.2 percent. This would translate to a year-over-year increase of 0.1 percent, the first since July 2007, and would continue the trend of improvement in the year-over-year change since the near-term peak decline of 6.1 percent in April.

10:00 a.m. - Leading indicators index should increase by 0.6 percent in February after a 0.4 percent rise in January.

12:45 p.m. - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivers a lecture to undergraduate students at the George Washington University School of Business on The Federal Reserve and the Financial Crisis (Part 2).

4:00 p.m. - President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Charles Evans (non-voter) will present a paper titled the Macroeconomic Effects of FOMC Forward Guidance at the Brookings institution. Presentation will become available at 1 p.m.

8:00 p.m. - St. Louis Fed President James Bullard (non-voter) speaks at the 15th Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong on Monetary policy and the U.S. economy in 2012.

Friday

10:00 a.m. - New home sales are expected to be flat at 321,000 in February, which factors in the sharp 7.3 percent monthly drop in February in the MBA mortgage applications for purchase index. New home sales have been hovering between 275,000 and 331,000 through much of the past two years, and economists are looking for new home sales to remain in the range until months' supply declines further.

2:30 p.m. - Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart delivers Remarks on career and Federal Reserve to students at Georgetown University.

5:00 p.m.* - Greece: Deadline for submission of non-Greek law bonds to the PSI.

* Indicates non-U.S. event or release.

All listed times are Eastern Daylight Time. Dates and times are subject to change.

Source: Central banks, IMF, European Commission, Reuters, Market News, Barclays Capital, Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

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