The first item of fundamental item of news on the economic calendar this morning came from the ECB which issued its monthly bulletin in which it suggested that price pressures in the eurozone are likely to remain subdued for the time being due to a substantial fall in commodity prices in the last few months.  It went on to say that the risks are broadly balanced between the positive effects of falling raw commodity prices and the negative effect of the current economic slowdown.   This was sandwiched between two items of production news, namely the Italian data and the German data of which the latter is of greater importance and which came in on target at -2.9% whereas the Italian showed an alarming decline to -3.5% which is double the forecast.   Later today in the US we have 2 red flag news releases, namely the trade balance figures and the weekly unemployment claims followed shortly afterwards by the import prices data and natural gas storage figures.  The trade balance which measures the difference in value between imports and exports during the previous month is expected to narrow taking the figure to its lowest since October 2002.  Unemployment claims are likely to remain broadly flat and seem to be levelling off around 660k a week – shocking numbers but one which hardly seems to raise an eyebrow in the current economic depression, taking the unemployment rate to a 25 year high of 8.5%.  The final two items of news rounding off this shortened trading week are import prices, which highlight the change in imported goods and services purchased for domestic use, and the natural gas storage figures released by the EIA.  The import figures are forecast to be at +0.9% against a previous of -0.2% and natural gas storage is expected to be 12bn cubic feet – an increase on last week.  These figures tend to have more of an effect on the Loonie owing to Canada’s position as a market leader in the energy complex.

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