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Important Economic Data for 09/09/2010

September 9, 2010

The big report of the day is likely to be Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m. ET. We will also hear about crude oil supplies when the EIA releases its Petroleum Status Report at 11 a.m. ET, delayed a day this week because of the Labor Day holiday.

The consensus estimate for Jobless Claims calls for a very small drop to 470,000 from last week’s 472,000. The range of possible values is narrow, with a bullish 460,000 forecast at the low and a bearish 480,000 at the high.

USO ChartA reading at or above 500,000 would be very bearish. Conversely, a numer below 450,000 would be very bullish. Continuing claims are also expected to show a small drop to 4.45 million, down from last week’s 4.456 million.

International Trade will also be reported at 8:30 a.m. ET. The trade gap is expected to show a small improvement from last month. Consensus calls for a gap of -$47.3 billion, down from -$49.9 billion.

The range of forecasts is wide, from a bearish -$52 billion to a more bullish -$43 billion. A smaller gap than -$43 billion would be particularly bullish.

The EIA Petroleum Status Report is due at 11 a.m. ET. A competing report from the American Petroleum Institute was release after the market closed yesterday.

The API statistics showed a very large draw of -7.3 million barrels. A small build of 0.9 million barrels has been expected. Draws–which are reported as negative numbers–are usually bullish for crude prices, particularly where surprise reductions are concerned.

If the EIA data confirms this large draw, it would likely be bullish for crude. If it reports a reduction that is substantially smaller than what the API reported, or if there is a build instead, that would be bearish for oil.

The API is a private industry group, as opposed to the government-run EIA. The two reports don’t always line up for various reasons.

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