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Evaluating data on economic calendars in MENA

The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) economic calendar is a compendium of all important events in the MENA region.

There are several sources. However, it can be difficult for journalists and general news readers to make heads or tails out of them: which one is used? Which source do I trust more? What do they mean by that event?

We will go through some commonly used calendars to explain standard terms and why they matter.

Both private and public sectors produce such calendars, but only the public sector denotes what kind of information each entry holds (e.g. ‘new’, ‘update’).

The private sector leaves it up to interpretation, so we’ll save those for another day. We’ll also look at two English-language sources: Bloomberg and Reuters.

Types of Calendars

There are two types of Mena calendars: the macroeconomic calendar and the sectoral calendar. The former is about general economic trends while the latter covers a specific sector, like oil or tourism.

The most prominent Mena economic calendar is published by the Dubai-based Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) in cooperation with other regional organisations such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

The AMF’s calendar is considered the most reliable because it is compiled with inputs from all participating countries. It covers 86 indicators in all, from inflation to government debt levels.

The Istanbul-based Centre produces the second most popular Mena economic calendar for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM) in Turkey.

Their calendar is more sectoral-focused, with new events added on a rolling basis.

The advantage of the EDAM calendar is that it includes economic data for countries that are not members of the AMF or GCC, such as Iran and Syria.

Qatar’s Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics (MDPS) published the third Mena economic calendar.

It only contains announcements from the public sector, so there’s less information to sift through than AMF/EDAM calendars, plus it does include some region-wide indicators.

All three calendars cover many macroeconomic indicators, but some specific sub-categories are harder to find. EDAM publishes sub-category data every month, such as oil production and exports or tourism performance.

Bloomberg and Reuters both produce English-language Mena economic calendars. Bloomberg’s calendar is more comprehensive as it includes translations of all Arabic headlines into English. Reuters’ calendar is updated more frequently but does not have translations.

The most important thing to remember when evaluating data from MENA economic calendars is to understand the source and its limitations. Always cross-reference with other sources to get a fuller picture.

Advantages

When trying to make sense of economic indicators and events in the MENA region, it is essential to consult various credible sources to gain a comprehensive understanding.

Among the many types of resources available are economic calendars.

There are a few key advantages of using economic calendars to follow MENA economies.

  1. They provide an overview of upcoming announcements and events related to the economy. This allows analysts and interested observers to plan and anticipate what might happen.
  2. The various sources for economic calendars usually have different focuses, so consulting more can give a broader perspective on what is happening in the region.
  3. The information contained in economic calendars is generally presented clearly and can be quickly understood. Knowing what to expect from upcoming events makes it easier to follow the development of a country’s economy.
  4. Economic calendars also provide links back to the source material. In this way, they serve as references that can be used for further research into an announcement or event. They are more reliable than individual news sources because the information has been checked by researchers working for various organisations.

Limitations

Economic calendars have only a limited number of uses:

  1.  As mentioned above, economic calendars do not represent all available resources on MENA economies since they focus specifically on announcements and events. It is always essential to cross-reference information from different sources to gain a complete picture.
  2. Economic calendars need to be combined with other resources because they do not include all the data and information necessary for researchers and analysts to make accurate projections about an economy’s future development.
  3. While economic calendars can be handy, there is always the possibility of errors occurring during translation or publication. These mistakes can sometimes result in inaccurate information being disseminated. This is why it is essential that analysts double-check what they read in economic calendars against other reliable sources such as those provided by specialist organisations such as credit rating agencies, think tanks and international organisations.

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