Using the US Federal Reserve Economic Data - FRED Database

Author: Optuma Team Last updated: Aug 21, 2023 12:06


With the FRED database enabled on your account, it’s possible to chart over 800,000 global datasets compiled by the US Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, such as employment rates, GDP, and government bond yields. (If you have the data enabled, save the sample workbook from the link at the bottom of this article).

With so much data at your fingertips it can be a challenge to find exactly what you need, so the best option is to visit the FRED website first and search the database, or click on the links on their homepage for popular charts (eg DGS10 for US 10 year yields, or UNRATE for US unemployment).


Once you have found the data series required, open the chart on the FRED website and locate the code (usually near the name, or in the page URL). In this example, I searched for the 10 year UK Government yield, which has the code IRLTLT01GBM156N:


Highlight and copy the code, and then in Optuma open the Security Selection window and paste it in the search box:


Once highlighted, double-click to open the chart, and then apply tools and indicators.


Connecting to the FRED database

You will need your own FRED account with an API key to connect. To create your free FRED account click here:

Go to the top right corner of the page and click the My Account link. In the window that opens, select Create New Account.


If you have a Google Account you can use the Register with Google button, otherwise, fill out the required details and complete the signup process.

Once you have logged in successfully, go back to the My Account link, and in the menu displayed select API Keys.


In the window that opens, left-click the Request API Key button and complete the small questionnaire.


Once completed, the API key you are issued will appear at the bottom of the API Keys window…


Copy this key, and return to Optuma.

Go to Data - Configure Data Providers and select FRED Economic Data from the list of available options, then click Next.


Paste the API key from your FRED account and click Next to continue.


Move the FRED Economic Data exchange to the right side Selected Exchanges section and click Apply to complete the setup process.


FRED Exchange - Loading

When enabled, the FRED exchange will load the list of symbols (the index file) automatically each time Optuma is logged in. However, this process can slow down the login process as there are over 800,000 symbols. If data from the FRED exchange is not accessed for more than 2 weeks, then the exchange is not loaded automatically during start up.

The data does remain available, so if a workbook containing FRED charts is opened, or you select the FRED exchange in the data selector the exchange will be loaded, but, it will take 5 + 20 seconds while it is initialised. You can also Click to Load to manually download the index file.


Example Workbook

Click the button below to save a sample workbook containing FRED charts. Double-click on the saved file (usually in your Downloads folder) and select Yes when prompted to move to your default folder location.