Business Week Index
THE WEEK AHEAD
Due to the prolonged Washington shutdown, all government release data are
certain to be postponed.
Monday, Jan. 8, 3 p.m. -- Consumers probably added $8.8 billion in installment
credit in November, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by
MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Household debt exploded in
1995, with more than $100 billion in new borrowings. Much of that was in
credit-card debt. In October, debt increased $10.6 billion and credit
outstanding probably hit a record high of 18.9% of disposable income, even
before the holiday buying season.
PRODUCER PRICE INDEX
Thursday, Jan. 11, 8:30 a.m. -- Producer prices of finished goods likely rose
by 0.4% in December, because of rising fuel prices. Excluding volatile food and
energy, producer prices likely rose a smaller 0.2%. In November, total prices
surged 0.5% because of a large gain in the seasonal adjusted price of new cars.
Without food and energy, the increase was 0.4%.
Friday, Jan. 12, 8:30 a.m. -- The MMS survey forecasts that retail sales
increased by about 0.2% in December, following a 0.8% jump in November. The
smaller increase is suggested by the flimsy sales reported by chain stores and
lackluster buying of motor vehicles. Excluding cars, retail buying probably
also rose 0.2% last month, after a 0.9% gain in November.
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX
Friday, Jan. 12, 8:30 a.m. -- Consumer prices likely advanced by 0.3% in
December, says the MMS report. Most of the increase will be in service prices,
because cold weather increased energy use. Weak retailing reports suggest that
goods prices remained modest. In November, analysts were surprised when
consumer prices were unchanged. Excluding food and energy, the core CPI likely
rose 0.2% in December, after a 0.1% rise in November.