Business Week Index
THE WEEK AHEAD
Tuesday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m.EST -- Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan will
travel to Capitol Hill to testify before the Senate Budget Committee on the
state of the U.S. economy. Of particular interest to Fed watchers will be any
mention of building price pressures.
Wednesday, Jan. 22, 8:30 a.m.EST -- Housing starts probably fell to an annual
rate of 1.45 million in December, according to the median forecast of
economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
Starts unexpectedly surged in November, jumping 9.2% to a 1.51 million pace.
New building in the Midwest and South was especially strong. Despite higher
mortgage rates in the first half of the year, homebuilders were quite busy in
1996. Housing is expected to hold steady in 1997. Starts in January, however,
might be curtailed by the bad weather in the Pacific Northwest and Midwest.
Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2 p.m.EST -- The Federal Reserve's roundup of regional
economic activity will be released in advance of the policy meeting on Feb.
4-5. The financial markets will try to glean evidence of economic trends from
the Beige Book. In particular: whether retail sales bounced back in early 1997
after a modest holiday season and whether regional shortages of skilled labor
have begun to push up wages.
Thursday, Jan. 23, 2 p.m.EST -- The MMS median forecast expects that the U.S.
Treasury will report a budget surplus of $10 billion for December, a month in
which most quarterly income taxes are paid. The projected surplus is almost
twice the $5.2 billion reported in December, 1995. However, for the first
quarter of fiscal 1997, which began on Oct. 1, 1996, the federal deficit will
likely total about $68 billion. That is way above the $55.9 billion in the
first quarter of fiscal 1996.