Business Week Index
THE WEEK AHEAD
Wednesday, Jan. 21, 8:30 a.m. EST--The foreign trade deficit for all goods and
services likely widened in November to $10.1 billion, from October's $9.7
billion. That's the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS
International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Exports, which jumped 2.4% in
October, probably remained at their record level of $80 billion, but imports
likely increased for the fifth consecutive month. Trade probably added to
economic growth in the fourth quarter. But problems in the Commerce Dept.'s
seasonal-adjustment process plus a drop in merchandise exports headed to
Southeast Asia means that the trade deficit will likely widen quite
substantially in the first quarter of 1998, subtracting from growth.
Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2 p.m. EST--The Federal Reserve Board's roundup of regional
economic activity will be released in advance of the first monetary-policy
meeting of 1998, scheduled for Feb. 3 and 4. The financial markets examine the
Beige Book for insight into concerns among policymakers. In addition to the
usual anecdotes on retail activity, housing, wage pressures, and labor
shortages, this latest Book is likely to contain information on whether the
Asian financial crisis is starting to hit U.S. businesses.
Thursday, Jan. 22, 8:30 a.m. EST--Housing starts probably slipped to an annual
rate of 1.51 million in December. That follows three straight gains, including
a 0.8% rise in November, to a 1.53 million pace.
Friday, Jan. 23, 2 p.m. EST--The Treasury Dept. will probably report a surplus
of $17 billion in December, says the MMS survey. That's a bit less than the
$18.5 billion posted in December, 1996. The U.S. government had a deficit of
only $22 billion for fiscal 1997 that ended in September, and Washington is now
wrangling over how to spend a projected budget surplus.