INSTALLMENT DEBT Monday, Jan. 9 -- Consumers are expected to have added a hefty $12 billion to their installment debt in November, following October's increase of $11.6 billion. That's the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, a unit of McGraw-Hill Inc. Revolving credit should account for a big chunk of the increase. Both MasterCard International Inc. and Visa USA Inc. reported sharp increases in card activity vs. a year ago. PRODUCER PRICE INDEX Tuesday, Jan. 10, 8:30 a.m. -- The MMS economists look for the December producer price index to rise by 0.2%, after November's 0.5% jump. The core index, which excludes the volatile energy and food sectors, is expected to increase 0.2% as well. CONSUMER PRICE INDEX Wednesday, Jan. 11, 8:30 a.m. -- The December consumer price index is expected to rise by 0.3%, says the median forecast, the same as in November. The core index should post a 0.3% increase as well. Price resistance by consumers is the chief reason why many producers cannot pass along their higher costs. Consumer inflation will end 1994 at about 2.7%, the third consecutive year that inflation has been below 3%. RETAIL SALES Friday, Jan. 13, 8:30 a.m. -- Retail sales in December are expected to have increased by 0.6%, following November's 1.2% gain. Excluding car sales, buying is projected to have been up by 0.5%. If the forecasters are right, real retail sales in the fourth quarter appear to have registered the strongest quarterly advance in eight years, and that includes the superstrong showings in the final quarters of both 1992 and 1993.
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