FEDERAL BUDGET Tuesday, Jan. 24 The U.S. Treasury will likely report a deficit of $4 billion for December, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, a division of McGraw-Hill Inc. Quarterly income tax payments are due in December, but the government had to send out January Social Security payments early because Jan. 1 was the New Year's holiday. In December, 1993, Washington chalked up a deficit of $7.7 billion. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently projected that the federal deficit for fiscal 1995, which began in October, will total $176 billion. In 1994, the government's deficit was $203.4 billion. EXISTING HOME SALES Wednesday, Jan. 25, 9:45 a.m. Sales of existing homes likely fell to an annual rate of 3.76 million in December. If so, that would be the fourth drop in five months. In November, resales fell 2.6%, to 3.81 million. DURABLE GOODS ORDERS Thursday, Jan. 26, 8:30 a.m. The MMS median forecast is that new orders for durable goods in December were little changed from their November level. In that month, increased bookings for aircraft and motor vehicles led to a solid 3.4% gain in total new orders. Unfilled orders probably dropped last month, after rising a small 0.6% in November. GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT Friday, Jan. 27, 8:30 a.m. Real GDP likely grew at an annual rate of 4.3% in the fourth quarter of 1994, says the MMS report. Thanks to strong job and income growth, consumers continued to increase their spending at a pace exceeding 4%. Business investment in equipment and nonresidential construction also probably added to growth at yearend. The fourth quarter would mark the third straight quarter that the U.S. economy grew by 4% or more. In the third period, real GDP expanded at a pace of 4%. Inflation, as measured by the GDP price deflator, is expected at an annual rate of 2.2% in the fourth quarter, about the same rate as in the third quarter.
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