HOUSING STARTS Tuesday, June 20, 8:30 a.m. -- Housing starts likely stood at an annual rate of 1.23 million in May, a bit less than their 1.24 million pace in April, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of the McGraw-Hill Cos. The drop is suggested by the decline in construction jobs and hours worked in May. Because of the recent fall in mortgage rates, housing starts may rebound in coming months. INTERNATIONAL TRADE Wednesday, June 21, 8:30 a.m. -- The foreign-trade deficit for goods and services likely narrowed slightly in April, to $9 billion, down from $9.1 billion in March. The MMS survey expects little change in either exports or imports. In March, exports rose 5%, to hit a record $65.3 billion, but imports also jumped, by 4.3%, to set a high of $74.5 billion. The trade deficit could have worsened in April, however: Japan has already reported that its trade surplus with the U.S. widened by 3% for the month. The April report will also include revisions to historical trade data. FEDERAL BUDGET Wednesday, June 21 -- The federal government is likely to report a deficit of $37.5 billion in May, wider than the $32.1 billion of May, 1994. In April, Washington posted a record surplus of $49.7 billion. The deficit for fiscal 1995, which began last October, is on track to total far less than last year's $203 billion. In fact, the deficit could slip to about $165 billion, the smallest budget deficit in six years. DURABLE GOODS ORDERS Friday, June 23, 8:30 a.m. -- New orders taken by durable-goods manufacturers probably rose a small 0.2% in May, forecasts the MMS report. If so, that would be the first increase since January. Orders in April fell a steep 4%, led by declining motor-vehicle demand. The backlog of unfilled orders probably fell by about 0.4% in May, the same drop as in April.
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