THE WEEK AHEAD INTERNATIONAL TRADE Tuesday, Nov. 21, 8:30 a.m. -- The U.S. trade deficit for goods and services is expected to have widened to $9.8 billion in September, after having narrowed sharply in August to $8.8 billion, from $11.2 billion in July. That's the median projection of economists surveyed by MMS International, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Exports are expected to have edged up in September, to $65.5 billion, after a large increase in August. Export growth has picked up, partly because the drag from earlier weakness in the Mexican and Canadian economies is easing up. September imports likely rose faster than exports, hitting $75 billion, partly reflecting a rebound in oil imports. If the MMS projection is on the mark, trade was a neutral factor in third-quarter economic growth. FEDERAL BUDGET Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2 p.m. -- The federal budget in October is expected to have begun the 1996 fiscal year by posting a deficit of $29 billion. That would be slightly below last October's red ink of $31.3 billion. The fiscal 1995 deficit ended up at $163.8 billion, down from $203.1 billion in 1994. The monthly budget data for the coming year should more closely follow last year's numbers, now that deficit improvement due to the upswing in the business cycle is beginning to wane. UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS Friday, Nov. 24, 8:30 a.m. -- New filings for unemployment insurance for the week ended Nov. 18 probably stood close to their recent four-week average of about 365,000. The MMS survey had expected claims for the week of Nov. 11 to dip slightly to 370,000, from 375,000 the week before. The four-week average has risen to its highest level since the summer. However, the summer increase in new filings reflected temporary shutdowns in the auto industry, so the recent rise in claim activity suggests increasing slack in the labor markets. NOTE: Due to the government shutdown, release dates are all tentative.
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