CONSUMER PRICE INDEX Wednesday, Oct. 16, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Consumer prices probably increased 0.3% in September, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Food prices, up 0.4% in August, likely rose again last month as crop shortages work their way through to retail prices. Excluding food and energy, core prices also are expected to have risen by 0.3%. In August, both the total CPI and core index edged up 0.1%. HOUSING STARTS Thursday, Oct. 17, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Housing starts probably fell to an annual rate of 1.47 million in September. Housing remains strong, despite the year's rise of more than one percentage point in fixed mortgage rates. In August, starts unexpectedly increased by 4.5%, to a 1.53 million pace. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION Thursday, Oct. 17, 9:15 a.m.EDT -- Output at the nation's factories, mines, and utilities probably increased a slim 0.1% in September, after rising 0.5% in August. That gain, though, reflected a bounceback in utility use after a cooler-than-normal July. Although manufacturing jobs plunged 57,000 in September, the workweek rose and overtime remained high. That suggests a small gain in factory output. Operating rates likely fell to 83.3%, from 83.5% in August. BUSINESS INVENTORIES Thursday, Oct. 17, 10 a.m.EDT -- Business inventories likely grew by 0.3% in August, says the MMS survey. That's down from a 0.4% rise in July. Factories have already reported a 0.3% gain in their stock levels. Business sales likely increased about 0.2% in August, after jumping 1.2% in July. INTERNATIONAL TRADE Friday, Oct. 18, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The trade deficit for goods and services probably narrowed to $9.8 billion, after widening sharply in July to $11.7 billion from June's $8.2 billion. Exports, which fell 3.6% in July, probably rebounded in August, and imports, up 1.3%, likely fell.
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