The Week Ahead

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX

Tuesday, July 14, 8:30 a.m.

Consumer prices in June are expected to have risen by 0.3%, according to the weekly survey of economists by MMS International, a unit of McGraw-Hill Inc. Excluding energy and food, the CPI is also expected to post a 0.3% increase. If so, yearly inflation will stand at 3.1%, with core inflation at 3.9%.

RETAIL SALES

Tuesday, July 14, 8:30 a.m.

The economists expect retail sales to rise a modest 0.5% in June. Stronger car sales will help the month's gain, but even excluding cars, the analysts forecast a 0.4% increase. Lackluster reports from chain stores in recent weeks suggest the tepid showing.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

Wednesday, July 15, 9:15 a.m.

The MMS projections call for a 0.3% decline in June industrial production. The drop is expected because factory employment fell by 58,000 in June, and because the factory workweek dipped to 41.1 hours from 41.3 hours in May. The industrial operating rate likely slipped to 78.6% in June from 79% in May.

BUSINESS INVENTORIES

Wednesday, July 15, 10 a.m.

The forecasters expect inventories held by manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers to rise by 0.2% in May.

HOUSING STARTS

Thursday, July 16, 8:30 a.m.

The MMS survey calls for June housing starts to dip to 1.2 million from 1.23 million in May. Starts had surged by 11% in May, so some fallback in June would not be unusual. Also, sales of new single-family homes through May had declined for four consecutive months.

MERCHANDISE TRADE DEFICIT

Friday, July 17, 8:30 a.m.

The economists expect the trade deficit to shrink to $6.2 billion in May, after surging to $7 billion in April. They look for exports to post little growth in May, to $36.5 billion, while imports are projected to fall to $42.9 billion.