The Week Ahead
INTERNATIONAL TRADE Tuesday, Dec. 20, 8:30 a.m. The foreign trade deficit for goods and services probably narrowed slightly in October, to $9.9 billion, from September's $10.1 billion. That's the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, a division of McGraw-Hill Inc. Merchandise exports likely rebounded after slipping 0.5% in September, but imports, up for five consecutive months, remained high. Trade will improve in 1995 as demand for imports softens. FOMC MEETING Tuesday, Dec. 20 Policymakers at the Federal Reserve will sit down for the Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Almost all of the economists polled by MMS expect the Fed to keep interest rates on hold, with the federal funds rate at 5.5% and the discount rate at 4.75%. Both rates were lifted by three-quarters of a point on Nov. 15. FEDERAL BUDGET Wednesday, Dec. 21 The Treasury Dept. will probably report a deficit of $35 billion for November, less than the $38.4 billion in November, 1993. DURABLE GOODS ORDERS Friday, Dec. 23, 8:30 a.m. The MMS forecast is that new orders for durable goods rose by 1% in November. If so, that would reverse the 1% drop that bookings took in October. Unfilled orders were likely flat, after rising 0.3% in October. Weak aircraft ordering has held down the backlog for all durable-goods manufacturers. PERSONAL INCOME Friday, Dec. 23, 8:30 a.m. Personal income probably rose 0.3% in November, after jumping 1.4% in October. Healthier job growth and long work hours boosted paychecks, and higher rates are lifting interest income. The MMS economists forecast that consumer spending advanced a sturdy 0.5% in November, on top of a 0.7% gain in October. Unusually warm weather in November probably reduced energy demand, but retail sales were solid.
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