The Week Ahead
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT Tuesday, Dec. 19, 8:30 a.m. -- The Commerce Dept. is expected to report that real GDP, as measured on a chain-weighted basis, grew at an annual rate of 3.2% in the third quarter. That's the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies, and it is slightly faster than the 3% reported in October. Under the old 1987-dollar fixed-weight method, real GDP grew at a 4.2% pace last quarter. HOUSING STARTS Tuesday, Dec. 19, 8:30 a.m. -- Starts likely rose to an annual rate of 1.35 million in November from October's 1.34 million. FOMC MEETING Tuesday, Dec. 19 -- The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve will set monetary policy for the next six weeks. The MMS consensus is that the federal funds rate will remain at 5.75%, but the recent soft data mean a quarter-point cut in short-term rates cannot be ruled out. INTERNATIONAL TRADE Wednesday, Dec. 20, 8:30 a.m. -- The foreign trade deficit for goods and services likely widened to $9 billion in October, from $8.3 billion in September. Exports, which grew 1.6% in September, were little changed in October, while imports, up 1.4%, probably rose at a faster pace in October. PERSONAL INCOME Thursday, Dec. 21, 8:30 a.m. -- Personal income likely rose by 0.5% in October and 0.3% in November, while consumer spending was probably flat in October and up a small 0.4% in November. Because of the GDP revisions, the October and November income and spending data will be released simultaneously. In September, income grew 0.4%, while outlays rose 0.2%. FEDERAL BUDGET Thursday, Dec. 21 -- The Treasury Dept. is likely to announce a federal deficit of about $38 billion in November, not much different from the $37.2 billion deficit posted in November, 1994.
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