The Week Ahead
INSTALLMENT CREDIT Tuesday, May 7, 3 p.m.EDT -- Consumers probably added about $7 billion in new credit in March, significantly less than the big increases of the last few months. In February, for instance, installment debt jumped by $12 billion. Sluggish retail sales suggest that credit-card use slowed in March, although auto financing probably continued to grow at a healthy clip. The already record-high level of existing debt is causing worries that consumers may start to cut back on their spending. However, income growth remains solid enough to carry rising debt burdens. BEIGE BOOK Wednesday, May 8, 12 p.m.EDT -- The Federal Reserve will take a look at the regional economies of its 12 districts in preparation for the monetary policy meeting scheduled for May 21. The Beige Book is a compilation of anecdotal reporting on economic activity, labor conditions, and wage and price pressures. UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS Thursday, May 9. 8:30 a.m.EDT -- New filings for state unemployment insurance benefits likely stood at about 330,000 in the week ended May 4. Jobless claims have been running about 350,000 in recent weeks, a high level in a tight labor market. PRODUCER PRICE INDEX Friday, May 10, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Producer prices of finished goods probably rose by 0.4% in April, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. Higher gasoline prices will lead the runup, as they did in March when the total PPI increased by a large 0.5%. Excluding food and energy costs, producer prices likely rose just 0.1% in April, the same small gain posted in both February and March.
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