The Week Ahead
HOUSING STARTS Tuesday, June 18, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Housing starts likely fell to an annual rate of 1.48 million in May, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Housing has held up quite well this year, even as long-term interest rates have risen. Starts jumped 5.9% in April, to 1.52 million. However, mortgage applications to buy a home have flattened out recently, suggesting that demand is tapering off. BEIGE BOOK Wednesday, June 19, noonEDT -- The Federal Reserve's survey of its 12 districts will report on a range of economic trends including price pressures, labor shortages, and retailing, construction, and manufacturing activity. The latest beige book is being prepared in advance of the monetary policy meeting on July 2-3. INTERNATIONAL TRADE Thursday, June 20, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The MMS median forecast says that the trade deficit for goods and services likely narrowed to $8.7 billion in April, from $8.9 billion in March. Exports, which fell in March, are projected to have rebounded in April. Imports, which increased in March, probably hit another record in April. Still, the U.S. trade deficit is expected to decline through the rest of the year, as growth picks up in the industrialized economies. FEDERAL BUDGET Friday, June 21, 2 p.m.EDT -- The Treasury Dept. will probably report a budget deficit of $48 billion in May, up from $40 billion in May, 1995. In April, the U.S. posted a record surplus of $72.4 billion. Individuals paid a record amount of taxes because of capital gains from last year's stock market boom and the final installment of the 1993 tax hike on wealthy households. The April inflow prompted the Congressional Budget Office to trim its forecast of the fiscal 1996 deficit to just $130 billion, down from the actual $164 billion shortfall in 1995.
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