The Week Ahead
INTERNATIONAL TRADE Tuesday, Aug. 20, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The foreign trade deficit for goods and services likely narrowed in June to $9.3 billion, from an unexpectedly large $10.9 billion in May. That's the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Exports, which increased 1.1% in May, are expected to have risen further, while imports probably fell back after climbing strongly for three months in a row. FOMC MEETING Tuesday, Aug. 20 -- By a wide margin, the MMS economists expect no action at the policy meeting of the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee. That means the Fed will keep its target for the federal funds rate--the cost of overnight borrowing by member banks--at 5.25%. The central bank last moved short-term interest rates on Jan. 31, when it cut the fed funds rate by a quarter-point. The consensus view among economists now is that any future move will be to raise rates. FEDERAL BUDGET Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2 p.m.EDT -- The Treasury Dept. will probably announce a budget deficit of $25 billion in July. In July, 1995, the deficit totaled just $13.6 billion, but that's because the first of the month fell on Saturday and Social Security checks were sent out in late June, 1995. The deficit is on track to end fiscal 1996 below $120 billion, from $164 billion in 1995. But on Aug. 12, the Congressional Budget Office released a report warning that federal red ink would begin to flow faster again in 1997 and reach $285 billion by 2002 if no changes are made to fiscal policy. DURABLE GOODS ORDERS Friday, Aug. 23, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- New orders taken by durable-goods manufacturers likely rebounded by 1% in July, after dropping 0.6% in June. Rising demand for motor vehicles likely led the gain. Unfilled orders, which rose 0.6% in May and June, probably increased again in July.
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