The Week Ahead
CONSUMER CREDIT Monday, Sept. 9, 3 p.m.EDT -- Consumers probably took on an additional $7.3 billion in new debt in July, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Installment debt had increased by a hefty $8.3 billion in June. Consumers continue their love affair with credit cards despite higher delinquency rates and rising bankruptcies. BEIGE BOOK Wednesday, Sept. 11, 12 noonEDT -- The Federal Reserve's report from its district banks will contain anecdotal evidence of how regional economies are doing. The beige book is being prepared in advance of the next monetary-policy meeting, scheduled for Sept. 24. Economists will be looking for hints from the Fed that the widening shortage of skilled workers is leading to higher wage pressures. PRODUCER PRICE INDEX Thursday, Sept. 12, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The producer price index for finished goods likely increased 0.2% in August, after no change in July, says the MMS report. Excluding food and energy, producer prices probably also rose 0.2%, on top of a small 0.1% increase in July. Fuel costs may begin to increase in later months because the U.S. conflict with Iraq has pushed up crude-oil prices. CONSUMER PRICE INDEX Friday, Sept. 13, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Consumer prices likely rose 0.3% in August, as higher food prices began to appear at the grocery store. Excluding food and energy, the core CPI likely was up 0.2%. In July, both the total CPI and the core rate increased 0.3%. RETAIL SALES Friday, Sept. 13, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Retail sales probably rose a solid 0.8% in August. That's suggested by the gains reported by weekly surveys of chain stores and the bounceback in motor vehicle sales. Excluding cars, sales likely rose 0.6% last month. In July, overall retail sales edged up just 0.1%. Excluding cars, they advanced a healthier 0.3%.
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