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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