The Week Ahead

INSTALLMENT CREDIT
      Tuesday, July 8, 3 p.m.EDT -- Consumers probably added $5 billion more in new 
      credit than they paid off in May, according to the median forecast of 
      economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. The 
      expected gain is lower than the $7.6 billion added in April and the $7 billion 
      monthly rate averaged in the first quarter. The borrowing slowdown is suggested 
      by weak retail buying in the second quarter, especially for cars. Big increases 
      in debt in 1996 have led some economists to suggest that many households are 
      tapped out and will hold off on borrowing more until their existing debts are 
      paid down. However, steady job and income gains suggest that consumers will 
      resume spending at a more robust pace in the second half of 1997. If so, 
      installment credit may well pick up again.
      
      UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
      Thursday, July 10, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- New claims for state unemployment benefits 
      probably amounted to about 300,000 for the week ended July 5. That number is 
      quite below the rate of about 340,000 averaged in the four weeks ended June 21. 
      But state-office closings for observance of Independence Day mean that 
      benefits-seekers had one less day to file claims in early July. In March, 
      claims had fallen to one of the lowest levels in this expansion. But since then 
      they have edged up, lifted by flooding in the Midwest and auto strikes.
      
      PRODUCER PRICE INDEX
      Friday, July 11, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The MMS survey forecasts that producer prices 
      of finished goods were unchanged in June, and that core prices, which exclude 
      food and energy, rose just 0.1%. Continued declines in the wholesale cost of 
      motor vehicles are expected to have offset price gains in other goods. In May, 
      total producer prices and core prices each unexpectedly fell by 0.3%. This sign 
      of a complete absence of inflationary pressures in the production process 
      touched off big rallies in the financial markets.
      

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