The Week Ahead


Wednesday, Sept. 8, 3 p.m. EDT -- Consumers probably added $4.5 billion in new debt in July, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Consumers added only $2.8 billion in debt in June, but that followed a massive $11.7 billion increase in May. The debt binge is an expected offshoot of the ongoing consumer spending spree. With people feeling wealthier because of rising home values or stock prices, households are borrowing much moRe freely than they did earlier in the decade. As a percent of disposable income, installment debt is at a near-record 21.3%.


Thursday, Sept. 9, 10 a.m. EDT -- Prices of all exports were probably unchanged in August, after slipping 0.2% in July. Total import prices likely jumped 0.4% in August, on top of a 0.9% gain in July. Higher energy prices are lifting overall import costs. Excluding oil, import prices fell 0.1% in July, and another drop is likely for August. Thanks in part to a strong dollar, import pricEs have been falling for four years. The deflation has helped to keep overall U.S. inflation quite low.


Friday, Sept. 10, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- The S&P MMS median forecast is that producer prices for finished goods edged up 0.2% in August, lifted in part by higher energy prices. Excluding the volatile food and energy sectors, the core index likely rose 0.1% last month. In July, the overall producer price index rose 0.2%, while the core index was unchanged. Over the past year, both total producer prices and core prices have risen by less than 2%.

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