The Week Ahead

FACTORY INVENTORIES

Tuesday, Jan. 8, 10 a.m. EST -- Manufacturing inventories probably fell 1% in November, after a ninth consecutive decline in October of 0.4%.

INSTALLMENT CREDIT

Tuesday, Jan. 8, 3 p.m. EST -- Consumers likely added $5 billion of debt in November, after piling up $7 billion of new debt in October. That's according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Since June, consumers have paid off over $10 billion of revolving credit--consisting primarily of credit card debt. Conversely, incentives by automakers and low mortgage rates have enticed consumers to pile up $23 billion of non-revolving debt over the past four months.

EXPORT-IMPORT PRICES

Thursday, Jan. 10, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Import prices in December likely dropped 0.6%, while export prices probably fell 0.3%. In November, falling oil prices pulled import prices down 1.6%. Petroleum prices have fallen 41% over the past twelve months.

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX

Friday, Jan. 11, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Producer prices of finished goods during December are forecast to have fallen 0.2%, after a 0.6% drop in November. Core prices, excluding the volatile food and energy categories, probably rose 0.1%, after a 0.2% November increase. Differences between the headline and core indexes are due to a long slide in crude-oil prices.

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