The Week Ahead


Wednesday, Aug. 7, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Import prices during July probably fell 0.1%, while export prices most likely held steady. That's based on the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. In June, import prices slid 0.6% on a 6.6% drop in petroleum prices. Export prices in June were unchanged.


Wednesday, Aug. 7, 3 p.m. EDT -- Consumers are forecast to have added an additional $8 billion of new debt in June. Nonrevolving debt rose by $7.2 billion in May, the biggest jump since last December. Overall consumer debt rose by $9.5 billion during May.


Thursday, Aug. 8 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Producer prices of finished goods in July most likely increased by 0.1% for a second straight month. Excluding food and energy, core prices probably increased by a similar 0.1% in July, following a 0.2% increase in June.


Friday, Aug. 9, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Output per hour worked during the second quarter is expected to have slowed to an annual rate of 2.2%, while S&P's MMS forecasts quarterly unit labor costs to have increased by 1%. In the first quarter, productivity soared at an annual rate of 8.4% and unit labor costs dropped by 5.2% from the fourth quarter. Labor productivity is growing at a healthy pace, allowing for both profits and real wages to increase with little pressure on inflation.

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