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The Week Ahead


Business Outlook

THE WEEK AHEAD

INSTALLMENT CREDIT Tuesday, Sept. 8

Consumers continue to pare away at their piles of debt. Economists surveyed by mms International, a division of McGraw-Hill Inc., expect that installment credit fell by $1 billion in July. That would be the sixth consecutive drop, including a $1 billion decline in June. Slumping car sales suggest that auto financing likely fell again. That would offset a probable small gain in revolving credit.

CAPITAL SPENDING Thursday, Sept. 10, 8:30 a.m.

The Commerce Dept.'s survey of capital-spending plans, done in July and August, will likely show little change from the previous report completed in the spring. Companies probably still plan to raise their investments on new plant and equipment by 4.7% for all of 1992. However, the biggest increases were slated for the first and second quarters. The second half of this year will see only a meager gain. Capital spending dropped by 0.6% in 1991.

MONEY SUPPLY Thursday, Sept. 10, 4:45 p.m.

The MMS economists expect that the most widely followed measure of the money supply, M2, rose by $8 billion in August, after falling by $2.8 billion in July. M2 growth, however, remains far short of the Federal Reserve's target growth rates of 2.5% and 6.5%. In fact, even with the expected gain in August, M2 would be about $28 billion below the lower end of the target range.

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX Friday, Sept. 11, 8:30 a.m.

Producer prices of finished goods probably increased by just 0.2% in August, after a 0.1% gain in July. Excluding food and energy, the mms forecast also expects a 0.2% rise in prices in August. That would be the same modest advance as in July. Inflation at the producer level remains extremely tame. Over the past year, the total index is up just 1.8%. And excluding the volatile food and energy components, producer prices have grown by just 2.6%.JAMES C. COOPER AND KATHLEEN MADIGAN


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