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The Week Ahead


Business Week Index

THE WEEK AHEAD

INSTALLMENT CREDIT

Tuesday, Sept. 8, 3 p.m. EDT -- Consumers probably added only about $3 billion in new debt in July, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Credit had risen by a large $6.7 billion in June, but in general, installment debt increases have slowed this year. Consumers are finding new borrowing avenues, such as home equity loans.

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS

Thursday, Sept. 10, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- New claims for state unemployment benefits likely rose to about 310,000 for the week ended Sept. 5. Filings had fallen to just 297,000 in the week ended Aug. 22, the first time since mid-April that claims dropped below 300,000. Economists will be watching jobless filings for any hint that labor markets are loosening.

CURRENT ACCOUNT BALANCE

Thursday, Sept. 10, 10 a.m. EDT -- The current account deficit--a type of cash-flow statement of U.S. international business, including trade in goods and services, net investment income, and foreign transfers--likely rose to at least $50 billion in the second quarter, from $47.2 billion in the first quarter, and only $35 billion a year earlier. The widening is suggested by the steep deterioration in the merchandise trade gap. At $52 billion, the current account deficit would equal 2.5% of the economy, the highest ratio since 1988. A 3% mark is usually when questions arise about a nation's ability to finance its international obligations and its currency begins to weaken.

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX

Friday, Sept. 11, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The S&P MMS survey projects that producer prices for all finished goods were likely unchanged in August, after increasing 0.2% in July. Excluding food and energy items, prices probably edged up only 0.1% last month, the same small gain posted in July. The steep drop in import prices is holding down overall goods inflation.


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