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     WASHINGTON (MNI) - The following are highlights of forecasts for   
upcoming U.S. economic indicators provided by participants in the MNI   
weekly survey. The comment section presents the key elements behind the 
median forecasts.   
Retail and Food Sales for December (percent change)                     
 Friday, January 12 at 8:30 a.m. ET                      Actual:        
               Median         Range                  Dec17  Nov17  Oct17
 Retail Sales   +0.4%     +0.2% to +0.7%                --  +0.8%  +0.5%
 Ex-Mtr Veh     +0.3%     +0.1% to +0.6%                --  +1.0%  +0.4%
     Comments: Retail sales are forecast to rise 0.4% in December after 
a sharp 0.8% increase in November. Seasonally adjusted industry motor   
vehicle sales improved overall in December, while AAA reported that     
gasoline prices declined in mid-December from one month earlier. Retail 
sales are expected to rise 0.3% excluding motor vehicles after          
November's 1.0% gain, as electronics sales were cut back by seasonal    
adjustment factors.                                                     
Consumer Price Index for December (percent change)                      
 Friday, January 12 at 8:30 a.m. ET                      Actual:        
              Median         Range                   Dec17  Nov17  Oct17
 CPI           +0.1%      Flat to +0.2%                 --  +0.4%  +0.1%
 CPI Core      +0.2%     +0.1% to +0.3%                 --  +0.1%  +0.2%
     Comments: The CPI is expected to rise 0.1% in December following a 
0.4% rise in November. Analysts expect energy prices to slip after      
October's 3.9% rebound due to gasoline prices. AAA reported a pull-back 
in mid-month prices from November to December. Food prices are expected 
to post a modest increase. The core CPI is forecast to rise 0.2%        
following a softer-than-expected 0.1% increase in October.              
Business Inventories for November (percent change)                      
 Friday, January 12 at 10:00 a.m. ET                     Actual:        
              Median           Range                 Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
 Inventories   +0.4%      +0.2% to +0.4%                --  -0.1%   Flat
     Comments: Business inventories are expected to rise 0.4% in        
November. Factory inventories were already reported as up 0.4% in the   
month, while the advance report pointed to a 0.7% gain for wholesale    
inventories and a 0.1% rise for retail inventories. Taken together, an  
MNI calculation looks for a 0.4% increase for business inventories      
before the wholesale release on January 10. As for sales, factory       
shipments were up 1.2% and the advance estimate for retail trade sales  
was a 0.8% gain, so it appears business sales will be strong this month.
--MNI Washington Bureau; +1 202-371-2121; email:
[TOPICS: M$U$$$]