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US Data: Highlights of MNI Survey of Economic Forecasts

     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.         
Consumer Price Index for November (percent change)                       
 Wednesday, December 12 at 8:30 a.m. ET                  Actual:        
              Median         Range                   Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
 CPI            Flat     Flat to +0.1%                  --  +0.3%  +0.1% 
 CPI Core      +0.2%    +0.2% to +0.2%                  --  +0.2%  +0.1%
     Comments: The CPI is expected to hold steady in November after a 
0.3% gain in October. A sharp pull back in gasoline prices, as evidenced 
by the monthly AAA data, will be the key factor. The core CPI is 
forecast to rise 0.2%, the same as in the previous month. 
Weekly Jobless Claims for December 8 week                                
 Thursday, December 13 at 8:30 a.m. ET                   Actual:       
               Median         Range                  Dec08  Dec01  Nov24
 Weekly Claims   227k     215k to 237k                  --   231k   235k
     Comments: The level of initial jobless claims is expected to fall 
by 4,000 to a 227,000 level in the December 8 week after a decrease of 
4,000 to 231,000 level in the previous week, putting claims back into 
their previous trend range. The four-week moving average would fall by 
1,500 in the coming week as the 221,000 level in the November 10 rolls 
out of the calculation, assuming the MNI forecast is correct and there 
are no revisions. 
Treasury Statement for November ($ billions)                           
 Thursday, December 13 at 2:00 p.m ET                   Actual:        
             Median           Range              Nov18    Oct18    Nov17
 Balance   -$190.5b  -$196.0b to -$185.0b           -- -$100.5b -$138.5b
     Comments: The US Treasury is expected to post a $190.5 billion 
budget gap in November, larger than the $138.5 billion gain in November 
2017. December 1 was a Saturday in the current year, so some outlays 
shifted into November and will create a larger budget gap as a result. 
Retail and Food Sales for November (percent change)                       
 Friday, December 14 at 8:30 a.m. ET                     Actual:        
               Median         Range                  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
 Retail Sales   +0.1%    -0.2% to +0.6%                 --  +0.8%  -0.1%
 Ex-Mtr Veh     +0.1%    -0.2% to +0.5%                 --  +0.7%  -0.1%
     Comments: Retail sales are forecast to rise only 0.1% in November 
after a stronger than expected 0.8% gain in October. Not seasonally 
adjusted industry motor vehicle sales slipped in November, while AAA 
reported that gasoline prices fell sharply in mid-November from one 
month earlier. Retail sales are expected to also rise 0.1% excluding 
motor vehicles after a 0.7% jump in October. 
Industrial Production for November (percent change)
 Friday, December 14 at 9:15 a.m. ET                     Actual:        
              Median          Range                  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
 Ind Prod      +0.5%     +0.3% to +0.7%                 --  +0.1%  +0.2% 
 Cap Util      78.7%     78.5% to 78.8%                 --  78.4%  78.5% 
     Comments: Industrial production is expected to rise 0.5% in 
November after a 0.1% rise in October. Factory payrolls rose by 27,000 
in November, but auto production jobs fell by 1,000 and the factory 
workweek was unchanged at 40.8 hours. The ISM production index rose to 
60.6 in the current month from 59.9 in the previous month. Utilities 
production is expected to rebound modestly in the month after a 0.5% 
decline in October, while mining production is forecast to return to 
their increasing trend after two straight decline, though falling oil 
prices are a downside risk. Capacity utilization is forecast to rise to 
78.7% from 78.4% in October. 
Business Inventories for October (percent change)                      
 Friday, December 14 at 10:00 a.m. ET                    Actual:        
              Median           Range                 Oct18  Sep18  Aug18
 Inventories   +0.6%      +0.6% to +0.7%                --  +0.3%  +0.5%
     Comments: Business inventories are expected to rise by 0.6% in 
October. Factory inventories were already reported as up 0.1% in the 
month, while wholesale inventories rose 0.8%, and the advance report 
showed retail inventories rose by 0.9%. Taken together, an MNI 
calculation looks for a 0.6% increase for business inventories at this 
point, so the median forecast suggests analysts see no revision to 
retail inventories. As for sales, factory shipments fell 0.1% and 
wholesale sales were down 0.2%, while the advance estimate for retail 
trade sales was a 0.9% surge, so the data suggest business sales were up 
0.2% in the month pending any revision to retail trade sales.
--MNI Washington Bureau; +1 (973) 494-2611; email:

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