Key economic events for the week of May 20

This week brings new data about the housing market and durable goods orders. The minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting are also released, which could provide more insight into policymakers’ outlook for the economy.

Tuesday

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testifies before the Senate Banking Committee. He will discuss the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s annual report, released in April.

Wednesday

At 10 a.m., Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke testifies before the Joint Economic Committee about the country’s economic outlook. Later in the day, the Fed releases the minutes of its April 30 meeting. After that meeting, the Fed did not announce any change to its policy of keeping interest rates low. Fed officials continue to debate how long they should maintain that stance.

Also at 10 a.m., April’s existing home sales numbers are released. The number of sales
is expected to be just under
5 million, an increase of 1.4 percent from March. Existing home sales fell short of analysts’ expectations last time, as housing inventory struggled to keep up with increased demand across the country.

Lew testifies before the House Financial Services Committee.

Thursday

The Federal Housing Finance Agency releases its home price index for March. Home prices are expected to continue their upward trajectory, with an increase of 0.8 percent. They were up 0.7 percent in February.

More housing statistics follow this morning with the release of April’s new-home-sales figures at 10 a.m. They are forecast to increase almost 2 percent, to 425,000, as construction starts to pick up this season. New home sales rose 1.5 percent in March.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi speaks about Europe’s future in the global economy in London.

Weekly jobless claims are expected to fall to 346,000, from 360,000 last week.

Friday

Durable goods orders for April are out at 8:30 a.m. Analysts expect orders to increase 1.7 percent. The figure fell by nearly 6 percent in March following a decline in aircraft orders.

Amrita Jayakumar covers federal government contracting for Capital Business, The Post's local business publication.
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