It is decision time for the Federal Open Market Committee, which is scheduled to revisit its policy plans this week. After Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s speech last week at a central banking conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., many expect additional action. But what form it will take is less clear.


At 3 p.m., the Federal Reserve releases the latest data on consumer credit in the United States, which is projected to total $9.1 trillion. The housing numbers are widely predicted to be positive, as that sector recovers, but student loans and credit card debt remain sources of worry.


At 8:30 a.m., the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the Commerce Department releases the latest international trade statistics, expected to show a $44.4 billion deficit. A lower euro is hurting exports to that region, but China pulled back some on its management of the Chinese currency, which could result in more balanced trade with East Asia.


Another trade-heavy day, as import price data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis is released at 8:30 a.m. Analysts expects 1.3 percent growth in the prices.


This is the big day for the Fed, when it announces policy plans at 12:30 p.m., releases forecasts at 2 p.m. and holds a Bernanke news conference at 2:15 p.m. Analysts expect the interest rates that banks are charged to remain unchanged at 0.25 percent, but other action may occur.

Meanwhile, the Treasury releases its monthly budget statement, and analysts expect it to project a $157.5 billion deficit. The producer price index, which measures inflation for businesses, is expected to show 1.7 percent annual growth. Jobless claims figures are also due out.


The big news is consumer price index numbers, a measure of inflation, are due out at 8:30 a.m. The Census Bureau also releases retail sales figures, and the Fed’s industrial production numbers are due to come out as well.

Dylan Matthews

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