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WHAT: Commerce Department Housing Starts, July WHEN: Tuesday 0830 EDT (1230 GMT) FORECASTS (annual rate) Reuters IFR Previous Housing Starts (units) 600,000 590,000 629,000 Building Permits (units) 605,000 600,000 617,000 IFR COMMENTARY: "Housing starts and building permits will likely consolidate their gains from recent months, with readings of 590k and 600k, respectively, for July. That would be down from the 629k and 617k seen in June, but still a bit stronger than recent trends in both series. The underlying trend in multi-unit structures remains strong, though will likely come down a bit after surging in both series. Starts should see a small retreat in single-unit structures after June's 39k jump to 453k.
The pace of new home sales remains much too low to support significant increases in single-unit construction. The inventory of new homes was down almost a quarter in June from a year earlier, however, which provides a glimmer of hope. While the much larger supply of existing homes seems stagnant and drives the overall housing market, new and existing homes aren't completely perfect substitutes, so dwindling new home inventory is a slightly positive sign." ----------------- WHAT: Labor Department Import and Export Prices, July WHEN: Tuesday 0830 EDT (1230 GMT) FORECASTS (pct) Reuters IFR Previous Import Prices -O.1 -0.7 -0.5 IFR COMMENTARY: "July import prices should see a 0.7% decline, a second straight decline to follow a 0.5% fall in June. Again petroleum should lead the way down with a third straight drop, and slightly steeper than the preceding two, which did not appear to fully capture the move in oil off its high.
Non-petroleum import prices should fall by 0.1%, a smaller fall than in June's -0.2% outcome because of a more neutral contribution from natural gas. The ex fuels index should see a second straight 0.1% decline, with the restraining influences which in June produced the first decline in this series since July 2010 still in place.
Yr/yr import prices should slip to 12.8% from 13.6%, but the 5.0% pace both ex petroleum and ex fuels will be up from 4.9% and 4.8%, respectively, in June, as even weaker year ago data drops out." ----------------- WHAT: Federal Reserve Industrial Production, July WHEN: Tuesday 0915 EDT (1315 GMT) FORECASTS (pct) Reuters IFR Previous Industrial production +0.5 +0.2 +0.2 Capacity Use Rate 76.9 76.9 76.7 IFR COMMENTARY: "We see industrial production edging up just 0.2% in July, with a miniscule 0.1% tick up in manufacturing output aided by strong utilities in a hotter-than-normal month.
The slight increase in factory production is in line with much flatter readings in sectoral surveys as well as a relatively small increase in aggregate hours worked according to the July employment report. Hours were soft in the mining subsector, while July's weather was more of a deviation from the norm than was June's, implying strong utility output. If correct, and assuming no significant revisions to prior months, that would bring the capacity utilization rate up from 76.7% to 76.9%, the strongest reading only since March. After a more-or-less steady climb from 67.3% back in June 2009, utilization has plateaued in 2011, having also started the year with a 76.9% reading. While having closed much of the ground between the recession low and historical average of about 80%, it's not an encouraging sign that the sector's growth appears to have petered out at this point." -----------------
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-- by Theodore Littleton and David Sloan of IFR Markets, a unit of Thomson Reuters.