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Business week ahead: housing, inflation and the Fed

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s remarks at the Fed’s Economic Symposium in Jackson Hole on Friday cap a full week of economic data.

Monday

Surveys in August of purchasing managers in some of the world’s largest economies – including the US – will provide the latest clues as to how the rapid spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19 is affecting economic activity. Economists expect a slight slowdown in service sector expansion in both the US and Europe and a decline in activity in Japan and Australia.

US home prices hit a record high in June amid a housing boom that saw low mortgage rates and strong demand contrasted with limited homes for sale. Economists forecast a slight decline in existing home sales in July to an annual pace of 5.83 million from 5.86 million a month earlier, as price and supply restrictions deter more potential buyers from the market.

Thursday

US jobless claims fell to a new pandemic low in the second week of August, a sign that the labor market is continuing to improve despite rising Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions. Economists are forecasting little change in jobless claims claims for the week ending August 21, a finding that suggests layoffs will remain fairly stable over the summer.

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