This week, all eyes will be on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's semi-annual testimony before Congress for hints of additional easing at the coming Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

This will be Bernanke's first opportunity to discuss how the soft June data -- ISM manufacturing, retail sales and jobs report - will impact the Fed's thinking about further easing.

Economists look for Bernanke to echo the FOMC's dovish sentiment, but stop short of committing to any particular policy changes. He also will likely discuss recent developments pertaining to the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR).

Inflation and housing data are also on tap.

In Europe, it will be a light week in terms of data releases. Attention will remain focused on the progress of short-term measures to contain the debt crisis, including the Spanish bank package and the ratification of the European Stability Mechanism.

Elsewhere, the central banks of Brazil, South Africa and Turkey will decide on their policy rates, while the central bank of Brazil will also release its meeting minutes.

Below are entries on the economic calendar from July 16 to July 20. All listed times are EDT.


8:30 a.m. - U.S. retail sales unexpectedly declined for a third straight month in June. Retail and food services sales decreased by 0.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted $401.52 billion. Gasoline stations reported the biggest drop, down 1.8 percent. Excluding gasoline, retail sales were down 0.3 percent last month.

8:30 a.m. -- The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Empire State Manufacturing Index rebounded to 7.4 in July, reversing a sharp fall in June that took the reading to just 2.29.

10:00 a.m. - Inventories in the U.S. rose more than forecast in May as sales declined for a second month. The 0.3 percent increase in May followed a revised 0.3 percent gain in April that was smaller than initially estimated.

3:30 p.m. -- Treasury auctions 13-week and 26-week bonds.

7:30 p.m. -- Kansas City Fed President Esther George (non-voter) speaks on Monetary Policy and Farmland Values at the Kansas City Fed's 2012 Agricultural Symposium.


Japan  -- Markets closed in observance of Marine Day holiday.

France -- Lower House of Parliament reviews the supplementary budget bill (to July 18).

Austria - June HICP.

E17 - June HICP, final reading.

E17 - May trade balance.

New Zealand - Q2 CPI.


8:30 a.m. - Consumer prices are expected to remain flat in June after dropping by 0.3 percent in May - the first monthly decline since May 2010. The annual headline inflation rate is expected to run 1.6 percent in June. Excluding the volatile food and energy prices, the so-called core CPI should rise a modest 0.2 percent monthly. Economists expect the year-on-year core inflation rate to soften to 2.2 percent, from 2.3 percent in the prior month.

9:00 a.m. - Net long-term TIC flows for May.

9:15 a.m. - Industrial production is likely to rise 0.3 percent in June, after falling 0.1 percent in May. This would bring the capacity utilization rate up to 79.2 percent in June from May's 79 percent.

10:00 a.m. -- The U.S. Senate Banking Committee will receive the semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who will also discuss recent developments pertaining to the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR).

10:00 a.m. - Economists expect the NAHB housing market index to increase to 30 in early July, from 29 in June.

1:15 p.m. -- Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto (voter) speaks at the Economic Research Institute of Erie Conference, The Skills Mismatch Problem: How Bad Is It, and What Can We Do About It?

3:30 p.m. -- Treasury auctions 4-week bonds.


Canada - July interest rate announcement.

E17 - European Central Bank Executive Board member Joerg Asmussen speaks on financial sector and economic recovery in Brussels.

E17 - ZEW economic sentiment index for July.

Germany - ZEW economic sentiment index for July.

EU27 - June new car registrations.

U.K. - June CPI, RPI.


7:00 a.m. -- MBA Mortgage Index for the week ending July 14.

8:30 a.m. - Housing starts are likely to increase 5.2 percent to 745,000 in June, reversing the decline in May. Building permits, a leading indicator of future construction, jumped 8.4 percent in May, suggesting greater construction. Permits are expected to drop 2.4 percent in June.

10:00 a.m. -- The U.S. House Financial Services Committee will receive the semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

2:00 p.m. -- The Federal Reserve releases its regional Beige Book economic survey, which is published two weeks before each Federal Open Market Committee.


E17 - May construction output.

France -- Lower House of Parliament reviews the supplementary budget bill (final day).

U.K. - July Monetary Policy Committee minutes, Bank rate vote and asset purchase vote.

U.K. - Average weekly earnings, ILO unemployment rate and claimant count unemployment for May.

South Africa - June CPI.


8:30 a.m. -- Initial jobless claims are expected to edge up to 365,000 for the week ending July 14 after dropping to 350,000 in the prior week. That unexpected drop was caused by less than expected auto retooling shutdowns that generally occur this time of the year. This distortion is temporary and economists expect it to fade over the next several weeks.

10:00 a.m. - The Conference Board's index of leading indicators will likely fall 0.1 percent in June, after rising 0.3 percent in May.

10:00 a.m. - Economists expect existing home sales to rise 1.8 percent in June to 4.63 million units from 4.5 million units in May.

10:00 a.m. - The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index likely rebounded to negative 8.0 in July, after plunging to negative 16.6 in June - the lowest level in almost a year.

5:00 p.m. -- Treasury auctions 10-year TIPS.


South Africa - July interest rate announcement.

E17 - ECB non-policy meeting.

Turkey - Benchmark repo rate for July.

Germany - Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks on aid to Spain at Bundestag debate.

Japan - Index of all-industry activity for May.

E17 - ECB current account for May.

U.K. - June retail sales.


No significant events in the U.S.


E17 - Eurogroup meeting.

Italy -- Lower House of Parliament gives final approval to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the European fiscal pact (tentative).

Spain -- The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) releases new schedule for Spain bailout.

Mexico - Overnight rate for July.

Australia - Q2 export/import price index.

New Zealand - Credit card spending for June.

Germany - June PPI.

U.K. - June Public Sector Net Borrowing (PSNB) and Public Sector Net Cash Requirement (PSNCR).

Poland - June core inflation.

Argentina - Economic activity index for May.

Sources: Central banks, European Commission, Reuters, Market News, Capital Economics, Nomura.