Business Information Service: This Week

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MONDAY: UK trade and current account figures for July are not expected to differ significantly from those released for June, with the trade deficit forecast at pounds 900m against pounds 992m last month. The current account is expected to show a deficit of pounds 700m against pounds 722m.

On Monday or Tuesday, the first indications of the German cost of living data for August are expected to be available from figures for the various states. Analysts forecast a 0.1 per cent rise over July, pushing the year-on-year increase up from 3.3 per cent to 3.4 per cent.

TUESDAY: Half-year results from Bridon, the wire and rope manufacturer, are expected to have suffered from a low level of demand. It is forecast to break even for the period ended 30 June, after a 7 per cent decline in turnover to pounds 150m.

British Gas is forecast to reveal a net loss of around pounds 20m in the three months to June. A dividend payout of 6.25p, up from 6p, is forecast, but a dividend cut has not been ruled out.

Interim figures from Graseby, formerly Cambridge Electronics, are likely to reflect disappointing contributions from the company's defence, controls and manufacturing operations. Pre-tax profits are forecast to decline from pounds 5.1m to pounds 4.5m for the half-year to June, on increased turnover of pounds 55m ( pounds 49.4m).

HSBC, the Hong Kong-based bank which recently won a battle for control of Midland, is expected to disclose pre-tax profits of pounds 400m after accounting for the full integration of the high street bank. It is estimated that provisions against the group's exposure to Olympia & York will be about pounds 150m.

Guardian Royal Exchange, the composite insurer, is forecast to show a reduction in pre-tax losses from pounds 87.9m to between pounds 50 and pounds 60m for the six months to June. Underwriting losses are estimated to fall by about 20 per cent to pounds 201m, while income from investment and life ease 12 and 13 per cent respectively.

WEDNESDAY: The retail group W H Smith is expected to see the benefits of its one-for-four rights issue and disposals last year reflected in its annual results to May. A 9 per cent improvement in sales is expected to complement a significant decline in interest costs to produce pre-tax profits of pounds 100m ( pounds 74m).

UK building society net new commitments for July are predicted to remain unchanged from June's pounds 3.2bn.

In the US, a rise of 0.5 per cent is forecast for durable goods orders in July, after a 2.7 per cent jump in June.

THURSDAY: Interim results from Monument Oil and Gas, the mineral exploration company, are expected to reflect low prices for crude oil in sterling terms. Net income for the six months to June are forecast to fall from pounds 3.6m to pounds 1.5m.

Preliminary second-quarter gross domestic product figures from the US are forecast to to be slightly above estimates published last month. Analysts' forecasts centre on a rise of 1.6 per cent at an annualised rate against 1.4 per cent. The GDP deflator is expected to be unchanged from the preliminary estimate at 2.4 per cent.

FRIDAY: Alan Greenspan, the US Federal Reserve Board chairman, will address a conference organised by the Kansas City Federal Reserve in Jackson, Wyoming.

Across the Channel, the French release their second-quarter GDP figures. These are forecast to show growth slowing down to a negligible 0.1 per cent, compared with a rise of 1.1 per cent in the first quarter.

Company results: County NatWest Woodmac. Median economic forecasts: MMS International.