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The Week Ahead


RETAIL SALES

Wednesday, Mar. 13, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Retail sales in February probably rose 0.3%, after slipping 0.2% in January. That's based on the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Excluding vehicles, February sales likely rose 0.4%.

BUSINESS INVENTORIES

Thursday, Mar. 14, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Inventories most likely shrunk 0.2% in January, after falling 0.4% in December.

EXPORT-IMPORT PRICES

Thursday, Mar. 14, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Import prices in February are projected to have risen 0.2% while export prices probably held steady.

CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT

Thursday, Mar. 14, 10 a.m. EST -- The U.S. current account deficit probably fell in the fourth quarter to $70 billion, after declining to $95 billion in the third quarter.

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX

Friday, Mar. 15, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Producer prices of finished goods in February are forecast to have inched up 0.1%, after a 0.1% gain in January. Excluding food and energy, core prices probably rose by 0.1% as well, after declining 0.1% in January.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

Friday, Mar. 15, 9:15 a.m. EST -- Factory output during February probably rose for the first time in seven months, by 0.1%. The average operating rate in February very likely held steady at 74.2%. With inventories depleted, production is picking up.


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