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The Week Ahead


RETAIL SALES

Thursday, Feb. 13, 8:30 a.m. EST -- January retail sales were most likely unchanged, while sales excluding vehicles are expected to have increased 0.4%. That's according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International. In December, retail sales jumped 1.2% on surprisingly strong vehicle sales, while sales excluding autos were flat. Consumers continued to spend in 2002, with annual retail sales rising 3.4%.

EXPORT-IMPORT PRICES

Thursday, Feb. 13, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Import prices in January probably climbed 0.6%, following a 0.7% gain. Higher crude oil prices are the main culprit for the recent jumps. Export prices most likely slipped 0.1%, after a 0.2% decline from December.

BUSINESS INVENTORIES

Friday, Feb. 14, 8:30 a.m. EST -- December inventories are expected to have risen by 0.2% for the second consecutive month.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

Friday, Feb. 14, 9:15 a.m. EST -- Factory output in January probably rose 0.2%, reversing a 0.2% decline in the previous month. The average operating rate most likely inched up to 75.5%, from 75.4% in December.


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