The Week Ahead
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX Tuesday, Apr. 15, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Consumer prices of goods and services probably increased a small 0.2% in March, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Prices rose 0.3% in February. Excluding food and energy, the core consumer price index was likely up 0.3% in March, on top of a 0.2% gain in February. BUSINESS INVENTORIES Tuesday, Apr. 15, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Inventories held by manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers likely increased 0.3% in February. Factories already have reported a 0.4% gain in their stock levels, but the sharp increase in consumer demand last quarter suggests that retail inventories were drawn down in February. In January, business inventories were up just 0.1%. HOUSING STARTS Wednesday, Apr. 16, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The MMS survey projects that housing starts slipped to an annual rate of 1.46 million in March, after surging 12.2% in February, to a 1.53 million pace. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION Wednesday, Apr. 16, 9:15 a.m.EDT -- Output at factories, mines, and utilities probably increased 0.5% in March, the same solid increase posted in February, says the MMS report. The March advance is suggested by the increase in hours worked in the factory sector. Consequently, the average operating rate for all industry likely edged up to 83.5% in March, from 83.3% in February. INTERNATIONAL TRADE Thursday, Apr. 17, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The trade deficit for goods and services probably narrowed to $11 billion in February, after jumping to $12.7 billion in January. Exports probably increased slightly after falling for two consecutive months. And imports likely fell after advancing 2.2% in January. The foreign-trade sector of the economy probably subtracted heavily from growth in the first quarter.
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