Will This Week's Data Bring Fed Closer To Higher Rates?

By John S. McClenahen Federal agencies are set to do an economic data dump this week, and depending upon what the numbers are, the U.S. could move closer to higher interest rates. On April 13, the U.S. Commerce Department is slated to report March retail sales and February business inventories. On the 14th, Commerce is to release the February trade balance and the Labor Department is set to report the March Consumer Price Index. Thursday will bring the latest figure on initial jobless claims from the Labor Department. And on April 16 the Commerce Department is scheduled to report March housing starts and the Federal Reserve is to release industrial production and capacity utilization numbers for March. "We expect the data to again signal strengthening job markets, solid consumer demand, and steady, possibly even higher, inflation," says UBS Investment Research, New York. "The mixture is likely to reinforce prospects that the Fed will begin to scale back accommodation come August." In short, UBS is saying higher interest rates are in the offing.

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