We’ll receive the latest inflation readings next week, starting with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report for February on Tuesday, followed by the Producer Price Index (PPI) on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, the U.S. Census Bureau will release the latest retail sales figures, indicating whether consumer spending held up last month. Updates on the housing market will include building permits and housing starts for February, along with the NAHB’s Housing Market Index. On Friday, we’ll get the latest industrial production figures for the previous month, along with the preliminary March reading for the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index (MCSI).

Inflation Reports in the Spotlight

We’ll get the latest reports on inflation in the U.S. next week with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February due on Tuesday. Consumer prices as tracked by the CPI likely rose 0.4% last month, following a 0.5% gain in January. On an annual basis, prices are projected to have risen 6.2%, decelerating slightly from a rate of 6.4% in January. 

The Producer Price Index (PPI) tracking inflation from the standpoint of goods manufacturers and wholesalers will follow on Wednesday. Producer prices are projected to have risen 0.3% last month, following a stronger-than-expected 0.7% gain in January. On an annual basis, they were likely up 5.7%, decelerating from a 6% gain in January and compared to a 40-year high of 11.7% hit in March of last year.

Retail Sales Release

Also on Wednesday, the U.S. Census Bureau will release retail sales figures for February, indicating how consumer spending held up last month. Retail sales, which are not adjusted for inflation, likely edged 0.2% higher last month, after surging 3% in January. Despite a slowing economy, consumer spending has been resilient due to high nominal wage gains, a tight labor market, and excess savings from earlier in the pandemic that have cushioned consumers’ purchasing power.

Consumer Sentiment Reading

On Friday, the University of Michigan will release the preliminary March reading of its Consumer Sentiment Index (MCSI), providing an update on consumer confidence in the U.S. The index reading is projected to rise to 67.5 from 67 in February, which would mark the highest reading since December of 2021. Consumer sentiment has rebounded in recent months off an all-time low of 50 hit in June of last year, which surpassed previous record lows set during the Great Recession and the stagflationary era of the 1970s and early 1980s.