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Weekly Economic Report 4.19.24

Another week, another much stronger than expected economic signal with retail sales for March well above consensus forecasts – and large upward revisions to January and February lifting growth predictions, interest rates, and the dollar significantly. Yet, despite the revisions, the data still show a deep weather-generated hole in January retail activity, which was barely filled by the rebound in February and March – leaving first quarter retail sales up 0.2% annualized in nominal terms. Given the CPI for commodities fell at an -0.6% annual rate in the first quarter, that suggests this one-third of the economy will be a drag in real terms, at 0.8% annualized, compared to current estimates of 2.5%-3% for real GDP.

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