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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Wells Fargo's Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary- March 16, 2012

- Retail sales have bounced back following a weak end to 2011, rising 0.6% month-over-month in January and 1.1% in February.

. While over a third of the February increase was driven by gasoline station sales, retail sales excluding gasoline were up 0.8%, the biggest increase since October.

- Industrial production was flat in February after rising an upwardly revised 0.4% in January.

. Manufacturing slowed to the weakest pace in three months due to declines in auto and utilities production.

- Although import prices rose 0.4% in February after two months of no change, the annual rate of change fell from 6.9% to 5.5%.

. Rising petroleum and industrial supply prices were countered by the biggest drop in food prices in three years, and excluding petroleum import prices actually declined 0.2%.

- Producer prices rose 0.4% in February, the most in five months, although prices rose just 3.3% year-over-year, the smallest increase since August 2010.

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