Data in the February 11 week will provide a look at some economic conditions in the first month or so of 2024. The two standouts are likely to be the January CPI data at 8:30 ET on Tuesday and monthly retail and food services sales for January at 8:30 on Thursday.

There should not be much suspense about the month-over-month and year-over-year change in the CPI for all-items and CPI excluding food and energy. The annual revisions released on February 9 were little changed from prior reports. The generally downward trajectory of price increases should be evident in the January numbers although disinflation may not be taking effect quite as quickly and/or with some bumps along the way. Fed policymakers will be keeping an eye on how prices are behaving for non-housing services.

January retail and food services sales will be slower than in December, but could start the first quarter a bit higher than expected. Although the average price per gallon of regular gasoline was down to $3.075 in January from $3.134 in December, it was low enough to perhaps send some discretionary spending into other categories. Well-controlled inventories mean that retail outlets may not have had to offer deep discounts to clear out winter merchandise and may have gotten a start on holiday merchandise sales that normally occur in February and March. Unit sales of motor vehicles started 2024 at a 15.0 million unit annual pace and will probably restrain the headline sales number.

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