THE ECONOMY

THE ECONOMY

FURTHER DECLINES SEEN

IN PRODUCER PRICESWASHINGTON - Further declines in U.S. producer prices may be in store as a result of lower energy prices, but the underlying inflation rate shows no signs of abating, economists said Friday.

Economists said the 0.2 percent March decline in producer prices reported Friday by the Labor Department indicated that the inflationary surge in

December and January from higher food and energy prices is largely over. But excluding food and energy prices, the core inflation rate at the producer level is stuck in a range of 3.5 percent to 4 percent the economists said.

US RETAIL SALES DECLINE

FOR 2ND MONTH IN ROW

WASHINGTON - Retail sales fell for the second consecutive month, dropping 0.6 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted $148.55 billion as automobile sales led the decline, the Commerce Department said.

The drop, the largest in six months, was further evidence that the economy is slowing in the eighth year of expansion, Commerce said April 12th.

The March decline was the largest since October when sales fell 1.4 percent. Last month's decline followed a revised 0.3 percent drop in February's retail sales.