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Breaking News

PPI Up 1/10 Percent; CPPI Down 3/10 Percent; Housing Starts Down 4/10 Percent

Aired March 16, 2001 - 8:30 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: We've got some breaking news however out of the Chicago Board of Trade right now.

Lisa Leiter has some important information for us -- Lisa.

LISA LEITER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Carol.

Well, we've just got the producer price index for the month of February. It is up 1/10 percent. That is pretty much in line with expectations. Economists were looking for an unchanged reading. So that's just slightly above expectations.

The core producer price index, the core rate of wholesale inflation, that excludes those volatile food and energy costs. That was actually down 3/10 percent. And that is weaker than expectations.

So here in the bond market, which worries very much about inflation, these numbers will likely go over quite well, indicating that inflation not a problem, and that the greatest threat to our economy is likely recession, not inflation.

We also got a report this morning, housing starts for the month of February. They fell 4/10 percent to 1.64 million units. That's an annual rate. And that is greater than expectations, indicating perhaps that the housing market is showing resilience in this economic slowdown, as evidenced in other reports on the housing market we've gotten recently.

There's not too much of reaction here in the treasury markets of the Chicago Board of Trade so far.

Carol, back to you.

LIN: All right, thank you very much, Lisa Leiter, at the Chicago Board of Trade. Very interesting how this might impact Alan Greenspan's decision next week to raise or lower interest rates.

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