Week of May 8, 2011 thru May 14, 2011

US Tsy's Geithner: 'Critical' That Congress Raises Debt Limit

WASHINGTON (MNI) - The following text is U.S. Treasury Secretary
Timothy Geithner's response to Senator Bennet regarding the fiscal and
economic consequences of Congress failing to increase the debt limit.
This letter was sent to Senator Bennet Friday night:

The Honorable Michael Bennet
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Bennet:
May 13,2011

Thank you for your recent letter requesting an estimate by the
Treasury Department of the fiscal and economic consequences of failing

Obama: To Hold Annual Lease Sales in Alaska Natl Petro Reserve

--Launching Task Force to Investigate Manipulation in Energy Markets
--Repeats Call to End Energy Subsidies For Oil, Gas Companies

By Brai Odion-Esene

WASHINGTON (MNI) President Barack Obama Saturday laid out
additional plans to continue the expansion of what he called
"responsible and safe domestic oil production," and also announced
increased efforts to root out fraud and manipulation in the energy
markets that might be fueling high gasoline prices.

Citing the increase in the price of gas at the pump, now more than

US Data Preview: Low Growth For Housg Starts Keeps Sector Weak

By Joshua Newell

WASHINGTON (MNI) April Housing starts in the U.S. are expected to
increase only slightly, illustrating that even as other sectors of the
economy are growing, the housing sector remains stagnant.

Retail sales, manufacturing, and payrolls have all shown modest,
consistent gains recently implying an improving economy. The housing
market, however, continues to be a key headwind on the recovery.

According to a survey of economists by Market News International,
housing starts are projected to rise by a seasonally adjusted annual

FXWRAP: Dollar Surges As Risk Rollercoaster Ride Resumes

By Dennis Pettit

NEW YORK, May 13 (MNI) - The dollar scored hefty gains vs. the euro
Friday while holding near steady vs. the yen, as another day of shifting
sentiment toward risk assets kept financial markets churning with

Euro-dollar changed hands at $1.4110 in afternoon dealings Friday,
the euro in the lower part of its broad $1.4065/1.4305 range seen during
U.S. hours. The euro saw its highs early in the session before sliding
steadily lower in morning dealings, only to crash precipitously around
midday and set new lows for the week and month.

US Tsy's Geithner: Started Extraordinary Steps vs Debt Limit

--Extraordinary Steps to Give Congress More Time, Must Act Quickly

WASHINGTON (MNI) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announced
Friday that Treasury has begun implementing "extraordinary" steps to
avoid hitting the debt ceiling, that will be reached Monday.

In remarks on the Social Security and Medicare Trustees report,
Geithner said, "On Monday, May 16 -- just three days from today -- The
United States will reach the debt limit set by Congress. Because
Congress has not yet acted, we have now set in motion a series of

Text: New York Fed: US Monetary Auths Intervened In FX in Q1

NEW YORK (MNI) - The Federal Reserve Bank of New York Friday
released the following text regarding U.S. monetary authority
intervention in the first quarter:

"The U.S. monetary authorities intervened in the foreign exchange
markets on one occasion during the first quarter, on March 18, buying $1
billion against Japanese yen, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said
today in its quarterly report to the U.S. Congress.

During the three months that ended March 31, the dollar depreciated
5.5 percent against the euro but appreciated 2.5 percent against the

Next Wk/US: Hsing Sts, IP,FOMC Mins,Ex'ing Hms,LEI,Philly Fed

By Theresa Sheehan

PRINCETON (SMRA) - A moderate number of economic data releases are
spread out over the week ahead, with highlights probably associated
with activity in the housing market. There will also be a number of
reports pertaining to the factory sector.

Economic Data

Data for the housing market leads off with the NAHB/Wells Fargo
Housing Market Index for May at 10:00 ET on Monday. The index was 16 in
April, and has varied little for the last seven months. If there is
going to be a bump higher in housing activity this spring, it should be

Forecasters In Phil Fed Survey Lower 2011, 2012 Growth Outlk

--2011 GDP Projection Revised Down to +2.7% From Prev Estimate of +3.2%
--Expect Real GDP to Grow by 3.2% Q2 vs Prev Estimate of +3.5%
--Non-farm Payrolls Expected to Avg 191,100/Month Q2, 130,400 In 2011

By Brai Odion-Esene

WASHINGTON (MNI) - The outlook for U.S. economic growth over the
next four years has been revised downwards, with the 44 forecasters
surveyed by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank now expecting economic
activity to expand at a slower pace, according to the survey published

They do see a brighter picture for the jobs market, however,

Univ of Mich Prelim May US Cons Sentiment 72.4 Vs 69.8 In Apr

WASHINGTON (MNI) - The preliminary reading of U.S. consumer
sentiment rose in May, and above expectations, according to the
Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment survey released

The index came in at 72.4 -- above median expectations of 70.0 --
vs. the final reading of 69.8 reported at the end of last month and
March's final reading of 67.5. The consumer sentiment index was 77.5 in
February and 74.2 in January.

The index's initial reading for consumers' view of current
conditions in May was reported at 80.2 vs. 82.5 in April. The index also

MNI Forecast Competition for US April CPI Tallied

NEW YORK (MNI) - The 0.4% increase in the April U.S. Consumer Price
Index reported by the Labor Department Friday differed from the average
of entries in the ongoing three-month MNI Forecast Competition, +0.5%,
by just 0.1 point.

Forecast contest participants had delivered their estimates for
the CPI by the 10:30 ET Thursday deadline.

The next statistics to be estimated will be for Tuesday's housing
starts and industrial production reports. The deadlines for those
forecasts are 10:30 ET Monday for starts and 11:15 ET Monday for IP.