The risk to crops and farms won't be as significant if it loses force, ... When you look at the lessons from Katrina, the eventual damage to agriculture was less than feared. The department of agriculture actually revised up its estimates of production in the state after Katrina passed.
There is an imbalance in terms of the demand and supply of energy which continues to be satisfied, or is increasingly satisfied, by external sources of energy products. Now we have a situation that has been every more complicated because of a domestic supply shock.
This is in line with our expectation that demand for new housing would 'cool off' towards the end of 2005 and in early 2006 as higher short-term interest rates, driven by the Fed, would ultimately translate into higher long-term borrowing rates.
In terms of economic growth, the fundamentals are clearly on the side of the U.S.. We don't think there's going to be a lot of additional momentum, but even if (the dollar) treads water, it's still going to be an attractive investment.
While the record drop in the top level index spells welcome relief from the painful post-hurricane energy price spikes in September, continued pressure on the core index over the next several months will keep the Federal Reserve vigilant on the inflation watch.
Core producer price inflation generally has been behaving quite well. We think there's going to be some modest upward pressure as energy prices feed through the system, but it's not going to be a persistent or lengthy problem.
We're definitely going to see a very strong first quarter. It looked like consumers were hibernating in December, and all they needed was an excuse to go on a spending spree. The weather provided that.