The week ahead -- March 12 to March 16 -- will feature the Federal Open Market Committee meeting and three inflation reports for February: import prices, the producer price index (PPI) and the consumer price index (CPI).

Below are other entries on the economic calendar:

Monday

Greece: Private creditors' swap transactions.*

5:00 a.m.* -- Italy: Final reading on fourth-quarter GDP. Economists call for a contraction of 0.7 percent.

7:45 a.m.* -- Belgium: Central Bank Governor Coene speaks on Belgium financial administration in Brussels.*

12:00 p.m.* -- E17: Euro zone finance ministers' meeting.*

2:00 p.m. -- Treasury budget balance for February is expected to come in at a deficit of $229 billion, bringing the federal budget deficit to $578 billion for the first five months of the current fiscal year.

Tuesday

Japan: Central Bank of Japan to keep March target rate at one percent.*

4:00 a.m.* -- E27: The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) meeting.

6:00 a.m.* -- Germany: ZEW economic expectations index for March.

6:00 a.m.* -- E17: ZEW economic sentiment index for March.

6:45 a.m.* -- Finland: Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen and former European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet speak at a seminar on the Future of Europe.

7:30 a.m.* -- E17: European Union President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso speak to the European Parliament about the last EU summit.

7:30 a.m.* -- E17: ECB President Mario Draghi speaks on The challenges of competitiveness in Paris.

8:30 a.m. - Retail sales in February is likely to increase one percent, largely due to strong gains in the auto and gasoline components. The former is consistent with the increase in reported unit sales and the latter reflects the rise in prices. Excluding autos, economists are looking for a rise of 0.7 percent in retail sales.

10:00 a.m. -- Business inventories for January is expected to rise by 0.5 percent after a gain of 0.4 percent recorded in December.

11:00 a.m.* -- Italy: Prime Minister Mario Monti and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss latest developments in the euro zone debt crisis in Rome.

12:30 a.m.* -- France: Finance Minister Francois Baroin and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble discuss on How to exit the crisis & restore growth in Paris.

2:15 p.m. -- FOMC rate decision, no press conference, just a statement. Economists do not expect any major changes to the stance of monetary policy at the March 13 FOMC meeting. Economists believe the Fed will not announce any sort of quantitative easing, whether sterilized or not, at this meeting, unless the economic data worsen notably and Operation Twist winds down. The Fed will also reiterate that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014.

Wednesday

5:30 a.m.* -- Portugal: Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar speaks on the third review of Portugal's financial aid program at Parliamentary Commission.

6:00 a.m.* -- E17: Industrial production for January.

7:00 a.m. -- MBA mortgage index.

8:00 a.m.* -- E17: ECB Executive board member Peter Praet speaks at the Collateral Solutions Conference in Paris.

8:30 a.m. -- Import prices likely to have climbed 0.5 percent in February, reflecting a gain in petroleum prices and a small rise in other prices. The restraining effects of the U.S. dollar appreciation last year should fade, as the dollar has weakened in the first two months of 2012.

8:30 a.m. -- Export prices for February should have risen by 0.2 percent, matching the gain in January.

8:30 a.m. -- Current account balance report is expected to show deficit widened modestly to $114.1 billion in the fourth quarter from $110.3 billion in the previous quarter. A deficit occurs when the U.S.'s total imports are greater than its total exports, which makes the U.S. a net debtor to the rest of the world.

9:00 a.m. -- Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke (FOMC voter) speaks at the Independent Community Bankers of America 2012 national convention in Nashville.

1:00 p.m.* -- Germany: Chancellor Merkel speaks on German Economy in Heidelberg.

Thursday

4:00 a.m.* -- E17: Euromoney conference in Luxembourg.

4:45 a.m.* -- E17: ECB publishes monthly bulletin for March.

5:00 a.m.* -- Finland: CB Governor Erkki Liikanen speaks on monetary policy and global economy in Helsinki.

6:00 a.m.* -- E17: Euro zone employment for fourth-quarter 2011.

8:30 a.m. - PPI for February. Economists are looking for a 0.4 percent month-on-month increase in the headline producer price index, due to strong gains in gasoline, fuel oil and a 0.2 percent gain in the core PPI.

8:30 a.m. -- Initial jobless claims should drop to 356k for the week ending March 10, after ticking up to 362k in the prior week, suggesting that labor market momentum is holding steady.

8:30 a.m. -- Empire manufacturing index is set to rise to 22.0 in March, following a higher-than-expected print of 19.5 in February, which indicates a positive growth trend in manufacturing activity.

8:30 a.m. -- The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey has increased in the past three months and economists believe this trend will continue, forecasting a rise to 12.0 in March after a reading of 10.2 in February.

9:00 a.m.* -- Netherlands: CB Governer Klaas Knot speaks at VU University Amsterdam.

2:30 p.m.* -- Austria: CB Governor Ewald Nowotny speaks in Vienna.

Friday

6:00 a.m.* -- E17: ECB Executive board member Jose Manuel González-Páramo speaks at Finance meeting in Spain.

6:00 a.m.* -- E17: Trade balance.

7:00 a.m.* -- Germany: Chancellor Merkel speaks at a conference with German Industry Associations in Munich.

8:00 a.m.* -- Finland: CB Governor Liikanen speaks on European integration in Helsinki.

8:30 a.m. -- February CPI report. Headline figure is expected to rise 0.4 percent, a noticeable pickup from the 0.2 percent monthly pace in January. Gasoline prices surged nearly 6 percent on the month. This jump should more than offset the 15 percent drop in natural gas prices, since gasoline's weight in the CPI is more than five times as large. Core CPI inflation, excluding food and energy, is expected to rise 0.2 percent, similar to January's pace.

9:15 a.m. -- Industrial production likely have risen 0.4 percent in February. Manufacturing output is expected to post a 0.3 percent gain, which is smaller than the 0.7 percent rise in January.

9:15 a.m. -- Capacity utilization, which measures the extent to which an enterprise or a nation actually uses its installed productive capacity, is expected to increase to 78.8 percent in February, up from the 78.5 percent recorded in January.

9:55 a.m. -- Economists forecast the Michigan consumer sentiment to decline to 74.0 in the preliminary March reading, from 75.3 in the final February reading, negatively affected by the sharp increase in gasoline prices.

11:00 a.m.* -- France: CB Governor Christian Noyer speaks at a central banking conference in Paris.

1:00 p.m. -- Chicago Fed President Charles Evans (non-voting member) speaks to the International Research Forum on Monetary Policy in Frankfurt.

 

* Indicates non-U.S. event or release

All listed times are Eastern Daylight time. Dates and times are subject to change.

Source: Central banks, IMF, European Commission, Reuters, Market News, Barclays Capital, Bank of America Merrill Lynch.