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Obama to Deliver Major Economic Speech

The head of the U.S. central bank says the sharp economic decline may be slowing down.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says recent data on the housing industry and consumer spending show some improvement.

In remarks prepared for a college audience, Bernanke said the U.S. economy faces no problems that can not be overcome with "insight, patience and persistence."

A government report out Tuesday may test the Fed chairman's patience because it shows a 1.1 percent drop in retail sales in March. Economists were expecting a slight gain. They track retail sales closely because consumer demand drives most U.S. economic activity.

U.S. President Barack Obama is to deliver a major speech on the economy Tuesday, as his administration works to reverse the recession.

The White House says the president will update the nation about his efforts to heal the ailing economy, and discuss what still must be done to get the economy moving again.

When Mr. Obama took office in January, he inherited the worst financial crisis to hit the United States since the Great Depression.

Since then, his administration has approved billions of dollars in stimulus funds to try to jump-start the economy and stabilize major banks that were on the verge of collapse.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.