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Fed's Beige Book Indicates Continued Economic Expansion

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Two weeks ahead of the next monetary policy meeting, the Federal Reserve released its Beige Book economic report on Wednesday.

The Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in the twelve Fed districts, said economic activity continued to expand across the U.S.

Ten of the twelve Fed districts reported moderate or modest growth, while the Dallas district reported strong growth due to strength in the energy sector and the St. Louis district described growth as slight.

The Fed noted manufacturers across the country expressed concern about tariffs, with many districts citing new trade policies for higher prices and supply disruptions.

Overall, prices increased at a modest to moderate pace on average, with several districts reporting upticks in inflation.

The Beige Book noted employment continued to rise at a modest to moderate pace in most districts. All districts reported that labor markets were tight and many said that the inability to find workers constrained growth, the Fed added.

The central bank said contacts in several districts reported slow growth in existing home sales but were not overly concerned about rising interest rates.

The Fed is scheduled to hold a two-day meeting policy meeting on July 31st and August 1st, with the central bank widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged.

After raising rates twice this year to the current range of 1.75 to 2 percent, the Fed has signaled two more rate hikes before the end of the year.

Following testimony by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday, Andrew Hunter, U.S. Economist at Capital Economics, predicted the Fed would raise rates in September and December and twice more in early 2019.

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