Jeffry Bartash of MarketWatch writes Beige Book sees a ‘slightly weaker’ U.S. economy — and easing inflation. He writes:
The U.S. economy exhibited “stable” to “slightly weaker” growth in the early fall, a Federal Reserve survey found, helping to loosen up a tight labor market and ease inflation.
The Fed’s regular survey of the economy, known as the Beige Book, covered the six weeks leading up to Oct 6. It was prepared ahead of the Fed’s next meeting on Oct 31-Nov. 1.
“This report should give the doves … some additional ammunition in their arguments for the Fed to pause their rate hikes one more time in November,” said chief economist Scott Anderson of Bank of the West. […]
Higher wages, oil prices and insurance costs kept the upward pressure on inflation, the Beige Book found.
Yet businesses “struggled” to pass on cost increases to resistant consumers who have grown more sensitive to prices. The result has been falling profit margins at many firms.
“Overall, firms expect prices to increase the next few quarters, but at a slower rate than the previous few quarters,” the Fed said.
The rate of inflation rose at a 3.7% annual pace as of September, according to the most recent consumer price index. The goal of the Fed is to reduce inflation to 2%.
Read more here.