‘US economy expands modestly from mid-August’

Washington, Oct 15 (IANS) US economy continued “modest expansion” from mid-August through early October, with manufacturing remaining sluggish, a latest survey by the Federal Reserve showed on Wednesday.

The Fed’s latest Beige Book showed 11 of the central bank’s 12 districts reported growth — six districts reported modest expansion while three districts said economic activity expanded moderately, reported Xinhua.

Boston and Richmond reported activity increased, while Kansas City region noted a slight decline, according to the Beige Book.

Consumer spending, accounting for two-thirds of the economy, grew moderately, while manufacturing conditions were generally sluggish.

The survey showed a number of districts cited the strong dollar as restraining manufacturing activity as well as tourism spending and low energy prices continued to weigh down on the energy sector.

However, business contacts across the nation were generally optimistic about the near-term outlook, said the survey.

According to the survey, labor markets tightened in most districts, while prices remained fairly stable across the country.

The US Federal Reserve last month opted to delay an interest rate hike considering the low inflation environment as well as the turbulent global economic and financial market development.

Many Fed officials, including chair Janet Yellen, expected that it would be appropriate to raise interest rates later this year.

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