Link Securities | The Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book indicates that overall economic activity and the economic outlook have remained broadly unchanged in recent weeks in most districts, although two districts saw a deterioration in their future outlook. The report noted that consumer spending and manufacturing posted flat or slightly lower growth, although auto sales were steady and travel and tourism rebounded. Banks also recorded a tightening of their lending standards, increased uncertainty, and liquidity concerns. In addition, they noted falling volumes of credit demand and lending, both consumer and business-related.
Prices also increased moderately in the period and rates of price increases slowed down. However, consumer prices rose across the board, due to still high demand, large inventories and labour costs. Residential real estate sales and new construction activity softened and, while house prices and rents were flat in most districts, they remain near their record highs. There was little new in the report, which continues to reflect a global narrative of disinflation, a strong labour market, and reasonably resilient consumer demand.