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US economy grows steadily through fall, inflation eases a bit: Fed

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A routine Federal Reserve (Fed) survey has found that the US economy grew steadily through the fall and inflation eased a bit, but many businesses expressed ‘greater uncertainty or increased pessimism’ about the outlook toward the end of the year. The survey, called the Beige Book, painted a somewhat cloudier view of the economy compared to earlier this year.

The Fed said economic growth was ‘flat or up slightly’ since the last Beige Book report. More businesses said they were worried about a potential recession in 2023.

Consumer spending held steady or even rose for services such as travel, but manufacturers turned in a mixed performance. Five regional Fed banks reported somewhat faster economic growth, but the rest either saw no increase or experienced slight declines.

“The pace of price increases slowed,” in response to weaker demand and easing supply-chain bottlenecks, the Beige Book said. Retailers, in particular, had to cut price in some cases to sell off an excess of goods.

Further progress was likely to be slow, however. “Inflation was expected to hold steady or moderate further moving forward,” it said.

The increase in US inflation in the 12 months to October stood at 7.7 per cent—down from a 40-year high of 9.1 per cent in June.

The survey covers the duration from early October to the third week of November. The United States has 12 Federal Reserve banks blanketing the country.

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