WASHINGTON — Reports from most of the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicated that overall economic activity continued to experience moderate growth in July and early August, though the much of it is slow and certain sectors saw reverses, according to the Beige Book, released Wednesday.

"Six Districts indicated the local economy continued to expand at a modest pace and another three cited moderate growth; among the latter, Chicago noted that the pace of growth had slowed from the prior period," the Beige Book summary states. "The Philadelphia and Richmond Districts reported slow growth in most sectors and declines in manufacturing, while Boston cited mixed reports from business contacts and some slowdown since the previous report."

The districts reported mixed, but mostly positive updates on retail activity, including auto sales.

"Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, and San Francisco noted the retail improvements were small," according to the Beige Book. "Atlanta said that retail growth had slowed, while Philadelphia indicated growth in retail sales was somewhat faster than in the previous report."

All 12 districts said the housing sector was strengthening, with all citing increases in home sales, home prices, or housing construction. Manufacturing news was not as positive. "Many Districts reported some softening in manufacturing," the report states. "Either a slowdown in the rate of growth or a decline in the level of sales, output, or orders."

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