The “beige book,” the Federal Reserve’s latest survey of economic conditions around the country, shows further and “broad-based” deterioration in economic activity nationwide.

The report also suggests that the economic downturn is generating considerable disinflation in terms of both prices and wages.

The beige book, based on what business and banking contacts told the 12 Federal Reserve banks through Feb. 23, found that consumer spending was a bit firmer than in December but still “very weak” and found declines in manufacturing that ranged from “pronounced” to “steep.”

The survey found only “minimal” improvement in real estate markets  and continued weakening of loan demand amid “tight” credit conditions.

The findings, which were summarized by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, will be reviewed at the March 17-18 meeting of the Fed’s policymaking Federal Open Market Committee.

 —Market News International 

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