Economic fears stalling US recovery: Beige Book

City A.M. Reporter
THE US economic outlook grew dimmer in September, leading businesses to be wary of spending and of building up inventories ahead of the holiday sales season, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book revealed last night.

US stocks fell after the Beige Book was released, while Treasury debt prices rose on its glum economic outlook. In more positive signs of activity firming in the third quarter, stronger housing starts in September have led some analysts to raise their forecast for third-quarter growth.

Housing starts rose a surprising 15 per cent month on month in September, separate data showed yesterday.

And the Beige Book contained some bullish economic news, finding that consumer spending was up slightly in most districts, led by auto sales and tourism. There was also some increase in business spending, notably for construction and mining equipment and for new-car inventories.

Meanwhile, consumer price index (CPI) inflation in the US hit 3.9 per cent last month, its highest rate for three years. While total CPI was up 0.3 per cent, core inflation -- which excludes energy and food costs -- rose by just 0.1 per cent.