And the Beige Book says . . .

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Eight times a year, the Federal Reserve publishes the "Beige Book." It's a collection of regional statistics on the performance of the nation's economy. The book was released yesterday, however Marketplace's Hillary Wicai says it didn't offer many clues about whether the Fed will raise interest rates next month.


HILLARY WICAI: Just one district, San Francisco, continues to report solid economic expansion.

But about half of the Districts cited a decline in their rate of expansion. Mark Zandi is with Moody's Economy.com.

MARK ZANDI: "The reason for the slower growth is the much weaker housing market, and also much weaker consumer spending growth. The housing slow down is beginning to have an effect on broader consumer spending."

Diane Swonk with Mesirow Financial puts it this way:

DIANE SWONK:"The way to think about this is the economy, from the fed's perspective, was going 75 mph in a 55 mph zone. We've now slowed to say 50 mph, and it feels like a dramatic slowdown, although we're still moving forward."

But the Fed may want to tap the brakes one more time because the Beige Book had also scattered reports of inflationary pressure.

The Fed meets to decide what to do with interest rates on August 8.

In Washington, I'm Hillary Wicai for Marketplace.

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