The U.S. economy has been weakening as the most dangerous financial crisis in decades damps consumer spending and business investment, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in its latest survey on business conditions around the nation.
Economic activity weakened in September across all of the Fed's 12 regional districts, while several districts became more pessimistic about their economic outlook, according to the survey, the so-called Beige Book.
It said that consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity, decreased in most Fed regions, with declines reported in retailing, auto sales and tourism.
Manufacturing slowed in most districts. Activity of nonfinancial service industries in nearly all districts reduced, said the survey, which is based on economic information supplied by the Fed's 12 regional banks and collected on or before Oct. 6.
It also said that credit conditions were characterized as being tight across the 12 districts, with several reporting reduced credit availability for both financial and nonfinancial institutions.
But district report on agriculture and natural resources were mostly positive, although adverse weather associated with hurricanes Ike and Gustav negatively affected the South and the Midwest.
The survey summarizes comments received from business and other contacts outside the Fed and is not a commentary on the views of Fed officials.
However, information from the survey will figure into discussions at the Fed's next policy-making meeting to be held later this month.
(Xinhua News Agency October 16, 2008)