Federal Reserve Survey Finds Slower Growth in Most Areas

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The economy is growing at a slower pace than last year in most regions of the nation, the Federal Reserve said in its closely watched periodic survey of business activity.

The survey, completed by May 1, also showed that inflation pressures were benign even though the prices of goods in early stages of production are rising.

The report announced Wednesday was prepared for the May 23 meeting of the central bank's policy-making Federal Open Market Committee.

Analysts anticipate the Fed will let short-term interest rates remain unchanged at the meeting, with most evidence pointing to an economic slowdown after seven rate increases since February 1994.

In Wednesday's report, most of the 12 Federal Reserve banks said conditions in their regions reflected "continuing gains in economic activity from March through April but at a somewhat slower pace."

The exceptions were in the Cleveland, Chicago, Kansas City and Minneapolis areas, where there were reports of solid gains.

The Fed's most recent previous survey had described economic activity as moderating over the winter.

The bond market continued to rally Wednesday amid the signs of a slower growing economy. The yield on the bellwether Treasury 30-year bond fell to 6.88 percent as its price rose.

The Federal Reserve survey said there were widespread reports of rising commodity and industrial prices. But in most cases, the report said, the increases were "moderate or not accelerating" and were not being passed along to consumers. …


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