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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 March 2008, 23:09 GMT
US economy in slowdown says Fed
Boarded up US home
The cooling housing market has caused wider problems
The US has seen an economic slowdown across all regions since January, a US Federal Reserve report says.

The Central Bank's so-called Beige Book report said housing, manufacturing and retail activity had all cooled since the start of the year.

The report also cited rising materials and energy prices, highlighting the challenge of inflation.

The report is seen to indicate overall economic conditions and is viewed as a guide to the Fed's next policy meeting.

Analysts expect the bank to cut rates again when it meets on March 18, having reduced them to 3% from 5.25% since mid-September in a bid to boost the economy.


The Fed's survey, based on information from its 12 regional banks, found service industries slowing in most of its districts, while manufacturing cooled in half of the regions surveyed.

Overall residential property markets were weak, and retail spending was slow, it added.

Two-thirds of the 12 regions referred to "softening or weakening in the pace of business activity, while the others referred to subdued, slow or modest growth," said the bank.

"It looks pretty weak across the board," said Robert Brusca, chief economist at Fact and Opinion Economics in New York.

The report echoed earlier comments on Wednesday from US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson who said the economy had slowed "appreciably".

Mr Paulson told a congressional committee problems in the housing market, higher energy prices and financial market turmoil had all contributed to the slowdown.

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