Fed Report Shows Sluggish Economy, Low Home Sales and Prices

Washington, D.C.–The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, released Wednesday, indicated inflation and low consumer confidence are slowing the economy, according to The New York Times.Large item retail sales–including items such as cars and dishwashers–declined in the first two months of 2008. Regional banks gave less loans to businesses and to individual borrowers.The report, compiled by the central bank’s various districts, said “economic growth has slowed since the beginning of the year.”Residential and commercial real estate markets are still dragging, and sales were slow in almost all districts, the report said. Home sales in Boston, Minneapolis, St. Louis and other areas have dropped more than 20 percent from a year ago. Almost every region also showed lower home prices, with the exception of Manhattan’s condo market.