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“Andante”, but not too much, for the stars and stripes economy

· The “Beige Book” is published with analysis of the situation in 12 districts of the Federal Reserve ·

The United States’ economy has slightly improved from November. This is the synthesis of the message contained in the Fed’s “Beige Book”, the report of the American central bank published two weeks prior to the meeting of the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) which oversees monetary policy. “Economic activity,” the report says, “ increased at a slight to modest pace,” in certain cities, “while a somewhat stronger pace of economic activity,” was seen in other cities such as New York and Chicago.

The Beige Book, which contains analysis of 12 districts of the Fed, notes that salaries are stable and prices remain, “fairly stable across Districts despite rising input costs.” Housing markets remain, “depressed” while commercial was “mixed.” “Lending activity remained stable” and “credit quality has been steady to improving.” Manufacturing activity, “continued to expand,” in a large part of the country, while consumer spending, “tended to be positive.”

Meanwhile, internationally, the General Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, repeated that she had had no contact with the governments of Italy or Spain regarding any potential plan with the IMF. Lagarde made the statement at a press conference in Mexico City where she also praised the measures taken by the ECB and other central banks. “When decisive measures are taken, the markets respond well to them,” she said. Lagarde also met with President Felipe Calderon, Finance Minister, Antonio Meade and governor of the central bank, Agustin Carstens.

The IMF General Director also praised Mexico, which has recently received IMF funds. She warned Latin American countries that they, “should adopt measures necessary to avoid contagion from the European crisis.” Today Lagarde arrives in Brazil where she will meet with President Dilma Fousseff, who will travel to Caracas on Friday for the launch of CELAC (Community of Latin American and Carribbean States), a new bloc of 33 countries in the hemisphere, minus the United States and Canada. In Caracas, there will also be the meeting of UNASUR, (Union of South American Nations) a bloc of 11 countries who, according to media reports, are interested in forming an organism to substitute the IMF in offering credit to countries in the area.




St. Peter’s Square

Feb. 21, 2020