US central bank sees ‘moderation’ of economic decline

April 16th, 2009 - 3:05 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, April 16 (DPA) The US Federal Reserve Wednesday said a number of regions were reporting an easing of the country’s economic downturn, adding to some of the small signs that the world’s largest economy may be stabilizing.
Five of the Federal Reserve’s 12 regional banks reported a “moderation in the pace of decline, and several saw signs that activity in some sectors was stabilizing at a low level,” according to the central bank’s Beige Book, a regional report on the economy.

The world’s largest economy contracted 6.3 percent in the final quarter of 2008, and economists are bracing for a similar start to 2009 as the US goes through one of its longest recessions since the Great Depression.

While the US economy has continued to shrink or “remained weak” across all sectors, the Fed reported signs of life in manufacturing, housing and consumer spending.

A series of better-than-expected indicators over the past few weeks have suggested the economy may have finally reached bottom, prompting an upswing in US stock markets. President Barack Obama Wednesday called them “glimmers of hope”.

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