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Severe winter weather hurts US growth: Fed Beige Book

Snow is seen on the ground in northern Virginia from Air Force One as it flies to California on February 14, 2014Severe winter weather hit US economic activity in January and early February but the outlook in most areas “remained optimistic”, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book survey said Wednesday. The regional review, which is used by Fed officials to set monetary policy, said unusually harsh storms had hit manufacturing, retail and auto sales and construction, contributing to sluggish growth data. Growth was just “modest to moderate” across eight of the 12 Fed regions, stable in one and slower in three: New York, Philadelphia and Chicago — all battered by intense snowstorms during the period. Last week Fed Chair Janet Yellen said it was “quite clear” that the intense storms that have battered much of the country are a factor, but that Fed policymakers were studying the data.

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