Fed Sees Pickup in Economic Growth, but Inflation Remains Muted

The U.S. economy expanded at a modest to moderate pace in July through mid-August but signs of an acceleration in inflation remained slight, the latest survey conducted by the Federal Reserve showed on Wednesday.

“Prices rose modestly overall across the country,” the central bank said in its Beige Book report of the economy, compiled from anecdotal evidence derived from business contacts nationwide.

Policymakers have raised interest rates twice this year but the prospect of a third in 2017 appears increasingly uncertain against a backdrop of weak price pressures despite the U.S. economy humming along with low unemployment and continued growth.

The Fed’s preferred measure of inflation retreated to 1.4 percent in July on a year-on-year basis, the slowest pace in more than 1-1/2 years.

Many of the Fed’s 12 districts reported that businesses were having difficulty filling job openings at all skill levels, but this was not resulting in a

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