Fed maintains 'weak' growth outlook

The US Federal Reserve says the economic outlook remains weak as consumers and businesses deal with the highest inflation in four decades.

The Fed released its latest Beige Book on Wednesday, with data collected from its 12 districts.

The report says economic activity was unchanged from early July. Five districts saw growth. Five others reported softening.

It reports "substantial price increases" across all districts, particularly for food, rent, utilities and hospitality.

The Beige Book describes price levels as remaining "highly elevated." But nine districts reported some degree of moderation in the rate of increase.

Higher interest rates on mortgages, due to the Fed's exceptionally fast pace of rate hikes, weighed on home sales in all districts.

The report notes a "generally weak" outlook for future economic growth. It cited expectations that demand will fall further over the next six to 12 months.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has stressed that the central bank intends to continue raising rates to curb inflation, despite possible pain for households and corporate finances.