Fed Reserves Judgment on War’s US Economic Impact

25 April 2003

The full economic impact of the war on Iraq remains far from clear, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest ‘beige book’ report.

“The onset of the war with Iraq appears to have had some effect on sales and spending, although it is too early to ascertain the full effect of the war on both consumer and business confidence,” declared the survey, an update of conditions across America.

Many hope the end of hostilities will help spark an upturn, but there is certainly no sign of sustained recovery to date. “The pace of economic activity continued to be lacklustre during March and the first two weeks of April,” continued the beige book. Five of the twelve regional banks contributing to the report said the economy was in a worse state than in the last study.

The only sector doing well in the survey is housing, though here too there may be trouble ahead. New figures from the Mortgage Bankers Association of America show that mortgage applications fell 6.9% last week, the fifth consecutive weekly decline.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff