Firms starting to raise prices, Fed survey finds (by Greg Robb)
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Some manufacturers and retailers are succeeding in raising prices, one key pre-condition for inflation to take hold, according to the Federal Reserve latest Beige Book survey of economic conditions released Wednesday. Another key inflation ingredient, rising wages, remained largely absent, the Fed survey found. Overall, the economy was improving at a "modest to moderate" pace, the report concluded. Manufacturing growth was solid and service activity was strengthening. Commercial real estate reportedly improved in several districts, the first report of a pickup in office and factory projects since at least the beginning of the recession in late 2007. Credit standards were unchanged or tighter in most districts.