Beige Book: Economic Activity Expanded at 'Modest' Pace

October 19, 2011 08:27 AM
 

The Federal Reserve's Beige Book says based on reports from its twelve District banks, economic activity continued to expand, although many Districts described the pace of growth as "modest" or "slight" and contacts generally noted weaker or less certain outlooks for business conditions.

Regarding ag conditions, the Bank says contacts generally reported that crop conditions at harvest were less favorable than a year ago, although results varied by and within Districts. Lower yields than a year ago were reported for major crops in the Chicago, Minneapolis, and Dallas Districts and in most of the Kansas City District. "Even so, yields were large enough to alleviate worries about shortages. Corn, soybean, and wheat prices moved down, while some contacts noted higher prices for cotton. Drought conditions persisted in the Atlanta, Kansas City, and Dallas Districts, and pastures were in worse shape than a year ago in many areas. Although there were declines in feed costs, poultry and livestock producers remained pressured by drought and the cost increases of the past year," it states. "Hog, poultry, and dairy prices decreased, while cattle prices increased. Still, agricultural prices tended to be higher than a year ago, boosting farm incomes outside of drought-stricken areas. Chicago and Kansas City reported higher agricultural land values."

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