Beige Book: Economic Activity Expanded at 'Slow to Moderate' Pace

November 30, 2011 07:26 AM

The Federal Reserve's Beige Book says based on reports from its twelve District banks, economic activity increased at a "slow to moderate pace" since the previous report across all Federal Reserve Districts except St. Louis, which reported a decline in economic activity.

District reports indicated that consumer spending rose modestly during the reporting period. Motor vehicle sales increased in a number of Districts, and tourism showed signs of strength. "Business service activity was flat to higher since the previous report. Manufacturing activity expanded at a steady pace across most of the country. Overall bank lending increased slightly since the previous report, and home refinancing grew at a more rapid pace. Changes in credit standards and credit quality varied across Districts. Residential real estate activity generally remained sluggish, and commercial real estate activity remained lackluster across most of the nation. Single family home construction was weak and commercial construction was slow. Districts mostly reported favorable agricultural conditions. Activity in the energy and mining sectors increased since the previous report," it states.

Regarding agriculture conditions, the Fed says Districts mostly reported favorable agricultural conditions. "Harvests were ahead of pace or completed in Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Kansas City. The corn harvest was even with last year in Chicago and Minneapolis, while soybean production decreased. Wheat production was down dramatically in parts of the Minneapolis District. Corn and soybean yields were above average in the northern portions of the Kansas City District, but drought conditions severely cut crop production in the District's southern regions, and the winter wheat crops were in poor to fair condition," it states. "The severe drought in the Dallas District continued but eased slightly. Prices for most agricultural commodities except soybeans remained above year-earlier levels, and farm income increases were reported by Chicago, Minneapolis, and Kansas City. Export demand remains strong for agricultural products, particularly meat, but Dallas reported a recent decrease in demand for grain exports."


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