The Federal Reserve's Beige Book says reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggest economic activity continued to expand across most regions and sectors from late November through the end of the year. Nine Districts indicated the local economy was expanding at a moderate pace; among these, the Atlanta and Chicago Districts saw conditions improve compared with the previous reporting period. Boston and Philadelphia cited modest growth, while Kansas City reported the economy held steady in December. The economic outlook is positive in most Districts, with some reports citing expectations of "more of the same" and some expecting a pickup in growth.
In its assessment of agriculture, the report states: Most Districts reporting on agriculture indicated that yields and growing conditions were generally strong and improving in late November and December; by exception, the Atlanta District observed mixed results and Minneapolis cited weaker farm conditions. Corn and soybean prices remained very low across the country, and the Chicago and Kansas City Districts reported that some farmers have been holding onto fall crop inventories rather than sell at current prices. Kansas City and Dallas reported that the winter wheat crop is in good shape due to moisture provided by winter storms, although storms slightly delayed the cotton harvest. The Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts cited increased profitability in cattle production attributed to flat or rising cattle prices coupled with reduced feed costs and better pasture conditions. Builders in the San Francisco District reported that timber supplies were sufficient to meet rising demand.
Closing Market Commentary -- January 15, 2014
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