Beige Book: Economy Continued to Expand at 'Modest' to 'Moderate' Pace

April 11, 2012 08:37 AM

The Federal Reserve's Beige Book says reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicated that the economy continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace from mid-February through late March. Activity in the Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts grew at a moderate pace, while Cleveland and St. Louis cited modest growth. New York reported that economic growth picked up somewhat. Philadelphia and Richmond cited improving business conditions. The economy in Minneapolis grew at a solid pace and Kansas City's economy expanded at a faster pace.

In its assessment of agriculture, the report states: "Recent rain and snowfall has helped alleviate dry agricultural conditions from earlier in the year. Nonetheless, the Atlanta, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Dallas Districts have all reported certain areas where drought conditions continue to persist. Due to unseasonably warm weather, contacts in several Districts reported that the planting of some crops is beginning earlier than normal, including corn in Chicago and wheat in Minneapolis. San Francisco commented that there has been an increase in certain input costs, such as fertilizer, while Chicago reported tight supplies of some agricultural chemicals and corn seed. Atlanta and Chicago reported an increase in the prices paid to farmers for soybeans; Chicago noted that the increase was due to lower-than-expected harvests in South America. Livestock prices rose in the Chicago, Minneapolis, and Kansas City Districts, while orders for livestock were robust in San Francisco. Farmland values in Kansas City continue to rise and are at record highs."

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