Federal Reserve: Growth in All 12 Districts Through Mid-November
The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book economic roundup noted growth that was either “modest" or "moderate” for all 12 districts from October through mid-November in a Wednesday release:
“Manufacturing activity expanded at a modest to moderate pace in most Districts during the reporting period. Companies across a number of sectors in Philadelphia noted a reduction in activity due to the federal government shutdown, while defense contractors in Boston reported that sequestration has not yet affected them significantly. Chicago highlighted the motor-vehicle industry as a main source of strength due to a large number of new vehicle launches and increasing demand for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Cleveland and St. Louis also reported increased motor-vehicle production. Steel producers in Dallas and San Francisco indicated that demand was steady, while producers in Cleveland and Chicago experienced a slight drop-off in production. San Francisco noted an increase in demand for semiconductors driven by demand for mobile-technology products. High-tech manufacturing firms in the Dallas District said that demand was flat to modestly weaker; however, respondents expect a gradual increase in demand over the next three to six months. Contacts expressed varying degrees of optimism about near-term business activity."
"Consumer spending increased in almost all Districts at a modest to moderate pace. A Boston retailer noted that sales performance during the 2013 holiday season will be a better test of what seems to be an improving trend. Philadelphia retailers reported hopeful, but very uncertain expectations…retailer expectations in the Atlanta District, Minneapolis and Kansas City are cautiously optimistic about the buying mood of holiday shoppers. Sales of new motor vehicles continued at a moderate to strong pace across most Districts, although Dallas reported a slight decline [and Kansas City’s were flat], which was attributed to a lack of consumer confidence and continued uncertainty. Motor-vehicle purchases in Kansas City were flat."
Real Estate and Construction
"Residential real estate activity improved in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, and San Francisco, while remaining steady or softening in other Districts. Some slowing in single-family home sales was attributed to seasonal factors. Nonetheless, sales remain largely above year-ago levels. Increasing demand, low to declining levels of inventory, and slowly rising new-home construction were cited by almost all Districts as reasons for a continued rise in home prices, but at a slower pace than was observed earlier in 2013. Commercial real estate activity remained stable or improved slightly across many Districts. The technology sector drove demand for commercial real estate in the San Francisco District, and Cleveland saw gains in affordable housing and shale-gas-related activity. The outlook of market participants is for continued improvement in the Philadelphia, Atlanta, Kansas City, and Dallas Districts, while contacts were cautiously optimistic in Boston and Cleveland."
Banking and Finance
"On balance, banking conditions remained stable in a majority of reporting Districts. Loan volume showed a modest increase. An increase in business-credit activity was seen in a number of Districts. Commercial real estate lending increased in New York, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City and San Francisco. Demand for commercial and industrial loans rose in the New York, Atlanta and Kansas City Districts, but weakened in St. Louis. C&I lending was unchanged in Chicago. Several Districts reported increased credit quality, as delinquencies have continued to decline and fewer problem loans have been reported."
Agriculture and Natural Resources
"Strong crop yields were reported, while in general, agricultural commodity prices fell and drought conditions stabilized or improved. Reports indicated a continued expansion in energy demand and production."
Source: Federal Reserve