Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fed's Beige Book: "Economic activity expanded at a measured pace"

by Bill McBride on 11/28/2012 02:00:00 PM

Fed's Beige Book:

Economic activity expanded at a measured pace in recent weeks, according to reports from contacts in the twelve Federal Reserve Districts. Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco grew at a modest pace, while St. Louis and Minneapolis indicated a somewhat stronger increase in activity. In contrast, Boston reported a slower rate of growth. Weaker conditions in New York were attributed to widespread disruptions at the end of October and into November caused by Hurricane Sandy. Philadelphia reported general weakness that was exacerbated by the hurricane. ...

Among key sectors, consumer spending grew at a moderate pace in most Districts, while manufacturing weakened, on balance. Seven of the twelve Districts reported either slowing or outright contraction in manufacturing, and two others gave mixed reports. ...
And on real estate:
Overall, markets for single-family homes continued to improve across most Districts with the exception of Boston and Philadelphia. Residential real estate markets in the New York District were mixed but generally firm prior to the storm. Selling prices were steady or rising. Boston, New York, Richmond, Atlanta, Kansas City, and Dallas noted declining or tight inventories.

Construction and commercial real estate activity generally improved across Districts since the last report. Gains, albeit modest in most cases, were reported by Philadelphia, Richmond, Chicago, and Minneapolis. The gains among Cleveland's contacts were tempered by reports in recent weeks of a slowdown in inquiries and a decline in public-sector projects. Kansas City described activity as holding firm and noted that real estate markets remained stronger than a year ago.
Hmmm ... from "moderate" growth a few months ago, to "modest" growth in the last report, and now "measured". I'm not sure about the difference, but it does suggest sluggish growth. Real estate continues to be the bright spot.

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