Heads up – we are minutes away from the release of the Federal Reserve Beige Book report on economic conditions around the United States, due out at 2 PM ET. This particular Beige Book could be interesting. The last one was released on January 16, before the effects of the payroll tax cut expiry at the beginning of January would have shown up in the data.
Daryl Montgomery submits: The Fed just released its Beige Book summarizing U.S. economic conditions up to the end of August and the takeaway was "widespread signs of a deceleration compared with preceding periods". In general though the report was a mastery of double-speak and attempted obfuscation.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy posted a moderate pace of growth between late February and early April, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday, supported by rising home prices and stronger factory activity.
The account by the Fed’s 12 regional banks was a bit more upbeat than the previous Beige Book survey, with Dallas and New York noting a slight acceleration in the pace of expansion, while five saw growth as moderate, and the other five as modest.
Fed's Beige Book: Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicated that economic activity generally continued to expand since the last report, though a few Districts indicated some deceleration. Some slowing in the pace of growth was noted in the New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Chicago Districts. In contrast, Dallas characterized that region's economy as accelerating. Other Districts indicated that growth continued at a steady pace....
WASHINGTON — U.S. economic growth continued to improve gradually in January and early February as consumer spending picked up and the country’s battered housing market maintained a broad-based recovery, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.
In a cautiously optimistic report from its 12 regional branches, the U.S. central bank also drew attention to stronger demand in the auto sector and for technology and logistics services, while emphasizing that price pressures remained mute.
In its somewhat typical fashion, the Beige Book was dominated by the four 'M' words 'mixed', 'moderate', 'measured', and 'modest' as any weakness was blamed on fiscal cliff uncertainty (even though macro data and the market itself seems to have shrugged all of that silliness off rather dismissively). Employment conditions were little changed, Real Estate prices rose in 11 districts,and energy sector activity was mixed:
Richard Suttmeier submits:
The Fed’s Beige Books are the gossip columns from the 12 Fed Districts, and the anecdotal evidence shows that despite some economic improvements, the housing market continues to be a drag, and that community banks are still reluctant to lend. The FDIC Quarterly Banking Profile is the balance sheet of the U.S.
The stock market may be providing a bit of relief today but don't let that fool you. The Federal Reserve is here to make sure that any whiff of optimism in the air is swiftly extinguished.
The central bank released its latest Beige Book, which includes information from the twelve regions as of February 23, and it ain't pretty. Beige is like ennui. Today's report is more like despair. It's the Beige Book in a new shade of gray.