David Kirkpatrick

June 11, 2009

Notes from the latest Fed Beige Book

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:52 pm

This link covers material from all twelve regional Federal Reserve banks.

From the link:

DALLAS

(This region covers Texas and parts of New Mexico and Louisiana.)

Activity was weak, but there were “increased reports of stabilization” from manufacturers. Business outlooks slightly more optimistic. Some producers linked to housing construction said the pace of decline in activity had eased and “demand was bumping along the bottom.”

Some improvement in retail sales with customers returning, but “very cost conscious.” Most retailers don’t expect any “solid improvement” until 2010. Homebuilders reported a slight uptick in sales, helped by first-time home buyer tax credit. Commercial real estate activity softened. In the energy sector, demand for oil services and machinery fell as drilling activity plunged. Dry conditions hampered agriculture production in Southwest Texas.

SAN FRANCISCO

(This region covers California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Hawaii and Alaska.)

Economic activity slowed further, but there were reports pointing to “signs of stabilization or improvement in some sectors.” Retail sales were “feeble” with shoppers favoring inexpensive necessities over luxury goods. Sales rose for grocers, but were “anemic” for retailers of furniture, appliances and electronic items.

Manufacturing activity remained at low levels, but conditions improved for makers of semiconductors and other information technology products. Housing market remained weak but showed signs of improvement. Many areas reported a pickup in sales aided by low mortgage rates, declining prices and high foreclosure rates. The pace of home construction remained very slow. Demand for commercial space fell, with vacancy rates rising. Some tenants have requested and received concessions on lease rates for office and retail space.

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