David Kirkpatrick

October 21, 2010

Latest Beige Book still bland …

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:48 pm

… but hints at Fed action to come.

From the link:

Economic growth continued at a sluggish pace over the past few weeks, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday, supporting views that the Fed might take action to spur the economy at its next policy meeting.

In its latest snapshot of regional economic conditions, the Fed reported some bright spots in manufacturing, travel, tourism and auto sales, but still saw weakness in the housing market.

The report, known as the Beige Book, summarized economic conditions in the central bank’s 12 districts across the nation. It will help set the tone for the Fed policy meeting set to take place Nov. 2-3. Investors are widely expecting an announcement of another round of asset purchases.

“The lack of meaningful improvements leaves investors anticipating additional action by the Federal Reserve to reinvigorate the economy in November,” said Kathy Lien, director of currency research for GFT, in a research note.

“If the Fed was worried about the recovery in September, they will remain worried in November as there was no major pickup in economic activity,” Lien said.


September 9, 2010

Latest Beige Book outlook not so bright

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:15 am

The Great Recession, the near-depression, economic downturn — whatever you want to label the economy of the last years with, it all comes down to it’s not good, hasn’t really gotten appreciably better for Main Street and doesn’t really seem like tangible recovery is even visible on the horizon. So it’s another fall of keeping the chin up and tightening the belt a little bit more once again.

From the link:

The mixed picture is in line with government data released last month that showed U.S. gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, was much weaker in the second quarter than previously estimated.

The nation’s GDP was revised sharply lower to an annual growth rate of 1.6% in the three months ending in June. The initial reading had been for a 2.4% growth rate in the period.

Fed chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged in a speech late last month that the U.S. economic recovery has lost considerable steam. But he said the central bank is prepared to use “unconventional measures” to boost the economy if the outlook were to “deteriorate significantly.”

In its Aug. 10 policy statement, the Fed announced plans last month to begin reinvesting proceeds from securities in its $2 trillion portfolio in to U.S. Treasurys. The central bank had bought billions worth of government debt two years ago to keep interest rates low on home and other consumer loans. But minuets from the August meeting subsequently showed that Fed officials were unusually divided over the policy.

March 4, 2010

Latest Beige Book outlines slow recovery

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:23 pm

The quick recap — yep, things are getting better, and no, not very quickly. And all that snow in February didn’t help things. The coming unemployment report is expected to show the rate rising to 9.8 percent.

From the link:

Of the Fed’s 12 regions surveyed, nine showed improvement. The Richmond district, which includes Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas, was hurt the most by the bad winter. That region reportedeconomic activity had “slackened or remained soft across most sectors” because of the weather.

The economic setbacks from the weather come at a fragile time: The economy is struggling to recover from the worst and longest recession since the 1930s.

After a big growth spurt at the end of 2009, many economists believe the recovery lost steam in the first three months of this year. They predict it will grow at a pace of around 3 percent from January to March. That won’t be fast enough to drive down the unemployment rate, now at 9.7 percent.

The jobs market “remained soft throughout the nation,” the Fed reported.

Update 3/7/10 — If you feel the urge, or just want, to dig much deeper into this Beige Book report, hit this link for a 538 post full of charts and analysis.

January 14, 2010

The latest Fed Beige Book sees …

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:58 pm

… well, beige. Things aren’t getting worse, but they aren’t really getting all that much better either.

From the link:

“While economic activity remains at a low level, [economic] conditions have improved modestly” according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book released in advance of the Federal Open Market Committee’s January 26-27 monetary policy meeting. The Beige Book said the “improvements are broader geographically” than they were at the beginning of December. The Beige Book reiterated concerns about the labor market.

The Beige Book was compiled on the basis of reports at the 12 Federal Reserve districts as of January 4. While the Beige Book provides an anecdotal snapshot of the economy, it is rarely cited in the minutes of the FOMC meetings, though the minutes note participants also refer to anecdotal reports.

The details of the report were less optimistic than the opening paragraph.

December 3, 2009

Modest economic improvement according to latest Beige Book

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:44 pm

Of course unemployment remains the fly in this economic ointment.

From the link:

The US Federal Reserve has said that economic activities have improved modestly in recent months, primarily helped by better consumer spending.

However, the labour market situation continued to remain weak with rising layoffs and sluggish hiring activities, the apex bank noted.

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, which provides a snapshot of economic activities in the 12 districts, said “economic conditions have generally improved modestly” in recent months.

In eight districts, the activities witnessed improvement while it remained little or mixed in the remaining four.

October 23, 2009

Latest Fed Beige Book?

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:12 am

The news is rather, er, beige.

From the link:

U.S. consumer spending was weak in most parts of the U.S. during late summer and early fall, leaving unexciting prospects for economic growth into the rest of 2009.

In a report Wednesday, the Federal Reserve said its 12 districts indicated either stabilization or modest improvements from depressed levels in many sectors of the economy

September 10, 2009

Fed’s latest Beige Book summary

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:51 pm

The whole thing.

The real quick version:

Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicate that economic activity continued to stabilize in July and August. Relative to the last report, Dallas indicated that economic activity had firmed, while Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Richmond, and San Francisco mentioned signs of improvement. Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and New York generally described economic activity as stable or showing signs of stabilization; St. Louis remarked that the pace of decline appeared to be moderating. Most Districts noted that the outlook for economic activity among their business contacts remained cautiously positive.

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:


(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.


(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.

April 16, 2009

Fed sees light at the end of tunnel

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:11 pm

The latest beige book report goes for optimism. I’m guessing they’re more just satisfied things aren’t spiraling even further down as opposed to seeing anything worth getting excited about. But I’ve been pretty contrarian about this financial crisis going back to the first days of this blog.

From the first link:

The Fed’s “Beige Book,” which offers an anecdotal look at economic activity in its 12 districts, said that “overall economic activity contracted further or remained weak,” noting that areas such as manufacturing were still depressed.

But the report said that five of the districts “noted a moderation in the pace of decline, and several saw signs that activity in some sectors was stabilizing at a low level.”

The positives may have been the “green shoots” that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke referred to recently when saying he saw some signs of life in the economy.

It was “consistent with the recent data that have shown improvement in some sectors of the economy, particularly consumption and housing,” said Michelle Meyer of Barclays Capital.

“While downward pressure continues, the pace of the declines may be easing up, somewhat. Not a major surprise in light of the data we’ve seen for March, but noteworthy nonetheless,” said Ian Lyngen of RBS Securities. “That said, the overall picture remains negative for the U.S. economic outlook — home prices continuing to decline and credit remaining ‘very tight’ throughout the country.”

In finance, the Beige Book said “bankers reported tight credit conditions, rising delinquencies and some deterioration of loan quality.”

Though the report said home prices and construction were largely falling, “better-than-expected buyer traffic led to a scattered pickup in sales in a number of Districts.”

January 15, 2009

Fed’s latest Beige Book is bleak

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:36 pm

Not too surprising to tell the truth.

From the link:

Investors looking for some good news in the Federal Reserve’s latest report on economic activity around the nation would be well advised not to bother.

Upbeat information was in short supply in the report, essentially a summary of anecdotes from the central bank’s business contacts, released Tuesday.

The report, known informally as the Beige Book, found that the U.S. economy continued on its downswing in early December through early January.

It is hard to gauge the speed of the economy’s descent from the report, but the pace did not seem to be slackening.

Areas that had been strong suits for the economy — the service sector, the energy sector and, until lately, commercial real estate — offered no respite from the general gloom.

Conditions in the labor market were especially poor, with layoffs, hiring freezes, pay freezes and salary reductions commonplace.

Both commercial and residential real estate are suffering from tighter credit standards and a drop in lending activity.