Fed’s Beige Book reports mostly healthy economic growth in late 2013

01/15/2014 1:28 PM

01/15/2014 9:23 PM

A Federal Reserve survey shows economic growth remained healthy in most U.S. regions in late November and December, helped by gains in consumer spending and factory output.

The Fed said nine of its 12 banking districts described growth as moderate, up from seven in last month’s report. Two of those districts said growth had accelerated since the previous report. Only two districts — Boston and Philadelphia — said growth was modest, while Kansas City said it “held steady.”

Three-quarters of the districts said shoppers spent more over the winter holidays. All but Kansas City said manufacturing production grew.

The Beige Book survey is based on anecdotal reports from businesses and will be considered along with other data when the Fed meets Jan. 28 and 29.

The Kansas City district, which covers seven states, including Kansas and about half of Missouri, reported that consumer spending was mixed because of a slowdown in automobile sales and hotel occupancy. However, retail sales increased slightly over the holiday season, the report said.

While manufacturing activity in the region declined, expectations for future factory orders improved. Commercial real estate activity in the Fed’s Kansas City district remained “mostly flat” late last year and the residential market continued to slow slightly, according to the survey.

Bankers in the region reported steady overall loan demand, the survey said.

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