Call it more of the same. Beige Book results, technically known as “Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District,” released Wednesday, September 8, confirm slower economic growth on balance from mid-July through the end of August. The reports from Boston and Cleveland pointed to positive developments or net improvements compared with the previous reporting period.
However, the remaining Districts of New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta, and Chicago all highlighted mixed conditions or deceleration in overall economic activity.
“Nothing in the report was really surprising,” says Tim Harder, chief investment officer with Denver-based Peak Capital Investment Services, LLC. “The only real negative was in the real estate and construction sector, but that was expected from all the home buying data recently released. The big thing was that there was no sign of a double-dip recession, and we’re improving incrementally. This means the Fed won’t be forced to significantly alter their monetary policy.”
Consumer spending appeared to increase despite continued caution that limited nonessential purchases, while activity in the travel and tourism sector picked up relative to seasonal norms. Activity was largely stable or up slightly for professional and other nonfinancial services. Reports on manufacturing activity pointed to further expansion, although the pace of growth eased according to several districts. Agricultural producers and extractors of natural resources reported continued gains in demand and sales. Home sales slowed further following an initial drop after the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit at the end of June, prompting a slowdown in construction activity as well.