Fed’s Beige Book Highlights

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The so-called Federal Reserve Beige Book is out and there is some good news and bad news here for bulls and bears alike.  The bad news as far as the free money stimulus crowd is concerned is that the call for additional quantitative easing may not be as evident.  The good news is that the economy is growing at a modest pace in a manner which appears to be avoiding recession.

Overall the economy expanded at a modest to moderate pace.  Residential real estate showed some improvement and loan demand was up in eight of the Federal Reserves districts.

Many districts were noted as complaining about higher transportation and shipping costs due to higher fuel prices.  Manufacturers were called optimistic on growth and expanding in most districts, but those businesses remain concerned about oil and energy prices.  Wage pressure was called ‘constrained’ while overall price inflation was modest.

At the consumer level gas prices are called a concern, but the overall outlook on household spending was called encouraging.  The warm weather was credited with helping some of the retail sales growth. New vehicle sales were called strong and tourism was even up in most districts.