Daily News: February 29, 2012

Beige Book: Economy Increases Moderately; Loan Demand Mixed


Overall economic activity continued to increase at a modest to moderate pace in January and early February, according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report. Business loan demand was mixed.

Activity expanded at a moderate pace in the Cleveland, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts. St. Louis noted a modest pace of growth and Minneapolis characterized the pace of growth as firm. Economic activity rose at a somewhat faster pace in the Philadelphia and Atlanta Districts, while the New York District noted a somewhat slower pace of expansion. The Boston and Richmond Districts, in turn, noted that economic activity expanded or improved in most sectors.

Lending increased to varying degree in the New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, Chicago, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts. Lending was little changed in St. Louis and Kansas City, while loan demand was described as weak in Richmond and soft at regional banks in Atlanta. Demand for business credit was flat to slightly higher in Cleveland and increased slightly in Richmond, San Francisco, and at some large banks in Atlanta. Dallas reported strength in middle-market and large corporate lending, and Chicago noted that business loan growth continued at a moderate pace.

Overall lending standards remained restrictive in San Francisco and Richmond and were largely unchanged in St. Louis and Kansas City. Lending standards tightened further for commercial borrowers in New York. Credit conditions in Chicago improved slightly, while quality improved in Philadelphia and Kansas City. Delinquencies were steady or declined in Cleveland. Mortgage delinquencies were steady in the New York District but delinquencies decreased in other loan categories.

To read the full Beige Book report, click here.