Daily News: April 11, 2012

Beige Book: Economy Continues to Expand at Moderate Pace

The U.S. economy continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace from mid-February through late March, with modest improvements in demand for lending, according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report.

Activity in the Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco Districts grew at a moderate pace, while Cleveland and St. Louis cited modest growth. New York reported that economic growth picked up somewhat. Philadelphia and Richmond cited improving business conditions. The economy in Minneapolis grew at a solid pace and Kansas City’s economy expanded at a faster pace.

For most Districts reporting on financial services, banking conditions remained stable. Loan demand was reported as improved in New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas and San Francisco, while lending activity was unchanged in St Louis. The Dallas District reported improved sentiment by national and regional banks due to improved middle-market and large corporate lending. Contacts in Cleveland, Richmond, and San Francisco reported that increased competition among lenders has been driving more aggressive loan pricing. In general, the demand for commercial and industrial loans remained steady.

Manufacturing continued to expand in most Districts, with gains noted in automotive and high-technology industries. Manufacturers in many Districts expressed optimism about near-term growth prospects, but they are somewhat concerned about rising petroleum prices. Demand for professional business services showed modest to strong growth and freight volume was mainly higher.

To read the full Beige Book report, click here.