According to the Federal Reserve’s recently released Beige Book, reports from the twelve districts indicated that overall economic activity continued to increase at a modest to moderate pace since the previous survey.
Manufacturing increased in most districts since the previous survey. The exception was Kansas City, which noted a slight contraction, with storms retarding some activity. Most districts reported stable or increasing new orders, shipments and production. Firms in the Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco districts were broadly optimistic about prospects for the second half of 2013, while manufacturers in the Richmond District were cautiously optimistic; contacts expressed mixed outlooks in the Dallas district, and contacts in the Cleveland and Atlanta district do not expect future production to be as high as previously projected.
Banking & Financial Services
Reports on banking conditions were generally positive across the districts. Overall loan demand increased modestly across most reporting districts. New York district bankers reported mixed but generally steady loan demand. Some bankers in the Cleveland, Chicago and Dallas districts noted competitive pressures to reduce loan pricing. Bankers in the Philadelphia, Richmond, Cleveland, Atlanta and Chicago districts noted a shift toward new home mortgages and away from refinancing (which was led, in part, by increases in interest rates).
Reports on credit quality indicated slight to moderate improvements across the reporting districts. Improvements were noted by the New York, Philadelphia, Kansas City and Dallas districts. Credit standards remained largely unchanged, although some bankers in the Atlanta and Philadelphia districts noted increased competition to ease credit standards.
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