Istanbul, June 4 () - Overall economic activity was expanding and outlook was optimistic in the US, according to the Beige Book, published eight times per year by the Federal Reserve (Fed).
"Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggest overall economic activity expanded during the reporting period from early April to late May" said in the latest Beige Book published on Wednesday. "Outlooks among respondents were generally optimistic, with growth expected to continue at a modest to moderate pace in several districts."
Strength was seen in transportation equipment manufacturing, while continued weakness was reported in primary and fabricated metals products and energy-related industries, it said.
Most districts reported an uptick in retail spending, and outlooks were positive, with
retailers expecting continued sales growth in 2015, stated in the Beige Book, adding that overall vehicle sales rose, particularly for trucks and SUVs which auto dealers in some districts attributed to lower gasoline prices.
"Most districts said residential and commercial real estate activity and construction improved since the last report. Home prices continued rising and low home inventories continued to constrain sales activity in some areas of the country" it added.
Credit quality and delinquency rates were stable or improved and credit standards were
mostly unchanged and the agricultural sector improved as significant rainfall alleviated the dry spell or improved growing conditions in several districts, according to the Beige Book.
"However, drought conditions persisted in the San Francisco District and the outbreak of the avian flu severely impacted poultry producers in the Chicago and Minneapolis districts. Oil and natural gas activity continued to decline in most districts, except for Cleveland where the rig count leveled off."
Employment levels were up slightly over the reporting period, with some reports of
layoffs, as wages rose slightly. Prices were stable or ticked up, although manufacturers in some districts cited lower input prices, added in the Beige Book.