Economic activity expands in most districts: Fed Beige Book

March 4, 2015

WASHINGTON (3/5/15)--Economic activity continued to expand across most of the 12 districts tracked by the Federal Reserve in its Beige Book report, a summary of U.S. economic conditions, released Wednesday.

For the period between early January and mid-February, six districts reported that the local economy expanded at a moderate pace, Philadelphia and Cleveland reported modest improvements and Kansas City noted slight expansion.

The Fed found that consumer spending and home sales rose in most districts, but that residential construction reports were a mixed bag.

Residential sales climbed in Boston, Philadelphia, Richmond, St. Louis, Dallas and San Francisco, but fell in Cleveland and Kansas City. Much of the decline seen across the country, however, was attributed to poor weather conditions.

The report also found that financial services conditions mostly improved during the period, with overall loan demand climbing in all districts except Kansas City.

Residential lending improved in all districts, with a number of regions noting increased levels of refinancing activity.

"Reports across the districts indicated that credit quality has remained largely unchanged or has improved since the prior reporting period," the Fed added.

Further, oil prices and a strengthening dollar dragged on manufacturing, agriculture and energy exploration across many districts, the Fed said.