Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Subdued Biege Book Report

The Federal Reserve "Beige Book" is out.

It's a subdued report, suggesting possible stabilization with a detriorating commercial real estate sectors. Here's part of the summary:
Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicated either stabilization or modest improvements in many sectors since the last report, albeit often from depressed levels. Leading the more positive sector reports among Districts were residential real estate and manufacturing, both of which continued a pattern of improvement that emerged over the summer. Reports on consumer spending and nonfinancial services were mixed. Commercial real estate was reported to be one of the weakest sectors, although reports of weakness or moderate decline were frequently noted in other sectors.

Reports of gains in economic activity generally outnumber declines, but virtually every reference to improvement was qualified as either small or scattered. For example, Dallas cited slight improvements residential real estate and staffing firms, while New York noted gains only in a few sectors (predominantly manufacturing and retail). Retail and manufacturing conditions were mixed in Boston, but some signs of improvement were reported. New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and San Francisco cited small pickups in manufacturing activity. In the Kansas City District, an uptick was noted in technology firms, while services firms posted revenue gains in Richmond. However, conditions were referred to as stable or flat for business services and tourism firms in Minneapolis and agriculture in St. Louis and Kansas City.

The weakest sector was commercial real estate, with conditions described as either weak or deteriorating across all Districts. Banking also faltered in several Districts, with Kansas City and San Francisco noting continued erosion in credit quality (often with more expected in the future). One bright spot in the banking sector was lending to new homebuyers, in response to the first-time homebuyer tax credit. Finally, labor markets were typically characterized as weak or mixed, but with occasional pockets of improvement....

The "cash-for-clunkers" program ended in August, leaving depleted inventories and slower sales in its wake. New vehicle sales declined in New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco. However, Chicago reported a pick-up in vehicle sales in early October. Low new-car inventories helped to move used cars in several Districts, although San Francisco commented that the demand for used cars also weakened. New York also reported that automobile dealers saw some improvement in credit conditions for consumers looking to purchase cars.
Keep in mind this is during a period of an uptrending stock market, and Bernanke's
money creation, from Sept. 2008 to Feb. 2009, still sloshing around. It won't get any prettier than this, especially once the stock market nosedives.

1 comment:

  1. From the Rogue Book:

    Carlyle lost another levered up affiliate to bankruptcy, Stallion Oilfield Services.

    They had money to invest in Chinese infant formula and fertilizer makers , but none to save Stallion.

    Oddly, melamine (used in fertilizer) sickened hundreds of thousands of Chinese babies.