Interesting commentary from the Fed here. They appear to have upgraded their economic outlook, which begs the question: why are they considering $1.2T in QE? Lots of mixed messages in here.
Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggest that, on balance, national economic
activity continued to rise, albeit at a modest pace, during the reporting period from September to early
Manufacturing activity continued to expand, with production and new orders rising across most
Districts. Demand for nonfinancial services was reported to be stable to modestly increasing overall.
Consumer spending was steady to up slightly, but consumers remained price-sensitive, and purchases
were mostly limited to necessities and nondiscretionary items. New vehicle sales held steady or rose
during the reporting period; sales of used automobiles were strong as well. Activity in the travel and
tourism sector picked up.
Housing markets remained weak with most Districts reporting sales below year-ago levels.
Reports on prices suggested stability, however. Conditions in the commercial real estate sector were
subdued, and construction was expected to remain weak. Lending activity was stable in most Districts.
Agricultural conditions were generally favorable, and above-average yields were expected in most
reporting Districts. Activity in the energy sector continued to expand.
Input costs, most notably for agricultural commodities and industrial metals, rose further.
Shipping rates increased, and retailers in some Districts noted rising wholesale prices. However, prices of
final goods and services were mostly stable as higher input costs were not passed on to consumers. Wage
pressures were minimal.
You can read the full report here.
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.
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