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Beige Book: Economy Expanding At 'Modest To Moderate Pace'

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WASHINGTON (9/5/13)--The U.S. economy in the past several weeks has continued to expand  at a "modest to moderate pace" during the reporting period of early July through late August, according to the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, an informal scan of the nation's 12 Fed Districts.
 
The expansion was buoyed by rising consumer spending in most districts. Some districts said that back-to-school sales added to overall consumer spending growth. Retail sales increased moderately in the Boston, Kansas City and Dallas districts. Sales were mixed in New York, and  grew more modestly in Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco and St. Louis.
 
In regard to banking and finance, lending activity weakened slightly and several districts reported less-favorable conditions than in the prior reporting period. No better than modest growth was reported in most districts. Slower loan growth than in the prior period was reported in the Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and St. Louis districts. Kansas City reported a decrease in lending--a reversal from slight growth in the early summer.

Also, lending standards were mostly unchanged, while credit quality improved across all districts.
 
Hiring held steady or increased slightly in most districts for most industries and occupations. Wage pressures stayed modest overall, with Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Philadelphia and San Francisco reporting mostly subdued wage pressures.
 
Activity in residential real estate markets increased moderately increased, with the pace of sales of single-family homes continuing to rise in most districts. Demand for nonresidential real estate increased overall.
 
To read the full Fed report, use the link.

FHFA Releases 2014 Calendar For House Price Indices

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WASHINGTON (9/5/13)--The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Wednesday released its 2014 schedule for monthly House Price Index (HPI) announcements.
 
The HPI is meant to be a broad measure of the movement of single-family house prices that credit unions and all interested parties may use as an indicator of house price trends at various geographic levels. Because of the breadth of the sample, it provides more information than is available in other house price indexes. Housing economists can use it for estimating changes in the rates of mortgage defaults, prepayments and housing affordability in specific geographic areas.

The HPI includes house price figures for the nine Census Bureau divisions, for the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and for Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Divisions. The FHFA says the HPI is based on data from more than 49 million transactions over the past 38 years.
 
The indices will be released at 9 a.m. (ET) on the following dates next year:
  • Jan. 23, the Monthly Index;
  • Feb. 25, both the Quarterly Index and Monthly Index;
  • March 25, the Monthly Index;
  • April 22, Monthly Index;
  • May 27, both the Quarterly Index and Monthly Index;
  • June 24, Monthly Index;
  • July 22, Monthly Index;
  • Aug. 26, both the Quarterly Index and Monthly Index;
  • Sept. 23, Monthly Index;
  • Oct. 23, Monthly Index;
  • Nov. 25, Quarterly and Monthly Index; and
  • Dec. 23, Monthly Index.