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MNI POLICY: Fed Beige Book: Economic Activity Continued Modestly>

 --Key Things We Learned From The Jan. 15 Beige Book
By Evan Ryser 
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - U.S. economic activity continued at a modest 
pace through December with near-term expectations modestly favorable 
across the nation despite tariffs and general trade uncertainty that 
continue to weigh, according to the Federal Reserve's latest report on 
Current Economic Conditions. 
     Here are some key points from the report known as the Beige Book, 
as compiled by the New York Fed based on information gathered through 
January 6: 
     - Most Fed districts reported modest to moderate growth. The 
Dallas and Richmond Districts noted above-average growth, while 
Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Kansas City reported sub-par growth. 
     - In many Districts, tariffs and trade uncertainty continued to 
weigh on some businesses. In Richmond, it was reported that 
manufacturing slowed slightly as tariff and trade policy 
uncertaintes continnued. Chicago however reported prospects for a trade 
deal with China boosted farmers' outlooks. 
     - Price increases were modest during the reporting period. Retail 
selling prices rose at a slightly faster, although still subdued, pace. 
Some businesses reported passing along tariff costs to consumers-mostly 
in retail but also in construction. Scattered reports of declining 
prices in some manufacturing industries. 
     -  Employment was steady to rising modestly in most districts while 
labor markets remained tight throught the nation. Most districts cited 
widespread labor shortages as a facotr constraining growth. 
     - Consumer spedning grew at a modest to moderate pace, with a 
number of Districts noting some pickup from the prior period. On 
balance, holiday sales were said to be solid, with several Districts 
noting the growing importance of online shopping. Vehicle sales 
generally expanded moderately. 
     ** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 

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