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Fed's Beige Book sees 'moderate' growth

FXstreet.com (Córdoba) - Economic activity expanded at a "moderate" pace from late February to early April, while employment conditions remained unchanged or improved somewhat.

This report is slightly stronger than the prior Beige Book which said that all the economy was growing "at a modest to moderate" pace. Meanwhile, the New York and Dallas Districts indicated that the pace of expansion accelerated slightly since the previous Beige Book.

Most Districts reported expansion in manufacturing activity, underpinned by industries such as residential construction and automobiles. Consumer spending grew modestly, according to the Fed, although higher gasoline prices, expiration of the payroll tax cut, and winter weather were cited as factors restraining sales growth.

Most Districts said residential and commercial real estate improved markedly since the last report, while agricultural conditions were mixed.

Employment conditions "remained unchanged or improved somewhat", and reports of hiring were most prevalent in the manufacturing, residential construction, information technology, and professional services sectors, the Fed said.

Regarding prices, the Fed said pressures remained minimal during the reporting period, while wage pressures were generally contained.

The Beige Book survey, released two weeks before each policy meeting, is based on information gathered by officials at the Fed's 12 regional banks. Today's report was prepared based on information collected on or before April 5, 2013 by the Dallas Fed, and will be used for discussions at the next policy meeting on Apr 30 and May 1.

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