Fed sees growth but Difficulties in Floods and Trade

The Federal Reserve said the market was growing at a moderate pace in March and early April, even though doubt caused flooding and by trade worries in the Midwest.

In its report on economic conditions across the country, the Fed reported that a few districts reported that a slight strengthening following a recession this winter. But weakness stayed, particularly.

The Fed report, also called the beige book, said that tariffs levied on imports, wages and higher transport costs all had contributed to a increase in input prices.

The analysis found costs stayed low for most farm products, with different districts including St. Louis, Minneapolis and Kansas City voicing concerns regarding what recent flooding might do to crop production this year.

If bank officials meet on April to discuss interest rates, the beige book findings will form the basis for debate.

The Fed said that reports from the Fed’s 12 districts were blended on customer spending but noted that home sales were more powerful.

The Fed said that the outlook had improved for manufacturing”although connections in several districts reported trade-related uncertainty”

Districts stated that home sales were more powerful although a few districts reported reduced demand for higher-priced houses.

With unemployment near a low, the report stated that there were shortages of skilled employees in construction and manufacturing in addition to some positions.

Districts reported that firms were offering perks such as benefit packages that were enlarged and incentives in order to attract and keep workers.

The central bank boosted its policy rate four times in December and in 2018 indicated it expected two more rate hikes in 2019. Last year, those rate increases prompted strikes from President Donald Trump and contributed to a fall in the stock exchange.

Beginning in January, the Fed has performed an about-face on coverage and says its aims to keep rates on hold for the entire calendar year. Trump has kept his stress saying the central bank rates ought to be cutting today. Some economists are predicting that the Fed’s next move could be a rate cut later this year if the market doesn’t pickup.