Beige Book reports weak transportation demand

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Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve districts suggest continuing weak demand for transportation services, according to the latest Beige Book published by the Federal Reserve.

Demand for transportation services was generally weak, led by lower demand from the housing sector. Reports indicated that freight volume continued to weaken in the Atlanta and Cleveland districts and was slow overall in the Dallas district. Intermodal transportation volumes also were said to be lower in the Atlanta and Dallas districts, although Dallas noted that rail shipments were up, led by strong agricultural shipments.

According to most reports, businesses continued to face rising costs for food, petrochemicals, metals and energy-related inputs. Several districts noted that transportation costs for most products increased.

The latest Beige Book, released Wednesday, Jan. 16, was prepared at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and based on information collected before Jan. 7. The document summarizes comments received from businesses and other contacts outside the Federal Reserve and is not a commentary on the views of Federal Reserve officials.