Business briefs: Fed survey shows moderate growth in Upper Midwest

  • Updated: July 16, 2014 - 8:14 PM

Fed: Moderate growth in Upper Midwest

The economy kept expanding in all regions of the country in June and early July, helped by strength in consumer spending, a Federal Reserve survey indicates. All 12 of the Fed’s regions reported growth with five — New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas and San Francisco — characterizing growth as “moderate” while the others reported “modest” growth. Boston and Richmond reported that growth came in at a slightly slower pace than the previous reporting period. The Fed’s survey, known as the Beige Book, will be used by central bank officials when they next meet July 29-30 to review interest rate policies.

Economic growth in China rises to 7.5%

China’s economic growth edged up in the latest quarter and more than 7 million new jobs were created in the first half of the year, easing pressure on communist leaders as they try to prevent a precipitous slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy. Economic growth rose to 7.5 percent over a year earlier in the three months ended June 30 from the previous quarter’s 7.4 percent, data showed. The first quarter matched a downturn in late 2012 for the slowest rate since the 2008 global crisis. Communist leaders are trying to steer China toward growth based on domestic consumption instead of trade and investment.

Wholesale prices up, but inflation tame

Rising gasoline costs pushed up the prices U.S. companies receive for their goods and services in June, but overall inflation remains tame. The Labor Department said the producer price index, which measures the cost of goods and services before they reach the consumer, rose 0.4 percent last month. The increase follows a 0.2 percent decrease in May. Gas costs rose 6.4 percent in June. Steel prices shot up 3 percent. But prices fell for grains, cheese and rental cars to offset some of those increases. In the past 12 months, producer prices have risen 1.9 percent, roughly in line with the Federal Reserve’s inflation target of 2 percent.

SUVs are outselling sedans for first time

Sport-utility vehicles have overtaken sedans in U.S. market share, aided by more fuel-efficient, carlike crossover models, IHS Automotive said. SUVs, including crossovers, accounted for 36.5 percent of U.S. new-vehicle registrations this year through May, compared with 35.4 percent for sedans, IHS said. Sedans, which held the top spot for decades, had led 36.6 percent to 33.9 percent a year earlier, IHS said. Crossover SUVs such as Ford’s Escape, Toyota’s RAV4 and Nissan’s Rogue have gained in popularity in the past several years.

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