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WASHINGTON (AP) — A Federal Reserve survey of U.S. business conditions has found modest economic gains at the start of the year, although some parts of the country saw slowdowns stemming from a renewed surge of COVID-19 cases.

The Fed report released Wednesday said that the bulk of the Fed’s 12 regions reported modest gains in economic activity in recent weeks.

But three districts — New York, Philadelphia and Cleveland — said that activity had weakened. Two districts — St. Louis and Kansas City — said activity was generally unchanged since the last Fed meeting in mid-December.

The Fed said that reports on consumer spending, which drives 70% of economic activity, were mixed. Some districts reported declines in retail sales and demand for hospitality and leisure services as local governments imposed stricter measures in an effort to contain the surge in virus cases.

“Although the prospect of COVID-19 vaccines has bolstered business optimism for 2021 growth, this has been tempered by concern over the recent virus resurgence and the implications for near-term business conditions,” the Fed said.

The Fed’s report, known as the beige book, will form the basis for discussions when central bank officials hold their next meeting on interest rates Jan. 26-27.

The Fed pushed interest rates down to a record-tying low of zero to 0.25% last March. The expectation is that rates will remain at ultra-low levels through this year and beyond.

The beige book said that the demand for workers was the strongest in manufacturing, construction and transportation, but employers in those industries were reporting difficulties filling job openings.

“These hiring difficulties were exacerbated by the recent resurgence in COVID-19 cases and the resulting workplace disruptions in some districts,” the report said.

The leisure and hospitality sectors reported further layoffs due to stricter containment measures in response to a surge in virus cases.

News Source: newsbrig.com

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Leading indicators; Dollar advances, oil stable: Colombia Today

(Bloomberg) – Markets are mildly risk-averse as investors weigh strong economic data from China, US President-elect Joe Biden’s stimulus plans and the rising trend of the coronavirus. US Stock and Bond Market Closed for Martin Luther King Holiday. Bloomberg Dollar Index advances and MSCI emerging markets currencies index declines. Oil operates stable. In Colombia, investors will be watching this week for the release of November data on retail sales, manufacturing production, and today’s economy tracking index. On Wednesday DANE publishes data on imports and trade balance. The peso had a slight appreciation of 0.2% during the second week of the year and on Friday the currency closed at 3,462.10 per dollar. The exchange rate operates in the market next day for the US holiday. Yesterday, 17,379 new cases of coronavirus were reported and 375 deaths were registered, according to data from the Ministry of Health. With this, the number of total confirmed cases rose to 1,908,413 and the deaths reached 48,631.Colombia ranks eleventh in the world in total cases of contagion, surpassed by the US, India, Brazil, Russia, the United Kingdom, France , Turkey, Italy, Spain and Germany, according to data from Johns Hopkins. In terms of deaths, the country also ranks eleventh. According to Bloomberg calculations: Cases + 0.9% vs + 0.9% moving average 7 days Deaths + 0.8% vs + 0.8% moving average 7 days Positivity tests 33.6% vs 28.6% 7-day moving average All events in local time INTERNATIONAL: China’s economy returned to pre-pandemic growth rates in the fourth quarter as its industrial engines soared to meet the surging Export demand, driving full-year expansion beyond estimates and fueling its global advance The economy expanded 2.3% in 2020 after stronger-than-expected growth of 6.5% in the latest quarter. That leaves the world’s second-largest economy driving global growth and potentially outpacing US GDP earlier than expected. TO BE PENDING: In Colombia: 10am: Retail Sales Nov; a / a est. 5.6, previous 3% 10am: Manufacturing production Nov .; a / a est. 1.0%, previous -2.7% 2pm: Economic activity ISE nov .; y / y -3.4%, previous -4.5% 2pm: Industrial production nov; y / y without est., previous -8% Auctions: Expansion operations include 91-day repos for COP5 trillion, and 30-day repos for COP1 trillion This week: January 20: Trade balance, imports International: US holiday Fed Agenda : No public events planned this week This week: January 20: Biden opens US presidency; Canada, Brazil rates decisionJanuary 21: ECB, Japan rates decision Relevant agendas: South AmericaUSA MexicoBrazilEuropeNEWS: Emerging markets tested by USD rise before entry of BidenVirus could leave lasting damage to Frontera’s operating profile COMMENT: Banco Davivienda predicts that the Colombian economy would have fallen 3.6% year-on-year in November, which would be the month with the best performance since the pandemic began. “In addition to the gradual improvement that had been experienced with the relaxation of restrictions on mobility and business operation, the A change in the strategy from ‘mandatory preventive isolation’ to that of ‘selective isolation’ as of September 1 freed mobility even more and gave way to the reactivation of many businesses that were not operating before this date “, economists led by Andrés Langebaek write in a note The economy began to recover in September, with October and November showing May Consolidation Trade benefited from the day without VAT, added to higher mobility indicators. Together with the PMI it can be estimated that November grew more than the previous month For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source. © 2021 Bloomberg LP

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