Business lending slowed in November, reflecting overall reduced economic activity, Beige Book reports

Business loan demand decreased a bit in the last month, reflecting a slowdown in overall economic activity, the Federal Reserve reported in its latest Beige Book, published Wednesday.

According to the Fed publication – which reports information collected on or before Nov. 17 – the business lending drop was particularly notable in real estate lending.

Further, the Fed noted, commercial real estate activity continued to slow: the office segment remained weak and multifamily activity softened, the agency said.

Meanwhile, overall consumer credit remained “fairly healthy,” the Fed said – although some banks noted “a slight uptick in consumer delinquencies.”

Yet “several districts noted a slight decrease in residential sales and higher inventories of available homes,” according to the report.

Overall, the report stated that economic activity slowed since October, with four Federal Reserve districts reporting modest growth, two indicating conditions were flat to slightly down, and six noting slight declines in activity.

The Beige Book, published by the Fed eight times a year, is a compilation of economic reports from each of the Federal Reserve Bank’s 12 districts. It summarizes comments the district banks received from outside the Federal Reserve System from a variety of business and nonbusiness sources.

Beige Book – November 29, 2023