WASHINGTON – The Japanese earthquake may be having more of an impact on the U.S. economy than previously believed, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book survey of current economic conditions released Wednesday.

A majority of the Fed’s 12 regional districts reported “actual or expected disruptions to sales and production” as a result of the Japan earthquake.

Surprisingly, most of the districts that reported difficulty as a result of the tragedy were on the East Coast or in the middle of the country. There were no reports of disruptions in California.

The Minneapolis Fed said it was surprised when a quick survey of the factories in its district showed that 41 percent of them indicated that they had been unfavorably impacted by the disaster in Japan. One contact said that plastic resin shipments had been delayed.

In many instances, businesses had not yet directly felt any impact but were pretty sure it was just around the corner.

In Boston, firms that use electronic components in their production seemed the most concerned. “Inputs from Japan are expected to be in short supply soon,” the Boston Fed reported.

The Fed made no effort to quantify the impact.


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