Beige Book

Updated on March 6, 2024
Article byAswathi Jayachandran
Edited byAlfina
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What is the Fed Beige Book?

The Fed Beige book is a summary of comments made on prevailing economic conditions by the Federal Reserve District. Information is gathered from each of the twelve districts of the U.S. through various sources. The summary, as a report, is published eight times a year.

What is a Beige Book?

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The information is mostly qualitative, with the aim of engaging businesses, organizations, and other vested parties about the economic development in their communities. With the information gathered from various formal and informal sources, the book can be a secondary source of information for data collection.

Key Takeaways

  • The Beige Book of the Federal Reserve is a compilation of reports from the 12 Reserve Banks detailing the economic state in each district. It draws anecdotal data gathered from each Bank’s business contacts.
  • This data makes it possible to compare economic situations across the nation that can predict upcoming economic trends.
  • It is formally referred to as “Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District.” The Reserve Bank staff create it and make it available to the public About two weeks before the scheduled FOMC meeting.

Fed Beige Book explained

The “beige book” is a report prepared from anecdotal information on existing economic conditions in twelve districts of the United States of America by the Federal Reserve Bank. The twelve districts are Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, Chicago, and San Francisco. The book envisions regional economic conditions based on various information and prospects. Interviews with branch directors, business contacts, economists, market experts, bank data, and a few other sources provide the data for the Fed beige book. The information is summarized by district and sector.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) uses the Beige Book report as one of many inputs when deciding how to modify the federal fund’s interest rate target and create monetary policy. Reserve bank presidents quote the book’s findings to describe the prevailing conditions in the respective districts. The FOMC members get the latest qualitative and quantitative information on the country’s economic conditions, which help predict future economic performance based on current parameters.

Sources of Information for Beige Book

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Publishing Fed Beige book

As the name suggests, the book has a beige cover and the Reserve Board of Governors publish it eight times a year. They publish it on Wednesdays, two weeks before each FOMC meeting. The respective Federal Reserve Bank created the survey based on data and conditions observed since the previous FOMC meeting. The bank conducts the survey on its contacts, including Reserve bank and branch directors, business contacts, market experts, and economists, who report on various topics. However, surveys are not scientific, does not take place in a homogeneous crowd, and the questions asked differ from district to district. As a result, various facts can influence the contact’s perception of economic conditions, even polarized opinions.

Purpose

The Fed Beige Book aims to provide an overview of the economy’s development since the previous report and to contextualize other data. It is the analysis that economists use to assess the state of the economy. The numerous statistical data sets that economists and FOMC members use to assess the book are recent updates on local and national economic conditions. It offers up-to-date anecdotal data on the situation of the economy, which is crucial because many of the major important regional economic statistics, such as personal income and gross domestic product, are issued much later.

In addition, the beige book report states variations in economic structure, problems, and circumstances between Districts. With this information, experts could plan economic activities that either boost production or reduce inequalities. They thus act as a complementing tool for data extraction, especially on employment, income, and other important market factors. One of its biggest advantages is the updated events and most recent data it brings into account since it is available eight times a year.

Layout

A different reserve bank writes the overall national summary for each book. The summary consists of consolidated data. Some of the key topics in which data the book collects include:

  • Overall economic activity 
  • Labor market
  • Prices and Wages
  • Highlights by Federal Reserve District
  • Manufacturing, Distribution, and Related Services 
  • Staffing Services
  • Residential and Commercial Real Estate and Construction 
  • Consumer Spending
  • Banking and Finance 
  • Professional and Business Services 
  • Freight 
  • Retail, Travel, and Tourism
  • Agriculture, Energy, and Natural Resources
  • Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises

The book also contains paragraphs depicting the highlights for each Federal Reserve district.

Beige Book vs. Tealbook

Fed Beige Books provide an insight into the performance of the economy. On the other hand, Tealbook provides an in-depth analysis of the present state of the economy, financial projections, and background information on various monetary policy options. Officially known as the “Report to the FOMC on Economic Conditions and Monetary Policy,” it comprises of two parts: Tealbook A and Tealbook B. The Board of the Governor’s staff creates them. In fact, the Bluebook (Monetary Policy Alternatives) and Greenbook(Current Economic and Financial Conditions) together comprise the “Tealbook” in June 2010.

“Tealbook A” offers comprehensive analyses and projections of the domestic and global economies, which the Greenbook previously covered in Parts 1 and 2. It also offers an analysis of financial market trends previously covered in the Bluebook. Tealbook B gives background information and context for potential monetary policy measures that the FOMC might consider at a specific meeting. Tealbook B contains the same information that is present in the Bluebook, except for the content of the financial development, which is present in the Tealbook A.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Why is it called the beige book?

Its beige cover is the reason why it is known as the Beige Book. The book gives an insight into the economic state of a few districts of the USA. The twelve districts are Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, Chicago, and San Francisco.

2. Why is the Fed beige book important?

The book describes the changes in the economic environment since the previous edition. It engages with businesses and other groups on the state of the economy in their communities in a variety of ways. The collection can complement other local information-gathering strategies.

3. What time is the beige book released?

The Reserve Board of Governors release them eight times per year. It is released every Wednesday, two weeks in advance of the scheduled FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting. Because of the frequent publication, the data will always be up to date.

This article has been a guide to Fed Beige book and its Explanation. Here we discuss Beige book in detail including its Purpose and Layout and a comparison with Tealbook. You may also find some useful economics articles here:

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