Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Fed Beige book on Wednesday will be the top short-term economic indicator

When I posted recently about the Fed keeping an eye on the economy and the importance they will place on "information gleaned from our business and banking contacts around the country" I neglected to mention that this "gleaned" information will be released on Wednesday in the form of the Fed Beige book.

It isn't your typical economic report since it has no numbers but is strictly a subjective view of the state of the economy in the twelve Fed districts as well as the overall state of the economy (aggregated from those twelve reports) at the present time, about ten days ago. Nonetheless, it will probably be the single best source of information on the overall state of the economy as of about ten days ago.

Note that the Beige book does not represent the economic views of the Fed itself, but is simply a summary of external views that the Fed has collected. As the Fed web site puts it: "This document summarizes comments received from business and other contacts outside the Federal Reserve and is not a commentary on the views of Federal Reserve officials."

This report essentially represents the overall state of the economy that the Fed will use at its upcoming FOMC meeting. Sure, there will be a dozen or more incremental economic reports available to the Fed as well, but don't expect a radical shift in the economy or the economic outlook from ten days ago.

-- Jack Krupansky

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