DEFINITION of 'Beige Book'

The Beige Book is the colloquial name for Federal Reserve's "Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District," a qualitative review of economic conditions published eight times per year by the U.S. central bank. 

BREAKING DOWN 'Beige Book'

The Beige Book is published two weeks before each meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Federal Reserve body that sets interest rates, in order to inform members of changes in the economy since the previous meeting. The report is qualitative: each of the 12 regional Fed branches conducts interviews with local business leaders, economists and market participants, and each contributes a chapter to the Beige Book. Each chapters is in turn divided into sections by economic sector.

The Beige Book supplements the quantitative data reviewed by the FOMC. Of the three reports that the committee's members receive prior to meetings – the Beige Book, Blue Book (monetary policy alternatives) and Green Book (economic forecasts) – only the Beige Book is available to the public. It can be accessed through the Board of Governors' website

The report was not available to the public until 1985, when a former Dow Jones reporter asked to see it, spurring his competitors to do the same. The book was first compiled in 1970, and until a 1983 change in color scheme, it was called the Red Book.

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