BEIGE BOOK: WINDOW ON MAIN STREET

By John J. Canally, Jr., CFA Chief Economic Strategist, LPL Financial

Weekly Economic Commentary, May 9, 2015

BEIGE BOOK SUGGESTS CONTINUED MODEST ECONOMIC GROWTH

The latest Beige Book suggests that the U.S. economy is still growing at a pace that is at or above its long-term trend, indicating that some of the “transitory factors” that held the U.S. economy back in the first quarter of 2015 have faded and that some upward pressure on wages is beginning to emerge. Overall, the Beige Book described the economy as expanding at a “modest or moderate” pace in most districts. In general, optimism regarding the economic outlook far outweighed pessimism throughout the Beige Book, as it has for the past two years or so.

The Beige Book is a qualitative assessment of the U.S. economy and each of the 12 Federal Reserve (Fed) districts. We believe the Beige Book is best interpreted quantitatively by measuring how the descriptors change over time. The latest edition of the Fed’s Beige Book was released Wednesday, June 3, 2015, ahead of the June 16 – 17, 2015, Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. The qualitative inputs for the June 2015 Beige Book were collected from early April 2015 through May 22, 2015; thus, they captured a period of:

  • ƒƒIncreasing market concern around Greece
  • A disappointing bounce back in the U.S. economic data for March and April
    following the disruptions of the first quarter (port strike, bad weather, strong dollar)
  • ƒƒFalling U.S. dollar (decline began in mid-April) that remains elevated relative to
    year ago levels
  • Some stability in oil prices
  • ƒƒImproving economic activity in the Eurozone and Japan, but ongoing concern over
    weakness in China

Read the Full Report here: Economic Commentary 06082015