The Beige Book is out! You’re excited right?

What’s that you say…what’s the Beige Book? Why should you get excited about the dullest color on the planet?  It’s economics, baby! The stuff that affects you every day.

The Beige Book is the hip name for the Federal Reserve’s Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions. It’s actually published eight times a year, just before Federal Open Market Committee meetings. The report is comprised of anecdotal information collected from bank and branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and others. It’s not a statistical review, but the Fed does consider it valuable in setting national economic policy.

Below is a summary of what Beige says about our region, known as the Kansas City based 10th District. This district includes Colorado and six neighboring states.

  • Stronger than expected consumer spending aided the moderate expansion of Colorado economy in June and early July. Automobile sales and summer tourism were main contributors to the “moderate expansion”. However, Colorado’s wildfires “hurt traffic in the Rocky Mountain region”.
  • Retailers reported increased sales for seasonal items, mid-priced appliances, apparel and fashion accessories. However, high-end retailers reported slow demand for luxury items.
  • Restaurant sales were higher than expected.
  • Commercial and residential real estate prices rose.
  • Some banks reported “reported improvements in loan demand and quality,” led by mortgage loan activity.
  • “The price of raw materials for manufacturing rose at a slower pace compared to previous surveys and finished goods prices generally held steady.”
  • Oil and gas drilling held at peak levels, but is expected to decrease with lower global demand.
  • Draught conditions hindered crop development and drove crop prices higher.

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