Municipal Debt Markets and the COVID-19 Pandemic
In March, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the market for municipal securities was severely stressed: mutual fund redemptions sparked unprecedented selling of municipal securities, yields increased sharply, and issuance dried up. In this post, we describe the evolution of municipal bond market conditions since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. We show that conditions in municipal markets have improved significantly, in part a result of the announcement and implementation of several Federal Reserve facilities. Yields have decreased substantially, mutual funds ...
Money Market Funds and the New SEC Regulation
On October 14, 2016, amendments to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule 2a-7, which governs money market mutual funds (MMFs), went into effect. The changes are designed to reduce MMFs? susceptibility to destabilizing runs and contain two principal requirements. First, institutional prime and muni funds?but not retail or government funds?must now compute their net asset values (NAVs) using market-based factors, thereby abandoning the fixed NAV that had been a hallmark of the MMF industry. Second, all prime and muni funds must adopt a system of gates and fees on redemptions, which can ...
Introducing the Revised Broad Treasuries Financing Rate
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in cooperation with the Office of Financial Research, is proposing to publish three new overnight Treasury repurchase (repo) benchmark rates. Recently, the Federal Reserve decided to modify the construction of the broadest proposed benchmark rate (the other two proposed rates are expected to remain unchanged; see the Bank?s announcement on May 24). In this post, we describe the changes to this rate in further detail. We compare this revised rate to the originally proposed benchmark rate and show that, in the post-liftoff period, it trades higher, on ...
The Premium for Money-Like Assets
Several academic papers have documented investors? willingness to pay a premium to hold money-like assets and focused on its implications for financial stability. In a New York Fed staff report, we estimate such premium using a quasi-natural experiment, the recent reform of the money market fund (MMF) industry by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Selected Deposits and the OBFR
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently decided to revise the composition of the Overnight Bank Funding Rate (OBFR), a reference rate measuring the cost banks face to borrow overnight in unsecured U.S. dollar-denominated money markets. Specifically, in addition to the federal funds and Eurodollar transactions currently comprising the OBFR, the OBFR now also includes overnight, interest-bearing demand deposits (at rates negotiated between the counterparties and excluding deposits payable on demand) booked within banks? U.S. offices, known as ?selected deposits.? In this post, we discuss ...
The Transmission of Monetary Policy and the Sophistication of Money Market Fund Investors
In December 2015, the Federal Reserve tightened monetary policy for the first time in almost ten years and, over the following three years, it raised interest rates eight more times, increasing the target range for the federal funds rate from 0-25 basis points (bps) to 225-250 bps. To what extent are changes in the fed funds rate transmitted to cash investors, and are there differences in the pass-through between retail and institutional investors? In this post, we describe the impact of recent rate increases on the yield paid by money market funds (MMFs) to their investors and show that the ...
The Money Market Fund Liquidity Facility
Over the first three weeks of March, as uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic increased, prime and municipal (muni) money market funds (MMFs) faced large redemption pressures. Similarly to past episodes of industry dislocation, such as the 2008 financial crisis and the 2011 European bank crisis, outflows from prime and muni MMFs were mirrored by large inflows into government MMFs, which have historically been seen by investors as a safe haven in times of crisis. In this post, we describe a liquidity facility established by the Federal Reserve in response to these outflows.
Informational contagion in the laboratory
We study the informational channel of financial contagion in the laboratory. In our experiment, two markets with correlated fundamentals open sequentially. In both markets, subjects receive private information. Subjects in the market opening second also observe the history of trades and prices in the first market. We find that although in both markets private information is only imperfectly aggregated, subjects are able to make correct inferences based on the public information coming from the market that opens first. As a result, we observe financial contagion in the laboratory: Indeed, the ...
Gates, fees, and preemptive runs
We build a model of a financial intermediary, in the tradition of Diamond and Dybvig (1983), and show that allowing the intermediary to impose redemption fees or gates in a crisis?a form of suspension of convertibility?can lead to preemptive runs. In our model, a fraction of investors (depositors) can become informed in advance about a shock to the return on the intermediary?s assets. Later, the informed investors learn the realization of the shock and choose their redemption behavior based on this information. We prove two results: First, there are situations in which informed investors ...
Leverage and asset prices: an experiment
This is the first paper to test the asset pricing implication of leverage in a laboratory. We show that as theory predicts, leverage increases asset prices: When an asset can be used as collateral (that is, when the asset can be bought on margin), its price goes up. This increase is significant, and quantitatively close to what theory predicts. However, important deviations from the theory arise in the laboratory. First, the demand for the asset shifts when it can be used as a collateral, even though agents do not exhaust their purchasing power when collateralized borrowing is not allowed. ...