Preparing for Takeoff? Professional Forecasters and the June 2013 FOMC Meeting
Following the June 18-19 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting different measures of short-term interest rates increased notably. In the chart below, we plot two such measures: the two-year Treasury yield and the one-year overnight indexed swap (OIS) forward rate, one year in the future. The vertical line indicates the final day of the June FOMC meeting. To what extent did this rise in rates following the June FOMC meeting reflect a shift in the expected future path of the federal funds rate (FFR)? Market participants and policy makers often directly read the expected path from ...
We use the term structure of disagreement of professional forecasters to document a novel set of facts: (1) forecasters disagree at all horizons, including the long run; (2) the term structure of disagreement differs markedly across variables: it is downward sloping for real output growth, relatively flat for inflation, and upward sloping for the federal funds rate; (3) disagreement is time-varying at all horizons, including the long run. These new facts present a challenge to benchmark models of expectation formation based on informational frictions. We show that these models require two ...
Making a Statement: How Did Professional Forecasters React to the August 2011 FOMC Statement?
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement released on August 9, 2011, was the first to incorporate language on “forward guidance” with an explicit date tied to the Committee’s expected path of monetary policy. In this post, we exploit the timing of surveys taken before and after this statement’s release to investigate how professional forecasters changed their expectations of growth, inflation, and monetary policy. We find that the average forecast of the federal funds rate shifts considerably and closely aligns with the new language in the statement, while the average ...
Nonlinearity and flight to safety in the risk-return trade-off for stocks and bonds
We document a highly significant, strongly nonlinear dependence of stock and bond returns on past equity market volatility as measured by the VIX. We propose a new estimator for the shape of the nonlinear forecasting relationship that exploits additional variation in the cross section of returns. The nonlinearities are mirror images for stocks and bonds, revealing flight to safety: expected returns increase for stocks when volatility increases from moderate to high levels, while they decline for Treasury securities. These findings provide support for dynamic asset pricing theories where the ...
Deconstructing the yield curve
We investigate the factor structure of the term structure of interest rates and argue that characterizing the minimal dimension of the data generating process is more challenging than currently appreciated. As a result, inference procedures for yield curve models that commit to a parsimoniously parameterized factor structure may be omitting important information about the underlying true factor space. To circumvent these difficulties, we introduce a novel nonparametric bootstrap that is robust to general forms of time and cross-sectional dependence and conditional heteroskedasticity of ...
Connecting “The Dots”: Disagreement in the Federal Open Market Committee
People disagree, and so do the members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). How much do they disagree? Why do they disagree? We look at the FOMC’s projections of the federal funds rate (FFR) and other variables and compare them with those in the New York Fed’s Survey of Primary Dealers (SPD). We show that the members of the FOMC tend to disagree more than the primary dealers and offer some potential explanations.
Fundamental Disagreement: How Much and Why?
Everyone disagrees, even professional forecasters, especially about big economic questions. Has potential output growth changed since the financial crisis? Are we bound for a period of ?secular stagnation?? Will the European economy rebound? When is inflation getting back to mandate-consistent level? In this post, we document to what degree professional forecasters disagree and discuss potential reasons why.
Is U.S. Monetary Policy Seasonal?
Many economic time series display periodic and predictable patterns within each calendar year, generally referred to as seasonal effects. For example, retail sales tend to be higher in December than in other months. These patterns are well-known to economists, who apply statistical filters to remove seasonal effects so that the resulting series are more easily comparable across months. Because policy decisions are based on seasonally adjusted series, we wouldn?t expect the decisions to exhibit any seasonal behavior. Yet, in this post we find that the Federal Reserve has been much more likely ...
Do Treasury Term Premia Rise around Monetary Tightenings?
Some commentators have expressed concern that Treasury yields might rise sharply once the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) begins to raise the federal funds rate (FFR), worrying, in particular, about a sudden increase in Treasury term premia. In this post, we analyze the dynamics of Treasury term premia over the last fifty years and discuss their evolution around recent tightening cycles, paying special attention to the 1994 episode when bond prices dropped sharply around the world. We find that term premia don’t typically rise when monetary policy tightens. We also conclude, based on ...
Bootstrapping density-weighted average derivatives
Employing the "small-bandwidth" asymptotic framework of Cattaneo, Crump, and Jansson (2009), this paper studies the properties of several bootstrap-based inference procedures associated with a kernel-based estimator of density-weighted average derivatives proposed by Powell, Stock, and Stoker (1989). In many cases, the validity of bootstrap-based inference procedures is found to depend crucially on whether the bandwidth sequence satisfies a particular (asymptotic linearity) condition. An exception to this rule occurs for inference procedures involving a studentized estimator that employs ...