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Author:Groen, Jan J. J. 

Discussion Paper
How Easy Is It to Forecast Commodity Prices?

Over the last decade, unprecedented spikes and drops in commodity prices have been a recurrent source of concern to both policymakers and the general public. Given all the recent attention, have economists and analysts made any progress in their ability to predict movements in commodity prices? In this post, we find there is no easy answer. We consider different strategies to forecast near-term commodity price inflation, but find that no particular approach is systematically more accurate and robust. Additionally, the results warn against interpreting current forecasts of commodity prices ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20110627

Parsimonious estimation with many instruments

We suggest a way to perform parsimonious instrumental variables estimation in the presence of many, and potentially weak, instruments. In contrast to standard methods, our approach yields consistent estimates when the set of instrumental variables complies with a factor structure. In this sense, our method is equivalent to instrumental variables estimation that is based on principal components. However, even if the factor structure is weak or nonexistent, our method, unlike the principal components approach, still yields consistent estimates. Indeed, simulations indicate that our approach ...
Staff Reports , Paper 386

Uncertainty about Trade Policy Uncertainty

We revisit in this note the macroeconomic impact of the recent rise in trade policy uncertainty. As in the literature, we do find that high trade policy uncertainty can adversely impact domestic and foreign economic activity. In addition, we identify an alternative business sentiment channel that is separate and distinct from the impact of trade policy uncertainty, which provides a complementary explanation of the recent developments in the U.S. and global economic activities. This sentiment channel also implies that subsiding trade policy uncertainty does not necessarily result in a recovery ...
Staff Reports , Paper 919

Discussion Paper
Lower Oil Prices and U.S. Economic Activity

After a period of stability, oil prices started to decline in mid-2015, and this downward trend continued into early 2016. As we noted in an earlier post, it is important to assess whether these price declines reflect demand shocks or supply shocks, since the two types of shocks have different implications for the U.S. economic outlook. In this post, we again use correlations of weekly oil price changes with a broad array of financial variables to quantify the drivers of oil price movements, finding that the decline since mid-2015 is due to a mix of weaker demand and increased supply. Given ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160503b

Discussion Paper
Creating a History of U.S. Inflation Expectations

Central bankers closely monitor inflation expectations because they?re an important determinant of actual inflation. Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) are commonly used to measure bond market inflation expectations. Unfortunately, they were only introduced in 1997, so historical data are limited. We propose a solution to this problem by using the relationship between TIPS yields and other data with a longer history to construct synthetic TIPS rates going back to 1971.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20130821

Discussion Paper
Oil Prices, Global Demand Expectations, and Near-Term Global Inflation

Oil prices have increased by nearly 60 percent since the summer of 2020, coinciding with an upward trend in global inflation. If higher oil prices are the result of constrained supply, then this could pose some stagflation risks to the growth outlook—a concern reflected in a June Financial Times article, “Why OPEC Matters.” In this post, we utilize the demand and supply decomposition from the New York Fed’s Oil Price Dynamics Report to argue that most of the oil price increase over the past year or so has reflected improving global demand expectations. We then illustrate what these ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20211004

Discussion Paper
The Myth of First-Quarter Residual Seasonality

The current policy debate is influenced by the possibility that the first-quarter GDP data were affected by ?residual seasonality.? That is, the statistical procedures used by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) did not fully smooth out seasonal variation in economic activity. If this is indeed the case, then the weak readings of the economy in the first quarter give an inaccurate picture of the state of the economy. In this post, we argue that unusually adverse winter weather, rather than imperfect seasonal adjustment by the BEA, was an important factor behind the weak first-quarter GDP ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20150608a

Commodity prices, commodity currencies, and global economic developments

In this paper, we seek to produce forecasts of commodity price movements that can systematically improve on naive statistical benchmarks. We revisit how well changes in commodity currencies perform as potential efficient predictors of commodity prices, a view emphasized in the recent literature. In addition, we consider different types of factor-augmented models that use information from a large data set containing a variety of indicators of supply and demand conditions across major developed and developing countries. These factor-augmented models use either standard principal components or ...
Staff Reports , Paper 387

Financial amplification of foreign exchange risk premia

Theories of systemic risk suggest that financial intermediaries? balance-sheet constraints amplify fundamental shocks. We provide supporting evidence for such theories by decomposing the U.S. dollar risk premium into components associated with macroeconomic fundamentals and a component associated with financial intermediaries? balance sheets. Relative to the benchmark model with only macroeconomic state variables, balance sheets amplify the U.S. dollar risk premium. We discuss applications to systemic risk monitoring.
Staff Reports , Paper 461

Discussion Paper
The Global Supply Side of Inflationary Pressures

U.S. inflation has surged as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 recession. This phenomenon has not been confined to the U.S. economy, as similar inflationary pressures have emerged in other advanced economies albeit not with the same intensity. In this post, we draw from the current international experiences to provide an assessment of the drivers of U.S. inflation. In particular, we exploit the link among different measures of inflation at the country level and a number of global supply side variables to uncover which common cross-country forces have been driving observed inflation. Our ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20220128



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