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When Normalizing Monetary Policy, the Order of Operations Matters
As economic conditions in the United States continue to improve, the FOMC may consider normalizing monetary policy. Whether the FOMC reduces the balance sheet before raising the federal funds rate (or vice versa) may affect the shape of the yield curve, with consequences for financial institutions. Drawing lessons from the previous normalization in 2015–19, we conclude that normalizing the balance sheet before raising the funds rate might forestall yield curve inversion and, in turn, support economic stability.
Understanding the Recent Rise in Municipal Bond Yields
In late March, investors sold off municipal bonds at a rapid pace, depressing municipal bond prices and driving up their yields relative to U.S. Treasuries. We find that this initial investor run on the municipal bond market was likely due to increased liquidity demand rather than credit concerns, making the Federal Reserve’s early actions to relieve liquidity stress effective. Going forward, however, municipal bond prices will likely reflect increased credit concerns.
Fiscal Relief during the COVID-19 Pandemic
In response to the sharp economic downturn during the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed unprecedented policy relief measures to support households, businesses, and the broader economy. Compared with previous fiscal stimulus responses, these relief programs have been unmatched in size and scope, speed of response, and novelty of design.Huixin Bi and Chaitri Gulati review recent empirical research on three fiscal relief programs—stimulus checks, augmented unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)—to understand their effects on the broader economy as ...