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Estimating probabilities of default
We conduct a systematic comparison of confidence intervals around estimated probabilities of default (PD), using several analytical approaches from large-sample theory and bootstrapped small-sample confidence intervals. We do so for two different PD estimation methods-cohort and duration (intensity)-using twenty-two years of credit ratings data. We find that the bootstrapped intervals for the duration-based estimates are surprisingly tight when compared with the more commonly used (asymptotic) Wald interval. We find that even with these relatively tight confidence intervals, it is impossible ...
Interest rate conundrums in the twenty-first century
Long-term nominal interest rates are known to be highly sensitive to high-frequency (daily or monthly) movements in short-term rates. We find that, since 2000, this high-frequency sensitivity has grown even stronger in U.S. data. By contrast, the association between low-frequency changes (at six- or twelve-month horizons) in short- and long-term rates, which was also strong before 2000, has weakened substantially. We show that this puzzling post-2000 combination of high-frequency ?excess sensitivity? and low-frequency ?decoupling? of short- and long-term rates arises because increases in ...
The Sensitivity of Long-Term Interest Rates: A Tale of Two Frequencies
The sensitivity of long-term interest rates to short-term interest rates is a central feature of the yield curve. This post, which draws on our Staff Report, shows that long- and short-term rates co-move to a surprising extent at high frequencies (over daily or monthly periods). However, since 2000, they co-move far less at lower frequencies (over six months or a year). We discuss potential explanations for this finding and its implications for the transmission of monetary policy.
Banks as Patient Fixed Income Investors
We examine the business model of traditional commercial banks in the context of their co-existence with shadow banks. While both types of intermediaries create safe "money-like" claims, they go about this in very different ways. Traditional banks create safe claims with a combination of costly equity capital and fixed income assets that allows their depositors to remain "sleepy": they do not have to pay attention to transient fluctuations in the mark-to-market value of bank assets. In contrast, shadow banks create safe claims by giving their investors an early exit option that allows them to ...
Monetary policy and long-term real rates
Changes in monetary policy have surprisingly strong effects on forward real rates in the distant future. A 100 basis-point increase in the 2-year nominal yield on an FOMC announcement day is associated with a 42 basis-point increase in the 10-year forward real rate. This finding is at odds with standard macro models based on sticky nominal prices, which imply that monetary policy cannot move real rates over a horizon longer than that over which all prices in the economy can readjust. Rather, the responsiveness of long-term real rates to monetary shocks appears to reflect changes in term ...