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A Closer Look at the Recent Pickup in Inflation
Inflation has picked up in the last few months. Between June and November 2010, the twelve-month change in the seasonally adjusted consumer price index (CPI) was stable, at slightly above 1 percent, but it jumped to 3.1 percent as of last April. Higher food and energy prices have been an important factor behind this pickup in “headline” inflation. However, core inflation has also increased; the year-over-year core CPI (excluding volatile food and energy prices) moved from a record low of 0.6 percent in October 2010 to 1.3 percent in April.
The supply side of the housing boom and bust of the 2000s
The boom and subsequent bust in housing construction and prices over the 2000s is widely regarded as a principal contributor to the Financial Panic of 2007 and the subsequent Great Recession. As of this writing, housing market activity remains at depressed levels as the economy slowly resolves the legacy of excess supply and sharply lower prices. Over 2.6 million foreclosures have been completed since 2008 and 1.9 million foreclosures are in process. Much has been written about the demand side of this pronounced housing cycle, in particular, the innovations in mortgage finance and the ...
Getting More from the Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey?
Every quarter, senior loan officers at selected large banks around the United States are asked by Fed economists how their standards for approving business loans changed compared with the quarter before. Of all the questions in the Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey (SLOOS), responses to that question about standards usually attract the most attention from the financial press and researchers. Relatively ignored by comparison are loan officers? reports on how they changed interest spreads, collateral requirements, and other terms on loans they are willing to approve. Lenders can clearly expand ...
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: a review of stimulus spending in New York and New Jersey
The ARRA stimulus package was designed to spur economic and employment growth in response to a deepening U.S. recession and the weakened fiscal conditions of many state governments. An analysis of the local allocation of ARRA funds shows that the $35 billion of stimulus spending in New York was relatively concentrated in expanded funding for Medicaid, while a large share of the $12 billion allocated to New Jersey went to extending unemployment insurance benefits. While ARRA funding supplemented tax revenues in both states in fiscal years 2010 and 2011, the program's spending components are ...
Trading activity and price transparency in the inflation swap market
The issues of liquidity and price transparency in derivatives markets have taken on greater import given regulatory efforts under way to improve their transparency. To date, the lack of transaction data has impeded the understanding of how the inflation swap and other derivatives markets operate. This article broadens that understanding by using a novel transaction data set to examine trading activity and price transparency in the quickly growing U.S. inflation swap market. The authors find that the market appears reasonably liquid and transparent, despite its over-the-counter nature and ...
Auctions implemented by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York during the Great Recession
During the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve implemented several novel programs to address adverse conditions in financial markets. Three of these temporary programs relied on an auction mechanism: the Term Auction Facility, the Term Securities Lending Facility, and the disposition of the Maiden Lane II portfolio. These auctions differed from one another in several dimensions: their objectives, rules, and the financial asset being traded. The object of this paper is to document, compare, and provide a rationale for the mechanics of the different auctions implemented by the Federal Reserve ...
Bank Capital, Loan Liquidity, and Credit Standards since the Global Financial Crisis
Did the 2007-09 financial crisis or the regulatory reforms that followed alter how banks change their underwriting standards over the course of the business cycle? We provide some simple, “narrative” evidence on that question by studying the reasons banks cite when they report a change in commercial credit standards in the Federal Reserve’s Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey. We find that the economic outlook, risk tolerance, and other real factors generally drive standards more than financial factors such as bank capital and loan market liquidity. Those financial factors have mattered ...
Help for unemployed borrowers: lessons from the Pennsylvania Homeowners’ Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program
In an environment of high foreclosure rates and distressed housing markets, federal policies are focusing on loan modifications to help delinquent homeowners pay their mortgages. While it is too soon to assess the effectiveness of these modifications, policymakers considering future refinements may gain insight from a more established, state-level enterprise that takes an alternative approach to mortgage relief. The Pennsylvania Homeowners? Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program provides temporary income support to homeowners unable to pay their mortgage during a spell of unemployment. The ...
How Liquid Is the Inflation Swap Market?
Inflation swaps are used to transfer inflation risk and make inferences about the future course of inflation. Despite the importance of this market to inflation hedgers, inflation speculators, and policymakers, there is little evidence on its liquidity. Based on an analysis of new and detailed data in this post we show that the market appears reasonably liquid and transparent despite low trading activity, likely reflecting the high liquidity of related markets for inflation risk. In a previous post, we examined similar issues for the broader interest rate derivatives market.