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Have the Fed Swap Lines Reduced Dollar Funding Strains during the COVID-19 Outbreak?
In March 2020, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) made changes to its swap line facilities with foreign central banks to enhance the provision of dollars to global funding markets. Because the dollar has important roles in international trade and financial markets, reducing these strains helps facilitate the supply of credit to households and businesses, both domestically and abroad. This post summarizes the changes made to central bank swap lines and shows when these changes were effective at bringing down dollar funding strains abroad.
COVID Response: The Fed’s Central Bank Swap Lines and FIMA Repo Facility
Building on the facility design and application experience from the period of the global financial crisis, in March 2020 the Federal Reserve eased the terms on its standing swap lines in collaboration with other central banks, reactivated temporary swap agreements, and then introduced the new Foreign and International Monetary Authorities (FIMA) repo facility. While these facilities share similarities, they are different in their operations, breadth of counterparties and potential span of effects. This article provides key details on these facilities and evidence that the central bank swap ...
The Importance of Commodity Prices in Understanding U.S. Import Prices and Inflation
The dollar rose sharply against both the euro and yen in 2014 and 2015 and non-oil import prices subsequently fell. An explanation for this relationship is that a stronger dollar reduces the dollar-denominated cost of producing something in Germany or Japan, giving firms room to lower their dollar prices in order to gain sales against their U.S. competitors. A breakdown by type of good, however, shows that import prices for autos, consumer goods, and capital goods tend not to move much with changes in the dollar as foreign firms choose to keep the prices of their goods stable in the U.S. ...
What Tracks Commodity Prices?
Various news reports have asserted that the slowdown in China was a key factor driving down commodity prices in 2015. It is true that China’s growth eased last year and, owing to its manufacturing-intensive economy, that slackening could reasonably have had repercussions for commodity prices. Still, growth in Japan and Europe accelerated in 2015, with the net result that global growth was fairly steady last year, casting doubt on the China slowdown explanation. An alternative story relies on the strong correlation between the dollar and commodity prices over time. A simple regression shows ...
How Fed Swap Lines Supported the U.S. Corporate Credit Market amid COVID-19 Strains
The onset of the COVID-19 shock in March 2020 brought large changes to the balance sheets of the U.S. branches of foreign banking organizations (FBOs). Most of these branches saw sizable usage of committed credit lines by U.S.-based clients, resulting in increased funding needs. In this post, we show that branches of FBOs from countries whose central banks used standing swap lines with the Federal Reserve (“standing swap central banks”—SSCBs) met their increased funding needs by accessing dollars that flowed into the United States through their foreign parent banks. This volume of ...
Would a Stronger Renminbi Narrow the U.S.-China Trade Imbalance?
The United States buys much more from China than it sells to China—an imbalance that accounts for almost half of our overall merchandise trade deficit. China’s policy of keeping its exchange rate low is often cited as a key driver of that country’s large overall trade surplus and of its bilateral surplus with the United States. The argument is that a stronger renminbi (the official currency of China) would help reduce that country’s trade imbalance with the United States by lowering the prices of U.S. goods relative to those made in China. In this post, we examine the thinking behind ...
How central bank swap lines affect the leveraged loan market
The cost of borrowing U.S. dollars through foreign exchange (FX) swap markets increased significantly at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in February 2020, indicated by larger deviations from covered interest rate parity (CIP). CIP deviations narrowed again when the Federal Reserve expanded its swap lines to support U.S. dollar liquidity globally—by enhancing and extending its swap facility with foreign central banks and introducing the new temporary Foreign and International Monetary Authorities (FIMA) repurchase agreement facility for foreign and international monetary authorities. ...
Gender differences in the labor market effects of the dollar
Although the dollar has been shown to influence the expected wages of workers, the analysis to date has focused on the male workforce. We show that exchange rate fluctuations also have important implications for women's wages. The dominant wage effects for women?like those for men?arise at times of job transition. Changes in the value of the dollar can cause the wage gap between women who change jobs and women who stay on in their jobs to expand or contract sharply, with the most pronounced effects occurring among the least educated women and women in highly competitive manufacturing ...
The Effect of the Strong Dollar on U.S. Growth
The recent strengthening of the U.S. dollar has raised concerns about its impact on U.S. GDP growth. The U.S. dollar has appreciated around 12 percent since mid-2014, rising against almost all of our trading partners, with the largest gains against Japan, Mexico, Canada, and the euro area. There was far less movement against newly industrial Asian economies and hardly any change against China. In this blog, we ask how the strength of the dollar affects U.S. GDP growth. Although the dollar can impact the U.S. growth through a number of different channels, we focus on the direct impact through ...