Liberty Street Economics
Look for our next post on May 5, following the FOMC meeting.
April 21, 2014

Introduction to the Floating-Rate Note Treasury Security

Ezechiel Copic, Luis Gonzalez, Caitlin Gorback, Blake Gwinn, and Ernst Schaumburg

The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) auctioned its first floating-rate note (FRN) on January 29, 2014. With this auction, Treasury introduced the first new marketable debt instrument since Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) in 1997. The new two-year FRN is a fixed-principal security with quarterly interest payments and interest rates indexed to the thirteen-week Treasury bill. In this post, we will discuss Treasury’s reasons for adopting an FRN as well as the existing FRN markets, expected FRN market participants, and results of the first FRN Treasury security auction.

April 18, 2014

How Liquidity Standards Can Improve Lending of Last Resort Policies

João Santos and Javier Suarez

This post is the sixth in a series of six Liberty Street Economics posts on liquidity issues.

Prior to the Great Recession, the focus of bank regulation was on bank capital with little consensus about the need for liquidity regulation. This view was in contrast with an existing body of academic research that pointed to inefficiencies in environments with strictly private provision of liquidity, via either interbank markets or credit line agreements. In spite of theoretical results pointing to the possible benefits of liquidity regulation for reducing fire sales in crises or the risk of panics due to coordination failures, a common view was that its costs might exceed its benefits, especially given a situation in which there is an active lender of last resort (LLR).

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Institutions | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

April 17, 2014

Just Released: The 2013 SOMA Annual Report in a Historical Context

Alyssa Cambron, Michael Fleming, Deborah Leonard, Grant Long, and Julie Remache

In August 2013, we wrote a series of blog posts on the use of the Federal Reserve’s System Open Market Account (SOMA) portfolio in monetary policy operations. Since the onset of the financial crisis, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has increased the size and adjusted the composition of the SOMA portfolio in efforts to promote the Committee’s mandate to foster maximum employment and price stability. Over time, these actions have also generated high levels of portfolio income, contributing in turn to elevated remittances to the U.S. Treasury. Today’s release of the New York Fed’s report Domestic Open Market Operations during 2013 offers an opportunity to update our blog series’ discussion of the portfolio’s income and unrealized gains and losses, and to revisit our counterfactual exercise exploring how the use of the portfolio to implement monetary policy has affected income.

Liquidity Policies and Systemic Risk

Tobias Adrian and Nina Boyarchenko

This post is the fifth in a series of six Liberty Street Economics posts on liquidity issues.

One of the most innovative and potentially far-reaching consequences of regulatory reform since the financial crisis has been the development of liquidity regulations for the banking system. While bank regulation traditionally focuses on requiring a minimum amount of capital, liquidity requirements impose a minimum amount of liquid assets. In this post, we provide a conceptual framework that allows us to evaluate the impact of liquidity requirements on economic growth, the creation of systemic risk, and household welfare. Importantly, the framework addresses both liquidity requirements and capital requirements, thus allowing the study of trade-offs and complementarities between these regulatory tools. The reader will find a more detailed discussion in our recent staff report “Liquidity Policies and Systemic Risk.”

April 16, 2014

Just Released: April Surveys Find Businesses Face Increasing Difficulty Retaining Skilled Workers

Jason Bram and Richard Deitz

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s monthly business surveys include special supplementary questions on topics of interest. April’s survey questions focused on how difficult it has been for firms in the region to find and retain workers with basic skills, such as math and English, as well as advanced computer skills and “soft skills,” such as punctuality and interpersonal skills. Overall, the level of difficulty finding workers has not changed much since April of last year, when these questions were previously asked. Workers with advanced computer skills were the hardest to find, for both manufacturing and service firms. Manufacturers report much more difficulty than service firms in finding people with basic English, computer, and especially math skills, and even seem to be having difficulty in finding workers that are simply punctual and reliable. Service firms say they’ve had particular trouble finding candidates with good interpersonal skills. These findings suggest that although the job market recovery remains tepid, demand for workers with particular skills is still significant.

Posted by Blog Author at 8:45 AM in Regional Analysis | Permalink | Comments ( 1 )

The Liquidity Stress Ratio: Measuring Liquidity Mismatch on Banks’ Balance Sheets

Dong Beom Choi and Lily Zhou

This post is the fourth in a series of six Liberty Street Economics posts on liquidity issues.

Liquidity transformation—funding longer-term assets with short-term liabilities—is one of the main functions that banks provide. However, this liquidity mismatch exposes banks to liquidity risk. This risk was clearly demonstrated in the 2008 financial crisis when banks’ funding liquidity dried up and their market liquidity evaporated. Since the crisis, liquidity risk management has become one of the top priorities for regulators, and new liquidity requirements, such as the Liquidity Coverage Ratio and the Net Stable Funding Ratio, have been proposed in Basel III, apart from conventional capital requirements. In this post, we present a new measure of liquidity mismatch—the liquidity stress ratio (LSR). We analyze how it has evolved for large banks, and study the correlation between the LSR and key bank characteristics over time.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Institutions | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

April 15, 2014

On Fire-Sale Externalities, TARP Was Close to Optimal

Fernando Duarte and Thomas Eisenbach

This post is the third in a series of six Liberty Street Economics posts on liquidity issues.

Imagine that many large and levered banks suffer heavy losses and must quickly sell assets to reduce their leverage. We expect the market price of the assets sold to decline, at least temporarily. As a result, any other financial institutions that happen to hold the same assets will experience balance sheet losses through no fault of their own —a negative fire-sale externality. In this post, we show that the vulnerability to fire-sale externalities was high during the crisis and that the capital injections of the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) helped reduce it considerably. In fact, we argue that given the total amount injected, TARP was close to optimal.
    Fire sales are difficult to isolate and observe directly, especially in a crisis when multiple shocks concurrently afflict the financial system. But it is a bit less difficult to quantify the vulnerability of the financial sector to fire-sale externalities. To do so, consider the following hypothetical sequence of events, which captures the main aspects of any fire sale:

April 14, 2014

Depositor Discipline of Risk-Taking by U.S. Banks

Stavros Peristiani and João Santos

This post is the second in a series of six Liberty Street Economics posts on liquidity issues.

The recent financial crisis caused the largest rise in the number of bank failures since the unprecedented banking crisis of the 1980s and early 1990s. This post examines how depositors responded to the amplified risks of bank failure over the last three decades. We show that uninsured depositors discipline troubled banks by withdrawing their funds. Focusing on the recent financial crisis, we find that banks experienced an outflow of uninsured time deposits after the near-failure of Bear Stearns and bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. This depositor risk sensitivity subsided after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) introduced the Transaction Guarantee Account program in October 2008, which raised the maximum deposit insurance limit from $100,000 to $250,000.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:02 AM in Financial Institutions | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

Liquidity Risk, Liquidity Management, and Liquidity Policies

Tobias Adrian and João Santos

This post is the first in a series of six Liberty Street Economics posts on liquidity issues.

During the 2007-09 financial crisis, banks experienced widespread funding shortages, with shortfalls even hindering adequately capitalized banks. The Federal Reserve responded to the funding shortages by creating liquidity backstops to insulate the real economy from the banking sector’s liquidity crisis. The regulatory reforms initiated by the Dodd-Frank Act and Basel III introduced systematic liquidity risk management into bank regulations. In the past year, research economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York have undertaken a number of research projects to further the conceptual and empirical understanding of banks’ role in liquidity creation and to guide the design of arrangements to minimize the impact of liquidity shortages on financial stability and the real economy. On the Liberty Street Economics blog this week, we will publish a series of posts summarizing this work. This post provides an overview of the research projects.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Institutions | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

April 11, 2014

Crisis Chronicles: Not Worth a Continental—The Currency Crisis of 1779 and Today’s European Debt Crisis

James Narron and David Skeie

Shortbobintro During the late 1770s, a newly founded United States began to run up significant debts to finance the American Revolution. With limited access to credit and little to no tax base, the Continental Congress issued the Continental to finance the war. But by the end of the decade, inflation was nearly 50 percent, a suit cost a million Continentals, and the phrase “not worth a Continental” had entered the national lexicon. With the help of our fourth U.S. president, James Madison, we review why the Continental experiment ended so badly.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Crisis Chronicles | Permalink | Comments ( 1 )

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