Liberty Street Economics
Liberty Street Economics
Look for our next post on July 31.
July 11, 2017

How the Fed Changes the Size of Its Balance Sheet: The Case of Mortgage-Backed Securities



LSE_2017_How the Fed Changes the Size of Its Balance Sheet: The Case of Mortgage-Backed Securities

In our previous post, we considered balance sheet mechanics related to the Federal Reserve’s purchase and redemption of Treasury securities. These mechanics are fairly straightforward and help to illustrate the basic relationships among actors in the financial system. Here, we turn to transactions involving agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS), which are somewhat more complicated. We focus particularly on what happens when households pay down their mortgages, either through regular monthly amortizations or a large payment covering some or all of the outstanding balance, as might occur with a refinancing.

July 10, 2017

Just Released: Updated SOMA Portfolio and Income Projections



LSE_2017_Updated SOMA Portfolio and Income Projections

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Markets Group today published a report presenting updated staff projections for the future path of domestic securities held in the System Open Market Account (SOMA) and portfolio-related income. The updated projections incorporate very recent information and are provided as a tool for the public to further understand factors affecting the evolution of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet.

How the Fed Changes the Size of Its Balance Sheet



LSE_2017_How the Fed Changes the Size of Its Balance Sheet

The size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet increased greatly between 2009 and 2014 owing to large-scale asset purchases. The balance sheet has stayed at a high level since then through the ongoing reinvestment of principal repayments on securities that the Fed holds. When the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decides to reduce the size of the Fed’s balance sheet, it is expected to do so by gradually reducing the pace of reinvestments, as outlined in the June 2017 addendum to the FOMC’s Policy Normalization Principles and Plans. How do asset purchases increase the size of the Fed’s balance sheet? And how would reducing reinvestments reduce the size of the balance sheet? In this post, we answer these questions by describing the mechanics of the Fed’s balance sheet. In our next post, we will describe the balance sheet mechanics with respect to agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS).

June 30, 2017

The Role of Central Bank Lending Facilities in Monetary Policy



Editor’s note: We corrected an error in the table. (July 3, 2017, 11:21 a.m.)

Central bank lending facilities were vital during the financial crisis of 2007-08 when many banks and nonbank financial institutions turned to them to meet funding needs as private funding dried up. Since then, there has been renewed interest in the design of central bank lending facilities in the post-crisis period. In this post, we compare the Federal Reserve’s discount window with the lending facilities at three other major central banks: the Bank of England (BoE), the European Central Bank (ECB), and the Bank of Japan (BoJ). We observe that, relative to the other central banks, the Fed’s discount window is less integrated into the monetary policy framework. In a follow-up post, we will discuss differences in the central banks’ counterparty and collateral policies.

Posted by Blog Author at 9:29 AM | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

June 28, 2017

Market Liquidity after the Financial Crisis



LSE_Market Liquidity after the Financial Crisis

The possible adverse effects of regulation on market liquidity in the post-crisis period continue to garner significant attention. In a recent paper, we update and unify much of our earlier work on the subject, following up on three series of earlier Liberty Street Economics posts in August 2015, October 2015, and February 2016. We find that dealer balance sheets have continued to stagnate and that various measures point to less abundant funding liquidity. Nonetheless, we do not find clear evidence of a widespread deterioration in market liquidity.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Markets | Permalink | Comments ( 3 )

June 26, 2017

Low Productivity Growth: The Capital Formation Link



Editor’s note: The labels on the y-axis of the chart “Nonfarm Business Sector: Real Output per Hour of All Persons” have been corrected. (June 26, 2017, 11:56 a.m.)

LSE_2017_Productivity-factory_GettyImages-184924253_460x288

A major economic concern is the ongoing sluggishness in the growth of output per worker hour, generally called labor productivity. In an arithmetic sense, the growth of the economy can be accounted for by the increase in hours worked plus that of labor productivity. With the unemployment rate now at a level widely regarded as near “full employment,” growth in hours worked is likely to be limited by demographic forces, most importantly the very limited expansion of the working-age population. If productivity growth also remains low, the sustainable pace of increase of real GDP will be limited and remain noticeably lower than historic norms.

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

June 23, 2017

At the New York Fed: Twelfth Annual Joint Conference with NYU-Stern on Financial Intermediation



LSE_2017_At the New York Fed: Twelfth Annual Joint Conference with NYU-Stern on Financial Intermediation

Anyone who has a savings account, has taken out a mortgage, or has been part of a business seeking new capital has relied on the smooth functioning of the institutions and markets that collectively perform financial intermediation. Because financial intermediation is so critical to the functioning of a modern economy, it is important to understand its inner workings—its fundamental features, recent innovations, lines of transmission to real economic activity, its imperfections, and its interactions with regulatory policies. As part of an ongoing effort to foster such an understanding, the New York Fed recently hosted the twelfth annual Federal Reserve Bank of New York–New York University Stern School of Business Conference on Financial Intermediation. In this post, we explore some of the discussions and findings from the May 5 conference, which focused on recent advances in the study of financial intermediation.

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

June 21, 2017

Low Interest Rates and Bank Profits



LSE_Low Interest Rates and Bank Profits

The Fed’s December 2015 decision to raise interest rates after an unprecedented seven-year stasis offers a chance to assess the link between interest rates and bank profitability. A key determinant of a bank’s profitability is its net interest margin (NIM)—the gap between an institution’s interest income and interest expense, typically normalized by the average size of its interest-earning assets. The aggregate NIM for the largest U.S. banks reached historic lows in the fourth quarter of 2015, coinciding with the “low for long” interest rate environment in place since the financial crisis. When interest rates fall, interest income and interest expenses tend to fall as well, but the relative changes—and the impact on NIM—are less clear. In this post, we explore how NIM fell during the low-interest-rate period, finding that banks mitigated some, but not all, of the impact of lower rates by shifting into less costly types of liabilities. Our analysis also gives insight into how NIM may respond to the new rising interest rate environment.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Banks , Financial Institutions | Permalink | Comments ( 6 )

June 19, 2017

Introducing the Revised Broad Treasuries Financing Rate



LSE_Introducing the Revised Broad Treasuries Financing Rate

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in cooperation with the Office of Financial Research, is proposing to publish three new overnight Treasury repurchase (repo) benchmark rates. Recently, the Federal Reserve decided to modify the construction of the broadest proposed benchmark rate (the other two proposed rates are expected to remain unchanged; see the Bank’s announcement on May 24). In this post, we describe the changes to this rate in further detail. We compare this revised rate to the originally proposed benchmark rate and show that, in the post-liftoff period, it trades higher, on average.

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

June 16, 2017

Hey, Economist! How Do You Forecast the Present?



LSE_Hey, Economist! How Do You Forecast the Present?

New York Fed macroeconomists have been sharing their “nowcast” of GDP growth on the Bank’s public website since April 2016. Now, they’ve launched an interactive version of the Nowcasting Report, which updates the point forecast each week, but also helps users better visualize the impact of the flow of incoming data on the estimate produced by the model. Tables offer more detail on the data series informing the estimate. The interactive version also reports the staff nowcast back to January 2016, a longer nowcast history than has previously been available. Cross-media editor Anna Snider spoke to Domenico Giannone, Argia Sbordone, and Andrea Tambalotti—economists who developed the model underlying the report and produce estimates weekly with the help of research analysts Brandyn Bok and Daniele Caratelli—about nowcasting and its role in the policymaking process.

Posted by Blog Author at 11:15 AM in Forecasting , Macroecon | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

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Liberty Street Economics features insight and analysis from economists working at the intersection of research and policy. The editors are Michael Fleming, Andrew Haughwout, Thomas Klitgaard, and Donald Morgan.

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