-Liberty Street Economics
Liberty Street Economics
August 13, 2020

The Disproportionate Effects of COVID-19 on Households with Children



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A growing body of evidence points to large negative economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on low-income, Black, and Hispanic Americans (see this LSE post and reports by Pew Research and Harvard). Beyond the consequences of school cancellations and lost social interactions, there exists considerable concern about the long-lasting effects of economic hardship on children. In this post, we assess the extent of the underlying economic and financial strain faced by households with children living at home, using newly collected data from the monthly Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE).

August 12, 2020

Token- or Account-Based? A Digital Currency Can Be Both



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Digital currencies, including potential central bank digital currencies (CBDC), have generated a lot of interest over the past decade, since the emergence of Bitcoin. The interest has only grown in recent months because of a desire for contactless payment methods, stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. In this post, we discuss a common distinction made between “token-based” and “account-based” digital currencies. We show that this distinction is problematic because Bitcoin and many other digital currencies satisfy both definitions.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Cryptocurrencies , Currency | Permalink | Comments ( 2 )

August 10, 2020

Implications of the COVID-19 Disruption for Corporate Leverage



Editor’s note: When this post was first published, the table showed incorrect figures for the Professional/Business Services industry; the table has been corrected. (August 10, 10:20 a.m.)

Implications of the COVID-19 Disruption for Corporate Leverage

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant economic disruptions among U.S. corporations. In this post, we study the preliminary impact of these disruptions on the cash flow and leverage of public U.S. corporations using public filings through April 2020. We find that the pandemic had a negative impact on cash flow while also reducing corporations’ interest expenses. However, the cash flow shock far outpaced the benefits of lower interest payments, especially in industries that were disproportionately levered. Looking ahead, we find that a sizable share of U.S. corporations have interest expense greater than cash flow, raising concerns about the ability of those corporations to endure further liquidity shocks.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Bank Capital , Pandemic | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

August 07, 2020

Securing Secured Finance: The Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility



Securing Secured Finance: The Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility

This post is part of an ongoing series on the credit and liquidity facilities established by the Federal Reserve to support households and businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The asset-backed securities (ABS) market, by supporting loans to households and businesses such as credit card and student loans, is essential to the flow of credit in the economy. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted this market, resulting in higher interest rate spreads on ABS and halting the issuance of most ABS asset classes. On March 23, 2020, the Fed established the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) to facilitate the issuance of ABS backed by a variety of loan types including student loans, credit card loans, and loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA), thereby re-enabling the flow of credit to households and businesses of all sizes. In this post, we describe how the TALF works, its impact on market conditions, and how it differs from the TALF that the Fed established in 2009.

August 06, 2020

A Monthly Peek into Americans’ Credit During the COVID-19 Pandemic



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Total household debt was roughly flat in the second quarter of 2020, according to the latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit from the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data. But, for the first time, the dynamics in household debt balances were driven primarily by a sharp decline in credit card balances, as consumer spending plummeted. In an effort to gain greater clarity, the New York Fed and the Federal Reserve System have acquired monthly updates for the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel, based on anonymized Equifax credit report data. We’ve been closely watching the data as they roll in, and here we present six key takeaways on the consumer balance sheet in the months since COVID-19 hit.

Posted by Blog Author at 11:04 AM in Household Finance , Pandemic | Permalink | Comments ( 1 )

August 05, 2020

Reconsidering the Phase One Trade Deal with China in the Midst of the Pandemic



Reconsidering the Phase One Trade Deal with China in the Midst of the Pandemic

It may be hard to remember given the pandemic, but trade tensions between the United States and China eased in January 2020 with the inking of the Phase One agreement. Under the deal, China committed to a massive increase in its purchases of U.S. goods and services, with targets set for various types of products. At the time of the pact, the U.S. economy was operating near full capacity, and any increase in U.S. exports stemming from the pact would likely have resulted in only a small boost to growth. The environment is now starkly different, with the U.S. economy operating far below potential. While the promised increase in Chinese purchases seems unlikely to be achieved, any appreciable increase in exports from the agreement is now more likely to deliver a meaningful boost to the economy.

August 04, 2020

Tracking the COVID-19 Economy with the Weekly Economic Index (WEI)



Tracking the COVID-19 Economy with the WEI

At the end of March, we launched the Weekly Economic Index (WEI) as a tool to monitor changes in real activity during the pandemic. The rapid deterioration in economic conditions made it important to assess developments as soon as possible, rather than waiting for monthly and quarterly data to be released. In this post, we describe how the WEI has measured the effects of COVID-19. So far in 2020, the WEI has synthesized daily and weekly data to measure GDP growth remarkably well. We document this performance, and we offer some guidance on evaluating the WEI’s forecasting abilities based on 2020 data and interpreting WEI updates and revisions.

August 03, 2020

The Federal Reserve’s Large-Scale Repo Program



The repo market faced extraordinary liquidity strains in March amid broader financial market volatility related to the coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty regarding the path of policy. The strains were particularly severe in the term repo market, in which borrowing and lending arrangements are for longer than one business day. In this post, we discuss the causes of the liquidity disruptions that arose in the repo market as well as the Federal Reserve’s actions to address those disruptions.

July 17, 2020

MBS Market Dysfunctions in the Time of COVID-19



MBS Market Dysfunctions in the Time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic elevated financial market illiquidity and volatility, especially in March 2020. The mortgage-backed securities (MBS) market, which plays a critical role in the housing market by funding the vast majority of U.S. residential mortgages, also suffered a period of dysfunction. In this post, we study a particular aspect of MBS market disruptions by showing how a long-standing relationship between cash and forward markets broke down, in spite of MBS dealers increasing the provision of liquidity. (See our related staff report for greater detail.) We also highlight an innovative response by the Federal Reserve that seemed to have helped to normalize market functioning.

July 16, 2020

Federal Reserve Agency CMBS Purchases



Federal Reserve Agency CMBS Purchases

On March 23, the Open Market Trading Desk (the Desk) at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York initiated plans to purchase agency commercial mortgage-backed securities (agency CMBS) at the direction of the FOMC in order to support smooth market functioning of the markets for these securities. This post describes the deterioration in market conditions that led to agency CMBS purchases, how the Desk conducts these operations, and how market functioning has improved since the start of the purchase operations.

About the Blog
Liberty Street Economics features insight and analysis from New York Fed economists working at the intersection of research and policy. Launched in 2011, the blog takes its name from the Bank’s headquarters at 33 Liberty Street in Manhattan’s Financial District.

The editors are Michael Fleming, Andrew Haughwout, Thomas Klitgaard, and Asani Sarkar, all economists in the Bank’s Research Group.

Liberty Street Economics does not publish new posts during the blackout periods surrounding Federal Open Market Committee meetings.

The views expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of the New York Fed or the Federal Reserve System.


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