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From the fourth quarter of 2017 through the third quarter of 2018, the average contract interest rate on new thirty-year fixed rate mortgages rose by roughly 70 basis points—from 3.9 percent to 4.6 percent. During this same period, there was a broad-based slowing in housing market activity with sales of new single-family homes declining by 7.6 percent while sales of existing single-family homes fell by 4.6 percent. Interestingly though, these declines in home sales were larger than in the two previous episodes when mortgage interest rates rose by a comparable amount. This post considers whether provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) might have also contributed to the recent decline in housing market activity.
Sean Hundtofte, Michael Lee, Antoine Martin, and Reed Orchinik
Having witnessed the dramatic rise and fall in the value of cryptocurrencies over the past year, we wanted to learn more about what motivates people to participate in this market. To find out, we included a special set of questions in the May 2018 Survey of Consumer Expectations, a project of the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data. This blog post summarizes the results of that survey, shedding light on U.S. consumers’ depth of participation in cryptocurrencies and their motives for entering this new market.
Marco Del Negro, Domenico Giannone, Marc P. Giannoni, Andrea Tambalotti, Brandyn Bok, and Eric Qian
Long-term government bond yields are at their lowest levels of the past 150 years in advanced economies. In this blog post, we argue that this low-interest-rate environment reflects secular global forces that have lowered real interest rates by about two percentage points over the past forty years. The magnitude of this decline has been nearly the same in all advanced economies, since their real interest rates have converged over this period. The key factors behind this development are an increase in demand for safety and liquidity among investors and a slowdown in global economic growth.
From 2008 to 2014 the Federal Reserve vastly increased the size of its balance sheet, mainly through its large-scale asset purchase programs (LSAPs). The resulting abundance of reserves affected the financial system in a number of ways, including by changing the intraday timing of interbank payments. In this post we show that (1) there appears to be a nonlinear relationship between the amount of reserves in the system and the timing of interbank payments, and (2) with the increase in reserves, smaller banks shifted their timing of payments more significantly than larger banks did. This result suggests that tracking the timing of payments sent by banks could provide an informative signal about the impact of the shrinking Federal Reserve balance sheet on the payments system.
Ryan Bush, Adam Kirk, Antoine Martin, Phil Weed, and Patricia Zobel
Since the financial crisis, banking regulators around the world have been intensely aware of liquidity risk and, in part as a response, have introduced the Basel III liquidity regulation. Today, the world’s largest banks hold substantial liquidity buffers comprising both securities and central bank reserves, to satisfy internal liquidity stress tests and minimum quantitative regulatory requirements. The appropriate level of liquidity buffers depends on the likely outflows in a market stress situation. In this post, we use public data to provide a rough estimate of stressed outflows that the largest banks would face and consider how they could meet these outflows.
Nicola Cetorelli, Stephanie Clampitt, Giovanni Majnoni d’Intignano, and Valerio Vacca
To mark the 100-year anniversary of the Banca d’Italia’s New York office, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Banca d’Italia hosted a workshop on post-crisis financial regulation in November 2018. The goal of the workshop was to discuss differences in regulation between the United States and Europe (and around the globe more broadly), examine gaps in current regulations, identify challenges to be addressed, and raise awareness about the unintended consequences of regulation. The workshop included presentations by researchers from the U.S. and Europe on such topics as market liquidity, funding, and capital requirements. In this post, we present some of the findings and discussions from the workshop.
In our previous post, we assessed losses to customers and clients from foregone opportunities after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September 2008. In this post, we examine losses to Lehman and its investors in anticipation of bankruptcy. For example, if bankruptcy is expected, Lehman’s earnings may decline as customers close their accounts or certain securities (such as derivatives) to which Lehman is a counterparty may lose value. We estimate these losses by analyzing Lehman’s earnings and stock, bond, and credit default swap (CDS) prices.
In our second post on the Lehman bankruptcy, we discussed the cost to Lehman’s creditors from having their funds tied up in bankruptcy proceedings. In this post, we focus on losses to Lehman’s customers and employees from the destruction of firm-specific assets that could not be deployed as productively with other firms. Our conclusions are based in part on what happened after bankruptcy—whether, for example, customer accounts moved to other firms or employees found jobs elsewhere. While these costs are difficult to pin down, the analysis suggests that the most notable losses were borne by mutual funds that relied on Lehman’s specialized brokerage advice and firms that employed Lehman for its equity underwriting services.
Expectations of creditor recovery were low when the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy process started. On the day the firm filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, the average price of Lehman’s senior bonds implied a recovery rate of about 30 percent for senior creditors. A month later the bond price was implying a recovery rate of 9 percent, consistent with results from Lehman’s CDS auction. Two and a half years later, Lehman’s estate estimated that the recovery rate for holding company creditors would be just 16 percent. So, ten years after the filing, how much did creditors actually recover?
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LBHI) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on September 15, 2008, initiating one of the largest and most complex bankruptcy proceedings in history. Recovery prospects for creditors, who submitted about $1.2 trillion of claims against the Lehman estate, were quite bleak. This week, we will publish a series of four posts that provide an assessment of the value lost to Lehman, its creditors, and other stakeholders now that the bankruptcy proceedings are winding down. Where appropriate, we also consider the liquidation of Lehman’s investment banking affiliate, which occurred in separate proceedings under the Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA).
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.
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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