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256 posts on "Financial Markets"
June 30, 2021

Banking the Unbanked: The Past and Future of the Free Checking Account

Banking the Unbanked: The Past and Future of the Free Checking Account

About one in twenty American households are unbanked (meaning they do not have a demand deposit or checking account) and many more are underbanked (meaning they do not have the range of bank-provided financial services they need). Unbanked and underbanked households are more likely to be lower-income households and households of color. Inadequate access to financial services pushes the unbanked to use high-cost alternatives for their transactional needs and can also hinder access to credit when households need it. That, in turn, can have adverse effects on the financial health, educational opportunities, and welfare of unbanked households, thereby aggravating economic inequality. Why is access to financial services so uneven? The roots to part of this problem are historical, and in this post we will look back four decades to changes in regulation, shifts in the ownership structure of retail financial services, and the decline of free/low-cost checking accounts in the United States to search out a few of the contributory factors.

May 26, 2021

The Overnight Drift in U.S. Equity Returns

Since the advent of electronic trading in the late 1990s, S&P 500 futures have traded close to 24 hours a day. In this post, which draws on our recent Staff Report, we document that holding U.S. equity futures overnight has earned a large positive return during the opening hours of European markets. The largest positive returns in the 1998–2019 sample have accrued between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. U.S. Eastern time—the opening of European stock markets—and averaged 3.6 percent on an annualized basis, a phenomenon we call the overnight drift.

March 24, 2021

Did Dealers Fail to Make Markets during the Pandemic?

Sarkar and coauthors liquidity provision by dealers in several important financial markets during the COVID-19 pandemic: how much was provided, possible causes of any shortfalls, and the effects of the Federal Reserve’s actions to support the economy.

March 22, 2021

The Persistent Compression of the Breakeven Inflation Curve

Breakeven inflation, defined as the difference in the yield of a nominal Treasury security and a Treasury inflation protected security (TIPS) of the same maturity, is closely watched by market participants and policymakers alike. Breakeven inflation rates provide a signal about the expected path of inflation as perceived by market participants although they are also affected by risk and liquidity premia. In this post, we scrutinize the dynamics of breakeven inflation, highlighting some intriguing behavior which has persisted for a number of years and even through the pandemic. In particular, we document a substantial downward shift in the level of breakeven inflation as well as a marked flattening of the breakeven inflation curve.

February 24, 2021

State-of-the-Field Conference on Cyber Risk to Financial Stability

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York partnered with Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) for the second annual State-of-the-Field Conference on Cyber Risk to Financial Stability on December 14-15, 2020. Hosted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference took place amidst the unfolding news of a cyberattack against a major cybersecurity vendor and software vendor, underscoring vulnerabilities from cyber risk.

February 18, 2021

How Competitive are U.S. Treasury Repo Markets?

The Treasury repo market is at the center of the U.S. financial system, serving as a source of secured funding as well as providing liquidity for Treasuries in the secondary market. Recently, results published by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) raised concerns that the repo market may be dominated by as few as four banks. In this post, we show that the secured funding portion of the repo market is competitive by demonstrating that trading is not concentrated overall and explaining how the pricing of inter-dealer repo trades is available to a wide-range of market participants. By extension, rate-indexes based on repo trades, such as SOFR, reflect a deep market with a broad set of participants.

February 5, 2021

Up on Main Street

The Main Street Lending Program was the last of the facilities launched by the Fed and Treasury to support the flow of credit during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-21. The others primarily targeted Wall Street borrowers; Main Street was for smaller firms that rely more on banks for credit. It was a complicated program that worked by purchasing loans and sharing risk with lenders. Despite its delayed launch, Main Street purchased more debt than any other facility and was accelerating when it closed in January 2021. This post first locates Main Street in the constellation of COVID-19 credit programs, then looks in detail at its design and usage with an eye toward any future programs.

February 3, 2021

Equity Volatility Term Premia

Investors can buy volatility hedges on the stock market using variance swaps or VIX futures. One motivation for hedging volatility is its negative relationship with the stock market. When volatility increases, stock returns tend to decline contemporaneously, a result known as the leverage effect. In this post, we measure the cost of volatility hedging by decomposing the prices of variance swaps and VIX futures into volatility forecasts and estimates of expected returns (“equity volatility term premia”) from January 1996 to June 2020.

Posted at 7:00 am in Financial Markets | Permalink | Comments (0)
February 1, 2021

The Law of One Price in Equity Volatility Markets

Can option traders take a square root? Surprisingly, maybe not. This post shows that VIX futures prices exhibit significant deviations from their option-implied upper bounds—the square root of variance swap forward rates—thus violating the law of one price, a fundamental concept in economics and finance. The deviations widen during periods of market stress and predict the returns of VIX futures. Just as the stock market struggles with multiplication, the equity volatility market appears unable to take a square root at times.

Posted at 7:00 am in Financial Markets | Permalink | Comments (0)
January 6, 2021

The International Spillover of U.S. Monetary Policy via Global Production Linkages

Julian di Giovanni describes work with Galina Hale that employs an empirical framework to quantify the role of the global production network in transmitting U.S. monetary policy across international stock markets.

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