Take-up at the Federal Reserve’s Overnight Reverse Repo Facility (ON RRP) increased from a few billion dollars in January 2021 to around $2.6 trillion at the end of December 2022. In this post, based on a recent Staff Report, we explain how the supply of U.S. Treasury bills (T-bills) affects the decision of money market mutual funds (MMFs) to invest at the facility. We show that MMFs responded to a reduction in T-bill supply by increasing their take-up at the ON RRP, helping to explain the increased overall take-up.
March 2023 will rightfully be remembered as a period of major turmoil for the U.S. banking industry. In this post, we go beyond banks to analyze how fixed-income, open-end funds (bond funds) fared in the days after the start of the banking crisis. We find that bond funds experienced net outflows each day for almost three weeks after the run on Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), and that these outflows were experienced diffusely across the entire segment. Our preliminary evidence suggests that the outflows from bond funds may have been an unintended consequence of the exceptional measures taken to strengthen the balance sheet of banks during this time.
Blog Series on the Economic and Financial Impacts of Extreme Weather Events in the Fed’s Second District
The frequency and ferocity of extreme weather events, such as flooding, storms, and deadly heat waves, have been on the rise in recent years. These climate events, along with human adaption to cope with them, may have large effects on the economy and financial markets. It is therefore paramount to provide research about the economy’s vulnerability to climate events for policymakers, households, financial institutions, and other players in the world economy to make informed decisions. In the coming days, we are going to present a series of nine posts that attempt to take a step in this direction while focusing on the Federal Reserve System’s Second District (NY, northern NJ, southwest CT, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). The twelve Federal Reserve Districts are depicted in this map.
In a 2022 post, we showed how liquidity conditions in the U.S. Treasury securities market had worsened as supply disruptions, high inflation, and geopolitical conflict increased uncertainty about the expected path of interest rates. In this post, we revisit some commonly used metrics to assess how market liquidity has evolved since. We find that liquidity worsened abruptly in March 2023 after the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, but then quickly improved to levels close to those of the preceding year. As in 2022, liquidity in 2023 continues to closely track the level that would be expected by the path of interest rate volatility.
This post estimates “convenience yields” for government debt in ten of the G11 currencies based on analysis from a recent paper. As in our companion post, we measure convenience yields with option-implied box rate data that is estimated from options traded on the main stock market index in each country. We find that a country’s average convenience yield is closely related to its level of interest rates. In addition, we find that average covered interest parity (CIP) deviations are roughly the same across countries when they are measured with box rates. We rationalize these findings with a model in which convenience yields depend on domestic financial intermediaries, but CIP deviations depend on international arbitrageurs funded with dollar debt.
One of the most fundamental concepts in finance is the notion of a risk-free rate. This interest rate tells us how much money investors are guaranteed to receive in the future by saving one dollar today. As a result, risk-free rates reflect investors’ preferences for payoffs in the future relative to the present. Yields on U.S. Treasury securities are generally viewed as a standard benchmark for the risk-free rate, but they may also feature a “convenience yield,” reflecting Treasuries’ special, money-like properties. In this post, we estimate a risk-free rate implicit in the prices of S&P 500 index options—called the box rate—to measure investors’ time preference separate from Treasury convenience yields.
Activist shareholders play a central role in modern corporations, influencing the capital structure, business strategy, and governance of firms. Such “blockholders” range from investors who actively jawbone or break up firms to index funds that are largely passive in that they limit themselves to voting. In between, however, is a key group of blockholders that have historically focused on trading but have embraced activism as an established business strategy in the past few decades. Campaigns involving such “trading” blockholders have become ubiquitous, increasingly targeting large-capitalization firms; further, their attacks feature multiple activists, each with individual stakes that, in isolation, are unable to control targets. In this post, we ask three questions: (1) How do trading activists build stakes before an attack, while anticipating that other investors may have similar incentives? (2) Does the nature of strategic trading change relative to settings where activism is unlikely to occur? (3) Are there trade-offs between trading and the firm’s long-term value?
Permissionless blockchains, which support the most popular cryptocurrency networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum, have shown that it is possible to transfer value without relying on centralized trusted third parties, something that is new and remarkable (although perhaps most clearly useful for less developed financial markets). What makes permissionless blockchains able to transfer value without relying on a small number of trusted third parties is the combination of several components that all need to work together. The components themselves are not particularly new, but the combination of these components is more than the sum of its parts. In this post, we provide a high-level overview of these components and how they interact, taking Bitcoin as an example.
Stablecoins are digital assets whose value is pegged to that of fiat currencies, usually the U.S. dollar, with a typical exchange rate of one dollar per unit. Their market capitalization has grown exponentially over the last couple of years, from $5 billion in 2019 to around $180 billion in 2022. Notwithstanding their name, however, stablecoins can be very unstable: between May 1 and May 16, 2022, there was a run on stablecoins, with their circulation decreasing by 15.58 billion and their market capitalization dropping by $25.63 billion (see charts below.) In this post, we describe the different types of stablecoins and how they keep their peg, compare them with money market funds—a similar but much older and more regulated financial product, and discuss the stablecoin run of May 2022.
Comparing our financial stability real interest rate, r** (“r-double-star”) with the prevailing real interest rate gives a measure of how vulnerable the economy is to financial instability. In this post, we first explain how r** can be measured, and then discuss its evolution over the last fifty years and how to interpret the recent banking turmoil within this framework.