Liberty Street Economics

Look for our next post on May 6, 2024.

March 26, 2024

What Happens to U.S. Activity and Inflation if China’s Property Sector Leads to a Crisis?

Photo: Construction site of three tall building towers with threes crane

A previous post explored the potential implications for U.S. growth and inflation of a manufacturing-led boom in China. This post considers spillovers to the U.S. from a downside scenario, one in which China’s ongoing property sector slump takes another leg down and precipitates an economic hard landing and financial crisis.

March 25, 2024

What if China Manufactures a Sugar High?

Photo: workers sitting at machines at a factory in China

While the slump in China’s property sector has been steep, Chinese policymakers have responded to the falloff in property activity with policies designed to spur activity in the manufacturing sector. The apparent hope is that a pivot toward production-intensive growth can help lift the Chinese economy out of its current doldrums, which include weak household demand, high levels of debt, and demographic and political headwinds to growth. In a series of posts, we consider the implications of two alternative Chinese policy scenarios for the risks to the U.S. outlook for real activity and inflation over the next two years. Here, we consider the impact of a scenario in which a credit-fueled boom in manufacturing activity produces higher-than-expected economic growth in China. A key finding is that such a boom would put meaningful upward pressure on U.S. inflation.

March 22, 2024

The New York Fed DSGE Model Forecast—March 2024

decorative photo: chart and stock prices background.

This post presents an update of the economic forecasts generated by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model. We describe very briefly our forecast and its change since December 2023. As usual, we wish to remind our readers that the DSGE model forecast is not an official New York Fed forecast, but only an input to the Research staff’s overall forecasting process. For more information about the model and variables discussed here, see our DSGE model Q & A.

Posted at 9:00 am in DSGE | Permalink | Comments (0)
March 8, 2024

Stablecoins and Crypto Shocks

Decorative photo of computer board with "stable coin" letters embedded.

In a previous post, we described the rapid growth of the stablecoin market over the past few years and then discussed the TerraUSD stablecoin run of May 2022. The TerraUSD run, however, is not the only episode of instability experienced by a stablecoin. Other noteworthy incidents include the June 2021 run on IRON and, more recently, the de-pegging of USD Coin’s secondary market price from $1.00 to $0.88 upon the failure of Silicon Valley Bank in March 2023. In this post, based on our recent staff report, we consider the following questions: Do stablecoin investors react to broad-based shocks in the crypto asset industry? Do the investors run from the entire stablecoin industry, or do they engage in a flight to safer stablecoins? We conclude with some high-level discussion points on potential regulations of stablecoins. 

March 7, 2024

Will the Moderation in Wage Growth Continue?  

Photo of women in an electronics Factory Worker in Blue Work Coat and Protective Glasses is Assembling Smartphones with Screwdriver. High Tech Factory Facility with more Employees in the Background.

Wage growth has moderated notably following its post-pandemic surge, but it remains strong compared to the wage growth prevailing during the low-inflation pre-COVID years. Will the moderation continue, or will it stall? And what does it say about the current state of the labor market? In this post, we use our own measure of wage growth persistence – called Trend Wage Inflation (TWIn in short) – to look at these questions. Our main finding is that, after a rapid decline from 7 percent at its peak in late 2021 to around 5 percent in early 2023, TWin has changed little in recent months, indicating that the moderation in nominal wage growth may have stalled. We also show that our measure of trend wage inflation and labor market tightness comove very closely. Hence, the recent behavior of TWIn is consistent with a still-tight labor market.  

Posted at 12:00 pm in Employment, Inflation, Labor Market | Permalink
March 5, 2024

Expectations and the Final Mile of Disinflation

Photo of a crowd of business people and others walking to work.

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. economy experienced a swift recovery accompanied by a sharp rise in inflation. Inflation has been gradually declining since 2022 without a notable slowdown in the labor market. Nonetheless, inflation remains above the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target and the path of the so-called final mile remains uncertain, as emphasized by Chair Powell during his press conference in January. In this post, we examine the unemployment-inflation trade-off over the past few years through the lens of a New Keynesian Phillips curve, based on our recent paper. We also provide model-based forecasts for 2024 and 2025 under various labor market scenarios.

Posted at 9:00 am in Inflation | Permalink
March 4, 2024

Global Supply Chains and U.S. Import Price Inflation

decorative photo of several cargo ships in a harbor. One is moving out of port.

Inflation around the world increased dramatically with the reopening of economies following COVID-19. After reaching a peak of 11 percent in the second quarter of 2021, world trade prices dropped by more than five percentage points by the middle of 2023. U.S. import prices followed a similar pattern, albeit with a lower peak and a deeper trough. In a new study, we investigate what drove these price movements by using information on the prices charged for products shipped from fifty-two exporters to fifty-two importers, comprising more than twenty-five million trade flows. We uncover several patterns in the data: (i) From 2021:Q1 to 2022:Q2, almost all of the growth in U.S. import prices can be attributed to global factors, that is, trends present in most countries; (ii) at the end of 2022, U.S. import price inflation started to be driven by U.S. demand factors; (iii) in 2023, foreign suppliers to the U.S. market caught up with demand and account for the decline in import price inflation, with a significant role played by China. 

February 28, 2024

Can Electric Cars Power China’s Growth?

Decorative image: photo of woman charging an electric car

China’s aggressive policies to develop its battery-powered electric vehicle (BEV) industry have been successful in making the country the dominant producer of these vehicles worldwide. Going forward, BEVs will likely claim a growing share of global motor vehicle sales, helped along by subsides and mandates implemented in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. Nevertheless, China’s success in selling BEVs may not contribute much to its GDP growth, owing both to the maturity of its motor vehicle sector and the strong tendency for countries to protect this high-profile industry.  

February 21, 2024

Businesses See Inflationary Pressures Moderating

Shortly after the recovery from the pandemic recession began, the U.S. economy entered a period of high inflation as surging demand, severe supply disruptions, and worker shortages combined to create large imbalances and inflationary pressures in the economy. More recently, however, inflationary pressures have been moderating. Indeed, the inflation rate as measured by the consumer price index (CPI) has come down from its recent peak of 9.1 percent in the summer of 2022 to 3.1 percent at the start of 2024. Have inflationary pressures also moderated for local businesses in the New York–Northern New Jersey region? The New York Fed’s February business surveys asked firms about increases in their costs and prices. Results indicate that the pace of increase in costs, wages, and prices have all slowed considerably over the past year. Moreover, firms in the region expect cost and price increases, as well as the overall inflation rate, to moderate further in the year ahead.

February 14, 2024

How and Why Do Consumers Use “Buy Now, Pay Later”?

Decorative illustration: two shopping bags (small and large). Text on Image Credit access and What's the role of BNPL?

In a previous post, we highlighted that financially fragile households are disproportionately likely to use “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) payment plans. In this post, we shed further light on BNPL’s place in its users’ household finances, with a particular focus on how use varies by a household’s level of financial fragility. Our results reveal substantially different use patterns, as more-fragile households tend to use the service to make frequent, relatively small, purchases that they might have trouble affording otherwise. In contrast, financially stable households tend to not use BNPL as frequently and are more likely to emphasize that BNPL allows them to avoid paying interest on credit-finance purchases. We explore below what drives these differences and consider the implications for future BNPL use.

Posted at 10:00 am in Credit, Household Finance | Permalink | Comments (1)
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.

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