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276 posts on "Liberty Street Economics"
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 12, 2024

Measuring Treasury Market Depth

Decorative Image: image of 3 United States Savings Bonds.

A commonly used measure of market liquidity is market depth, which refers to the quantity of securities market participants are willing to buy or sell at particular prices. The market depth of U.S. Treasury securities, in particular, is assessed in many analyses of market functioning, including this Liberty Street Economics post on liquidity in 2023, this article on market functioning in March 2020, and this paper on liquidity after the Global Financial Crisis. In this post, we review the many measurement decisions that go into depth calculations and show that inferences about the evolution of Treasury market depth, and hence liquidity, are largely invariant with respect to these decisions. 

Posted at 7:00 am in Financial Markets | Permalink | Comments (1)
February 7, 2024

Racial and Ethnic Wealth Inequality in the Post‑Pandemic Era

Editor’s note: Since this post was first published, the authors updated their analysis to focus on the household level of wealth rather than the aggregate level. Please refer to the new blog post and findings here Racial and Ethnic Inequalities in Household Wealth Persist. (June 28, @ 7:19am)

Decorative illustration: 3 people on a pedestal. Whose net worth increased?

Wealth is unevenly distributed across racial and ethnic groups in the United States. In this first post in a two-part series on wealth inequality, we use the Distributional Financial Accounts (DFA) to document these disparities between Black, Hispanic, and white households from the first quarter of 2019 to the third quarter of 2023 for wealth and a variety of asset and liability categories. We find that these disparities have been exacerbated since the pandemic, likely due to rapid growth in the financial assets more often held by white individuals.

January 18, 2024

The Power of Proximity: How Working beside Colleagues Affects Training and Productivity

Firms remain divided about the value of the office for “office” workers. Some firms think that their employees are more productive when working from home. Others believe that the office is a key place for investing in workers’ skills. In this post, which is based on a recent working paper, we examine whether both sides could be right: Could working in the office facilitate investments in workers’ skills for tomorrow that diminish productivity today?

January 11, 2024

Towards Increasing Complexity: The Evolution of the FX Market

Editor’s note: Since this post was first published, the first paragraph under the “Looking Forward” subhead has been updated to clarify the expected increase in the speed of FX transaction settlements. (Jan. 25, 2:30 p.m.)

Decorative photo of a currency exchange board with prices listed.

The foreign exchange market has evolved extensively over time, undergoing important shifts in the types of market participants and the mix of instruments traded, within a trading ecosystem that has become increasingly complex. In this post, we discuss fundamental changes in this market over the past twenty-five years and highlight some of the implications for its future evolution. Our analysis suggests that maintaining a healthy price discovery process and fostering a level playing field among participants are areas to watch for challenges. The consequences of the evolution of the FX market—well beyond those anticipated twenty-five years ago—remain active areas of research and policy consideration.

January 10, 2024

An Overlooked Factor in Banks’ Lending to Minorities

Illustration: Economic Inequality - Credit Access: What affects lending disparities? gold background with ill of a bank building and four people of different races. arrows showing a circular motion between them.

In the second quarter of 2022, the homeownership rate for white households was 75 percent, compared to 45 percent for Black households and 48 percent for Hispanic households. One reason for these differences, virtually unchanged in the last few decades, is uneven access to credit. Studies have documented that minorities are more likely to be denied credit, pay higher rates, be charged higher fees, and face longer turnaround times compared to similar non-minority borrowers. In this post, which is based on a related Staff Report, we show that banks vary substantially in their lending to minorities, and we document an overlooked factor in this difference—the inequality aversion of banks’ stakeholders.

Posted at 7:00 am in Banks, Housing, Inequality | Permalink
January 8, 2024

Measuring Price Inflation and Growth in Economic Well‑Being with Income‑Dependent Preferences

Photo: Young minority family unloading groceries from car

How can we accurately measure changes in living standards over time in the presence of price inflation? In this post, I discuss a novel and simple methodology that uses the cross-sectional relationship between income and household-level inflation to construct accurate measures of changes in living standards that account for the dependence of consumption preferences on income. Applying this method to data from the U.S. suggests potentially substantial mismeasurements in our available proxies of average growth in consumer welfare in the U.S.

December 21, 2023

Where Is R‑Star and the End of the Refi Boom: The Top 5 Posts of 2023

The Top 5 Posts of 2023 Graphic

The topics covered on Liberty Street Economics in 2023 hit many themes, reflecting the range of research interests of the more than sixty staff economists at the New York Fed and their coauthors. We published 122 posts this year, exploring important subjects such as equitable growth and the economic impacts of extreme weather, alongside our deep and long-standing coverage of topics like inflation, banking system vulnerability, international economics, and monetary policy effects. As we close out the year, we’re taking a look back at the top five posts. See you again in 2024.

Posted at 7:00 am in Banks, Household Finance, Treasury | Permalink
December 20, 2023

Does Trade Uncertainty Affect Bank Lending?

two cargo ships loaded with shipping containers on a calm sea.

The recent era of global trade expansion is over. Faced with increased geopolitical risk, fragile foreign supply chains, and uncertainties in the international trade environment, firms are postponing entry into foreign markets and pulling back from foreign activities (IMF 2023). Besides its direct effects on real activity, the recent rise in trade uncertainty has potentially important implications for the financial sector. This post describes how the lending activities of U.S. banks were affected by the rise in trade uncertainty during the 2018-19 “trade war.” In particular, banks that were more exposed to trade uncertainty contracted lending to all of their domestic nonfinancial business borrowers, regardless of whether these borrowers were facing high or low uncertainty themselves. Furthermore, banks’ lending strategies exhibited the type of “wait-and-see” behavior usually found in corporate firms facing investment decisions under uncertainty, and the lending contraction was larger for those banks that were more financially constrained.

Posted at 9:00 am in Banks, International Economics | Permalink
December 19, 2023

Dropping Like a Stone: ON RRP Take‑up in the Second Half of 2023

Decorative photo of tall buildings with bank sign and spreadsheet overlay.

Take-up at the Overnight Reverse Repo Facility (ON RRP) has halved over the past six months, declining by more than $1 trillion since June 2023. This steady decrease follows a rapid increase from close to zero in early 2021 to $2.2 trillion in December 2022, and a period of relatively stable balances during the first half of 2023. In this post, we interpret the recent drop in ON RRP take-up through the lens of the channels that we identify in our recent Staff Report as driving its initial increase.

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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This ongoing Liberty Street Economics series analyzes disparities in economic and policy outcomes by race, gender, age, region, income, and other factors.

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