The U.S. dollar has played a preeminent role in the global economy since the second World War. It is used as a reserve currency and the currency of denomination for a large fraction of global trade and financial transactions. The status of the U.S. dollar engenders important considerations for the effectiveness of U.S. policy instruments and the functioning of global financial markets. These considerations include understanding potential factors that may alter the dominance of the U.S. dollar in the future, such as changes in the macroeconomic and policy environments or the development of new technologies and payment systems.
The onset of the COVID-19 shock in March 2020 brought large changes to the balance sheets of the U.S. branches of foreign banking organizations (FBOs). Most of these branches saw sizable usage of committed credit lines by U.S.-based clients, resulting in increased funding needs. In this post, we show that branches of FBOs from countries whose central banks used standing swap lines with the Federal Reserve (“standing swap central banks”—SSCBs) met their increased funding needs by accessing dollars that flowed into the United States through their foreign parent banks. This volume of dollar inflows accounted for at least half of the late March aggregate take-up at SSCB dollar operations.
After the global financial crisis, regulatory changes were implemented to support financial stability, with some changes directly addressing capital and liquidity in bank holding companies (BHCs) and others targeting BHC size and complexity. Although the overall size of the largest U.S. BHCs has not decreased since the crisis, the organizational complexity of these same organizations has declined, with less notable changes being observed in their range of businesses and geographic scope (Goldberg and Meehl forthcoming). In this post, we explore how different types of BHC risks—risks that can influence the probability that a BHC is stressed, as well as the chance of systemic implications—have changed over time. The results are mixed: Levels of most BHC risks currently tend to be higher than in the years immediately preceding the crisis, but are markedly lower than the levels seen during and immediately following the crisis.
Previous Liberty Street Economics analysis and New York Fed research addressed the potential implications for the United States if the dollar’s global role changed, noting that the currency might not retain its dominance forever. This post checks the status of the dollar, considering whether any erosion in the dollar’s international standing has occurred. The evidence to date is that the dollar remains the world’s dominant currency by broad margins. Alternatives have not gained extensive traction, albeit this does not rule out potential future pressures.
Highlights from the Fourth Bi-annual Global Research Forum on International Macroeconomics and Finance
Achieving and maintaining global financial stability has been at the forefront of policy discussions in the decade after the eruption of the global financial crisis. With the purpose of exploring key issues in international finance and macroeconomics from the perspective of what has changed ten years after the crisis, the fourth bi-annual Global Research Forum on International Macroeconomics and Finance, organized by the European Central Bank (ECB), the Federal Reserve Board, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, was held at the ECB in Frankfurt am Main on November 29-30, 2018. Participants included a diverse group from academia, international policy institutions, national central banks, and financial markets. Among the topics of discussion: the international roles of the U.S. dollar, the evolution of global financial markets, and the safety of the global financial system.
The global financial crisis, and the ensuing Dodd-Frank Act, identified size and complexity as determinants of banks’ systemic importance, increasing the potential risks to financial stability. While it’s known that big banks haven’t shrunk, the question that remains is: have they simplified? In this post, we show that while the largest U.S. bank holding companies (BHCs) have somewhat simplified their organizational structures, they remain very complex. The industries spanned by entities within the BHCs have shifted more than they have declined, and the countries in which some large BHCs have entities still include numerous “secrecy” or tax-haven locations.
International capital flows channel large volumes of funds across borders to both public and private sector borrowers. As they are critically important for economic growth and financial stability, understanding their main drivers is crucial for both policymakers and researchers. In this post, we explore the evolving impact of changes in U.S. monetary policy on global liquidity.
The New York Fed recently hosted the third bi-annual Global Research Forum on International Macroeconomics and Finance, an event organized in conjunction with the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Federal Reserve Board. Bringing together a diverse group of academics, policymakers, and market participants, the two-day conference (November 17-18) was aimed at promoting discussion of frontier research on empirical and theoretical issues in international finance, banking, and open-economy macroeconomics. Understanding the drivers and implications of international capital flows was a major area of focus, along with the policy challenges posed by global financial integration.
Linda Goldberg and Rose Wang investigate changes in bank holding company (BHC) geography, especially the rising share of BHC affiliates in tax havens and financial secrecy jurisdictions.
International financial flows are a key feature of the global landscape and are relevant in many ways for central banks.