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.
The Primary and Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facilities
On April 9, the Federal Reserve announced that it would take additional actions to provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to support the economy in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Among the initiatives are the Primary Market and Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facilities (PMCCF and SMCCF), whose intent is to provide support for large U.S. businesses that typically finance themselves by issuing debt in capital markets. Corporate bonds support the operations of companies with more than 17 million employees based in the United States and these bonds are key assets for retirees and pension funds. If companies are unable to issue corporate bonds, they may be unable to invest in inventory and equipment, meet current liabilities, or pay employees. Maintaining access to credit is thus crucially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, both for issuing companies and for their employees. This post documents the dislocations in the corporate bond market that have motivated the creation of these facilities and explains how we expect these facilities to support U.S. businesses and their employees both through the COVID-related disruptions and beyond, when the economy recovers.
The Commercial Paper Funding Facility
This post documents dislocations in the commercial paper market following the COVID-19 outbreak that motivated the Fed to create the Commercial Paper Funding Facility, and tracks the subsequent improvement in market conditions.
Reading the Tea Leaves of the U.S. Business Cycle—Part Two
New work by Richard Crump, Domenico Giannone, and David Lucca finds labor market data to be the most reliable information for dating the U.S. business cycle.
Reading the Tea Leaves of the U.S. Business Cycle—Part One
Richard Crump, Domenico Giannone, and David Lucca discuss different conceptual approaches to dating the business cycle and study their past performance for the U.S. economy.
Real Inventory Slowdowns
Inventory investment plays a central role in business cycle fluctuations. This post examines whether inventory investment amplifies or dampens economic fluctuations following a tightening in financial conditions. We find evidence supporting an amplification mechanism. This analysis suggests that inventory accumulation will be a drag on economic activity this year but provide a boost in 2020.
At the New York Fed: Conference on the Effects of Post-Crisis Banking Reforms
Crump and Santos preview a New York Fed conference debating the efficacy of post-crisis banking reforms, looking at whether they have achieved their intended goals and considering the unintended consequences.
From the Vault: Factor This In
New York Fed economists Tobias Adrian, Richard Crump, and Emanuel Moench developed a new approach for calculating the Treasury term premium. Their ACM term premia estimates have since become “increasingly canonical” in economic analysis.