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Pricing the ECB's forward guidance with the EONIA swap curve



On July 4, 2013, following several other major central banks, the European Central Bank (ECB) gave for the first time forward guidance on interest rates, which affected market participants' expectations of future interest rates in the context of a Zero Lower Bound. Using an ARMAX(1,1) model in which the effect of the communication of negative macroeconomic news was disentangled from the commitment positive shock, the impact of the forward guidance on money market interest rates is estimated through the Euro Overnight Index Average swap, also called overnight index swap, at maturities between 2 months and 10 years using abnormal returns from an event study. The results and robustness checks suggest that the ECB's guidance lowered overnight index swap rates for maturities within 10 months to 3 years. These results imply the existence of a commitment effect from the ECB's communication. In the context of decreasing market liquidity because of the 3-year long-term refinancing operation repayment, market participants priced the low period of interest rates until mid-2016.
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We study the effects of monetary announcements when agents face Knightian uncertainty about the commitment capacity of the monetary authority. Households are ambiguity averse and differentially exposed to inflation due to differences in wealth. In response to the announcement of a future monetary loosening, only wealthy households (creditors) act as if the announcement will be fully implemented, due to the potential wealth losses from future inflation. As a result the economy responds as if aggregate net wealth falls, which attenuates the effects of the announcement. Redistributing from super-wealthy to middle-wealthy households makes the announcement more expansionary, in the extreme as expansionary as under a fully credible announcement.
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This chapter studies the effects of FOMC forward guidance. We begin by using high-frequency identification and direct measures of FOMC private information to show that puzzling responses of private-sector forecasts to movements in federal funds futures rates on FOMC announcement days can be attributed entirely to Delphic forward guidance. However, a large fraction of futures rates’ variability on announcement days remains unexplained, leaving open the possibility that the FOMC has successfully communicated Odyssean guidance. We then examine whether the FOMC used Odyssean guidance to improve macroeconomic outcomes since the financial crisis. To this end we usean estimated medium-scale New Keynesian model to perform a counterfactual experiment for the period 2009:Q1–2014:Q4, in which we assume the FOMC did not employ any Odyssean guidance and instead followed its reaction function from before the crisis as closely as possible while respecting the effective lower bound. We find that a purely rule-based policy would have delivered a shallower recession and kept inflation closer to target in the years immediately following the crisis than FOMC forward guidance did in practice. However, starting toward the end of 2011, after the Fed’s introduction of “calendar-based” communications, the FOMC’s Odyssean guidance appears to have boosted real activity and moved inflation closer to target. We show that our results do not reflect Del Negro, Giannoni, and Patterson’s (2015) forward-guidance puzzle.
In recent years, central banks have increasingly turned to forward guidance as a central tool of monetary policy. Standard monetary models imply that far future forward guidance has huge effects on current outcomes, and these effects grow with the horizon of the forward guidance. We present a model in which the power of forward guidance is highly sensitive to the assumption of complete markets. When agents face uninsurable income risk and borrowing constraints, a precautionary savings effect tempers their responses to changes in future interest rates. As a consequence, forward guidance has substantially less power to stimulate the economy.
This paper evaluates the macroeconomic effects of the announcements of the European Central Bank?s Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) program. Using high-frequency data, we find that the OMT announcements decreased the Italian and Spanish two-year government bond yields by about 2 percentage points, while leaving unchanged the bond yields of the same maturity in Germany and France. These results are used to calibrate a scenario in a multi-country model describing the macrofinancial linkages in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The scenario analysis suggests that the reduction in bond yields due to the OMT announcements is associated with a significant increase in real activity, credit, and prices in Italy and Spain, with some relatively muted spillovers in France and Germany.
Forward guidance about future policy settings, in the form of a published policy rate path, has for many years been a natural part of normal monetary policy for several central banks, including the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and the Swedish Riksbank. More recently, the Federal Reserve has started to publish FOMC participants' policy rate projections. The Swedish, New Zealand, and U.S. experience of a published policy rate path is examined, especially to what extent the market has anticipated the path (the predictability of the path) and to what extent market expectations line up with the path after publication (the credibility of the path). The recent Swedish experience is quite dramatic. In particular, it shows a case with a large discrepancy between a high and rising Riksbank path and a low and falling market path, with the market path providing a good forecast of the future policy rate. The discrepancy is explained by the Riksbank's leaning against the wind in recent years and related circumstances. The New Zealand experience is less dramatic but shows cases where the market implements either a substantially tighter or easier policy than intended by the RBNZ. There are also cases of the market being ahead of the RBNZ and the RBNZ later following the market. The U.S. experience includes a recent case of the market expecting and implementing substantially easier policy consistent with the FOMC projections, the possible explanation of which has been much discussed.