Tuesday , August 11 2020
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The Federal Reserve Bank of New York was incorporated in May 1914 and opened for business in November later that year. To commemorate the New York Fed’s centennial, take a look at the people and events that helped shape our history.

Articles by NY Fed

Implications of the COVID-19 Disruption for Corporate Leverage

19 hours ago

Anna Kovner, Stephan Luck, and Sungmin An

Editor’s note: When this post was first published, the table showed incorrect figures for the Professional/Business Services industry; the table has been corrected. (August 10, 10:20 a.m.)

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant economic disruptions among U.S. corporations. In this post, we study the preliminary impact of these disruptions on the cash flow and leverage of public U.S. corporations using public filings through April 2020. We find that the pandemic had a negative impact on cash flow while also reducing corporations’ interest expenses. However, the cash flow shock far outpaced the benefits of lower interest payments, especially in industries that were disproportionately levered. Looking ahead, we find that a sizable

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Securing Secured Finance: The Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility

4 days ago

Elizabeth Caviness and Asani Sarkar

This post is part of an ongoing series on the credit and liquidity facilities established by the Federal Reserve to support households and businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The asset-backed securities (ABS) market, by supporting loans to households and businesses such as credit card and student loans, is essential to the flow of credit in the economy. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted this market, resulting in higher interest rate spreads on ABS and halting the issuance of most ABS asset classes. On March 23, 2020, the Fed established the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) to facilitate the issuance of ABS backed by a variety of loan types including student loans, credit card loans, and loans guaranteed by the Small

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A Monthly Peek into Americans’ Credit During the COVID-19 Pandemic

5 days ago

Andrew F. Haughwout, Donghoon Lee, Joelle Scally, and Wilbert van der Klaauw

Total household debt was roughly flat in the second quarter of 2020, according to the latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit from the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data. But, for the first time, the dynamics in household debt balances were driven primarily by a sharp decline in credit card balances, as consumer spending plummeted. In an effort to gain greater clarity, the New York Fed and the Federal Reserve System have acquired monthly updates for the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel, based on anonymized Equifax credit report data. We’ve been closely watching the data as they roll in, and here we present six key takeaways on the consumer balance sheet in the months since

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Reconsidering the Phase One Trade Deal with China in the Midst of the Pandemic

6 days ago

Matthew Higgins and Thomas Klitgaard

It may be hard to remember given the pandemic, but trade tensions between the United States and China eased in January 2020 with the inking of the Phase One agreement. Under the deal, China committed to a massive increase in its purchases of U.S. goods and services, with targets set for various types of products. At the time of the pact, the U.S. economy was operating near full capacity, and any increase in U.S. exports stemming from the pact would likely have resulted in only a small boost to growth. The environment is now starkly different, with the U.S. economy operating far below potential. While the promised increase in Chinese purchases seems unlikely to be achieved, any appreciable increase in exports from the agreement is now more

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Tracking the COVID-19 Economy with the Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

6 days ago

Daniel Lewis, Karel Mertens, and James Stock

At the end of March, we launched the Weekly Economic Index (WEI) as a tool to monitor changes in real activity during the pandemic. The rapid deterioration in economic conditions made it important to assess developments as soon as possible, rather than waiting for monthly and quarterly data to be released. In this post, we describe how the WEI has measured the effects of COVID-19. So far in 2020, the WEI has synthesized daily and weekly data to measure GDP growth remarkably well. We document this performance, and we offer some guidance on evaluating the WEI’s forecasting abilities based on 2020 data and interpreting WEI updates and revisions.

Understanding the WEI

As detailed in our March post (and associated Staff Report),

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The Federal Reserve’s Large-Scale Repo Program

8 days ago

Kevin Clark, Antoine Martin, and Tim Wessel

The repo market faced extraordinary liquidity strains in March amid broader financial market volatility related to the coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty regarding the path of policy. The strains were particularly severe in the term repo market, in which borrowing and lending arrangements are for longer than one business day. In this post, we discuss the causes of the liquidity disruptions that arose in the repo market as well as the Federal Reserve’s actions to address those disruptions.

Overnight and Term Repo Markets

As described in this Staff Report, the repo market serves in part to transfer liquidity from cash investors to cash borrowers, with securities dealers acting as intermediaries. In addition, dealers typically finance

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MBS Market Dysfunctions in the Time of COVID-19

25 days ago

Jiakai Chen, Haoyang Liu, David Rubio, Asani Sarkar, and Zhaogang Song

The COVID-19 pandemic elevated financial market illiquidity and volatility, especially in March 2020. The mortgage-backed securities (MBS) market, which plays a critical role in the housing market by funding the vast majority of U.S. residential mortgages, also suffered a period of dysfunction. In this post, we study a particular aspect of MBS market disruptions by showing how a long-standing relationship between cash and forward markets broke down, in spite of MBS dealers increasing the provision of liquidity. (See our related staff report for greater detail.) We also highlight an innovative response by the Federal Reserve that seemed to have helped to normalize market functioning.

The Parallel

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Federal Reserve Agency CMBS Purchases

26 days ago

Woojung Park, Julia Gouny, and Haoyang Liu

On March 23, the Open Market Trading Desk (the Desk) at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York initiated plans to purchase agency commercial mortgage-backed securities (agency CMBS) at the direction of the FOMC in order to support smooth market functioning of the markets for these securities. This post describes the deterioration in market conditions that led to agency CMBS purchases, how the Desk conducts these operations, and how market functioning has improved since the start of the purchase operations.

The Agency CMBS Market

Agency CMBS are primarily securitizations of multifamily residential properties, typically apartment buildings or complexes with five or more rental units. The multifamily real estate market accounts for a

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Delaying College During the Pandemic Can Be Costly

29 days ago

Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz

Many students are reconsidering their decision to go to college in the fall due to the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, college enrollment is expected to be down sharply as a growing number of would-be college students consider taking a gap year. In part, this pullback reflects concerns about health and safety if colleges resume in-person classes, or missing out on the “college experience” if classes are held online. In addition, poor labor market prospects due to staggeringly high unemployment may be leading some to conclude that college is no longer worth it in this economic environment. In this post, we provide an economic perspective on going to college during the pandemic. Perhaps surprisingly, we find that the return to college actually

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Medicare and Financial Health across the United States

July 8, 2020

Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, Maxim Pinkovskiy, and Jacob Wallace

Consumer financial strain varies enormously across the United States. One pernicious source of financial strain is debt in collections—debt that is more than 120 days past due and that has been sold to a collections agency. In Massachusetts, the average person has less than $100 in collections debt, while in Texas, the average person has more than $300. In this post, we discuss our recent staff report that exploits the fact that virtually all Americans are universally covered by Medicare at 65 to show that health insurance not only improves financial health on average, but also is a major explanation for the heterogeneity in financial strain across the country. We find that Medicare affects different parts of the

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Do College Tuition Subsidies Boost Spending and Reduce Debt? Impacts by Income and Race

July 8, 2020

Rajashri Chakrabarti, William Nober, and Wilbert van der Klaauw

In an October post, we showed the effect of college tuition subsidies in the form of merit-based financial aid on educational and student debt outcomes, documenting a large decline in student debt for those eligible for merit aid. Additionally, we reported striking differences in these outcomes by demographics, as proxied by neighborhood race and income. In this follow-up post, we examine whether and how this effect passes through to other debt and consumption outcomes, namely those related to autos, homes, and credit cards. We find that access to merit aid leads to an immediate but temporary increase in eligible individuals’ consumption in these categories. The increase is followed by a decline in consumption and a

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Measuring Racial Disparities in Higher Education and Student Debt Outcomes

July 8, 2020

Rajashri Chakrabarti, William Nober, and Wilbert van der Klaauw

Across the United States, the cost of all types of higher education has been rising faster than overall inflation for more than two decades. Despite rising costs, aggregate undergraduate enrollment rose steadily between 2000 and 2010 before leveling off and dipping slightly to its current level. Rising college costs have steadily increased dependence on student debt for college financing, with many students and parents turning to federal and private loans to pay for higher education. An earlier post in this series reported that borrowers in majority Black areas have higher student loan balances and rates of default than those in both majority white and majority Hispanic areas. In this post, we study how differences

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Who Has Been Evicted and Why?

July 8, 2020

Andrew Haughwout, Haoyang Liu, and Xiaohan Zhang

More than two million American households are at risk of eviction every year. Evictions have been found to cause prolonged homelessness, worsened health conditions, and lack of credit access. During the COVID-19 outbreak, governments at all levels implemented eviction moratoriums to keep renters in their homes. As these moratoriums and enhanced income supports for unemployed workers come to an end, the possibility of a wave of evictions in the second half of the year is drawing increased attention. Despite the importance of evictions and related policies, very few economic studies have been done on this topic. With the exception of the Milwaukee Area Renters Study, evictions are rarely measured in economic surveys. To fill this

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Inequality in U.S. Homeownership Rates by Race and Ethnicity

July 8, 2020

Andrew Haughwout, Donghoon Lee, Joelle Scally, and Wilbert van der Klaauw

Homeownership has historically been an important means for Americans to accumulate wealth—in fact, at more than $15 trillion, housing equity accounts for 16 percent of total U.S. household wealth. Consequently, the U.S. homeownership cycle has triggered large swings in Americans’ net worth over the past twenty-five years. However, the nature of those swings has varied significantly by race and ethnicity, with different demographic groups tracing distinct trajectories through the housing boom, the foreclosure crisis, and the subsequent recovery. Here, we look into the dynamics underlying these divergences and explore some potential explanations.

A quick look at the 2016 Survey of Consumer

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Introduction to Heterogeneity Series III: Credit Market Outcomes

July 7, 2020

Rajashri Chakrabarti

Average economic outcomes serve as important indicators of the overall state of the economy. However, they mask a lot of underlying variability in how people experience the economy across geography, or by race, income, age, or other attributes. Following our series on heterogeneity broadly in October 2019 and in labor market outcomes in March 2020, we now turn our focus to further documenting heterogeneity in the credit market. While we have written about credit market heterogeneity before, this series integrates insights on disparities in outcomes in various parts of the credit market. The analysis includes a look at differing homeownership rates across populations, varying exposure to foreclosures and evictions, and uneven student loan burdens and

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A New Reserves Regime? COVID-19 and the Federal Reserve Balance Sheet

July 7, 2020

Gara Afonso, Marco Cipriani, Gabriele La Spada, and Will Riordan

Aggregate reserves declined from nearly $3 trillion in August 2014 to $1.4 trillion in mid-September 2019, as the Federal Reserve normalized its balance sheet. This decline came to a halt in September 2019 when the Federal Reserve responded to turmoil in short-term money markets, with reserves fluctuating around $1.6 trillion in the early months of 2020. Then, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Reserve dramatically expanded its balance sheet, both directly, through outright purchases and repurchase agreements, and indirectly, as a consequence of the facilities to support market functioning and the flow of credit to the real economy. In this post, we characterize the increase in reserves between March and

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How Liquid Is the New 20-Year Treasury Bond?

July 1, 2020

Michael Fleming and Francisco Ruela

On May 20, the U.S. Department of the Treasury sold a 20-year bond for the first time since 1986. In announcing the reintroduction, Treasury said it would issue the bond in a regular and predictable manner and in benchmark size, thereby creating an additional liquidity point along the Treasury yield curve. But just how liquid is the new bond? In this post, we take a first look at the bond’s behavior, evaluating its trading activity and liquidity using a short sample of data since the bond’s introduction.

Why Was the Bond Reintroduced?

The Treasury has launched a range of new debt products over the years, such as Treasury inflation-protected securities and floating rate notes, and explored the adoption of others, such as an ultra-long

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Leverage Ratio Arbitrage All Over Again

June 30, 2020

Donald P. Morgan, Dong Beom Choi, and Michael R. Holcomb

Leverage limits as a form of capital regulation have a well-known, potential bug: If banks can’t lever returns as desired, they can boost returns on equity by shifting toward riskier, higher yielding assets. That reach for yield is the leverage rule “arbitrage.” But would banks do that? In a previous post, we discussed evidence from our working paper that banks did do just that in response to the new leverage rule that took effect in 2018. This post discusses new findings in our revised paper on when and how banks arbitraged.

When They Arbitraged
The new leverage rule, like other post-crisis reforms, had a long gestation period:

U.S. regulators first proposed the supplementary leverage ratio (SLR) rule in

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Municipal Debt Markets and the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 29, 2020

Marco Cipriani, Andrew Haughwout, Ben Hyman, Anna Kovner, Gabriele La Spada, Matthew Lieber, and Shawn Nee

In March, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the market for municipal securities was severely stressed: mutual fund redemptions sparked unprecedented selling of municipal securities, yields increased sharply, and issuance dried up. In this post, we describe the evolution of municipal bond market conditions since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. We show that conditions in municipal markets have improved significantly, in part a result of the announcement and implementation of several Federal Reserve facilities. Yields have decreased substantially, mutual funds have received significant inflows, and issuance has rebounded. These improvements in

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Insider Networks

June 25, 2020

Selman Erol and Michael Lee

Modern-day financial systems are highly complex, with billions of exchanges in information, assets, and funds between individuals and institutions. Though daunting to operationalize, regulating these transmissions may be desirable in some instances. For example, securities regulators aim to protect investors by tracking and punishing
insider trading.

Recent evidence shows that insiders have formed

sophisticated networks
that enable them to pursue activities outside the purview of regulatory oversight. In understanding the cat-and-mouse game between regulators and insiders, a key consideration is the networks that insiders might form in order to circumvent regulation, and how regulators might cope with insiders’ tactics. In this post, we

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Japan’s Experience with Yield Curve Control

June 22, 2020

Matthew Higgins and Thomas Klitgaard

In September 2016, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) changed its policy framework to target the yield on ten-year government bonds at “around zero percent,” close to the prevailing rate at the time. The new framework was announced as a modification of the Bank’s earlier policy of rapid monetary base expansion via large-scale asset purchases—a policy that market participants increasingly regarded as unsustainable. While the BoJ announced that the rapid pace of government bond purchases would not change, it turned out that the yield target approach allowed for a dramatic scaling back in purchases. In Japan’s case, the commitment to purchase whatever was needed to keep the ten-year rate near zero has meant that very little in the way of asset purchases

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The New York Fed DSGE Model Forecast—June 2020

June 19, 2020

William Chen, Marco Del Negro, Ethan Matlin, and Reca Sarfati

Editor’s note: The release of the March 2020 DSGE forecast was postponed as New York Fed economists shifted their focus to the COVID-19 pandemic. In conjunction with the release of the June 2020 forecast, we’ve decided to post the March 2020 forecast for the record as well.

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. 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.

In response to

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The New York Fed DSGE Model Forecast—March 2020

June 19, 2020

Ozge Akinci, William Chen, Marco Del Negro, Ethan Matlin, and Reca Sarfati

Editor’s note: The release of the March 2020 DSGE forecast was postponed as New York Fed economists shifted their focus to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the June 2020 forecast now out, we’ve decided to post this forecast for the record as well.

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 2019. 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

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Bitcoin Is Not a New Type of Money

June 18, 2020

Michael Lee and Antoine Martin

Bitcoin, and more generally, cryptocurrencies, are often described as a new type of money. In this post, we argue that this is a misconception. Bitcoin may be money, but it is not a new type of money. To see what is truly new about Bitcoin, it is useful to make a distinction between “money,” the asset that is being exchanged, and the “exchange mechanism,” that is, the method or process through which the asset is transferred. Doing so reveals that monies with properties similar to Bitcoin have existed for centuries. However, the ability to make electronic exchanges without a trusted party—a defining characteristic of Bitcoin—is radically new. Bitcoin is not a new class of money, it is a new type of exchange mechanism, and this type of exchange

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Did State Reopenings Increase Social Interactions?

June 17, 2020

Rajashri Chakrabarti and Maxim Pinkovskiy

Social distancing—avoiding nonessential movement and largely staying at home—is seen as key to limiting the spread of COVID-19. To promote social distancing, over forty states imposed shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders, closing nonessential businesses, banning large gatherings, and encouraging citizens to stay home. Over the course of the last month, virtually all of these states have reopened. However, these reopenings were preceded by a spontaneous increase in mobility and decline in social distancing. Did the reopenings decrease social distancing, or did it ratify ex post what was already going to take place? In this post, we will investigate this question using an event study methodology and demonstrate that reopenings probably

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Finally, Some Signs of Improvement in the Regional Economy

June 16, 2020

Jaison R. Abel, Jason Bram, Richard Deitz, and Benjamin G. Hyman

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s June business surveys show some signs of improvement in the regional economy. Following two months of unprecedented decline due to the coronavirus pandemic, indicators of business activity point to a slower pace of contraction in the service sector and signs of a rebound in the manufacturing sector. Even more encouraging, as the regional economy has begun to reopen, many businesses have started to recall workers who were laid off or put on furlough since the start of the pandemic. Some have even hired new workers. Moreover, businesses expect to recall even more workers over the next month. Looking ahead, firms have become increasingly optimistic that conditions will improve in

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Outflows from Bank-Loan Funds during COVID-19

June 16, 2020

Nicola Cetorelli, Gabriele La Spada, and João Santos

The COVID-19 pandemic has put significant pressure on debt markets, especially those populated by riskier borrowers. The leveraged loan market, in particular, came under remarkable stress during the month of March. Bank-loan mutual funds, among the main holders of leveraged loans, suffered massive outflows that were reminiscent of the outflows they experienced during the 2008 crisis. In this post, we show that the flow sensitivity of the loan-fund industry to the COVID-19 crisis (and to negative shocks more generally) seems to be even greater than that of high-yield bond funds, which also invest in high-risk debt securities and have received much attention because of their possible exposure to run-like behavior by investors and their

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Distribution of COVID-19 Incidence by Geography, Race, and Income

June 15, 2020

Rajashri Chakrabarti and William Nober

In this post, we study whether (and how) the spread of COVID-19 across the United States has varied by geography, race, income, and population density. Have urban areas been more affected by COVID-19 than rural areas? Has population density mattered in the spread? Has the coronavirus’s impact varied by race and income? Our analysis uncovers stark demographic and geographic differences in the effects of the pandemic thus far.

We use county-level data as of June 11, compiled by the New York Times and the New York City Department of Health (NYC Health) on numbers of cases and deaths for our analysis. The New York Times compiles a daily series of confirmed cases and deaths by county for almost every county in the United States. Its data set

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How Fed Swap Lines Supported the U.S. Corporate Credit Market amid COVID-19 Strains

June 12, 2020

Nicola Cetorelli, Linda S. Goldberg, and Fabiola Ravazzolo

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.

Foreign Banks in the U.S. Provide

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Which Workers Bear the Burden of Social Distancing Policies?

May 29, 2020

Simon Mongey, Laura Pilossoph, and Alexander Weinberg

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, nearly all U.S. states imposed social distancing policies to combat the spread of illness. To the extent that work can be done from home, some workers moved their offices to their abodes. Others, however, are unable to continue working as their usual tasks require a specific location or environment, or involve close proximity to others. Which types of jobs cannot be done from home and which types of jobs require close personal proximity to others? What share of overall U.S. employment falls in these categories? And, given that these jobs will be the most adversely affected, what are the characteristics of workers employed in these jobs? The final question is of particular importance as

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