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NY Fed

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

How Bank Reserves Are Distributed Matters. How You Measure Their Distribution Matters Too.

5 days ago

Gara Afonso, Marco Cipriani, Steph Clampitt, Haitham Jendoubi, Gabriele La Spada, and Will Riordan

Changes in the distribution of banks’ reserve balances are important since they may impact conditions in the federal funds market and alter trading dynamics in money markets more generally. In this post, we propose using the Lorenz curve and Gini coefficient as a new approach to measuring reserve concentration. Since 2013, concentration, as captured by the Lorenz curve and the Gini coefficient, has co-moved with aggregate reserves, decreasing as aggregate reserves declined (such as in 2015-18) and increasing as aggregate reserves increased (such as at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic).

How Do We Traditionally Measure Reserve Concentration?
A widely used measure of reserve

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Monetizing Privacy with Central Bank Digital Currencies

6 days ago

Rod Garratt and Michael Lee

In prior research, we documented evidence suggesting that digital payment adoptions have accelerated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While digitalization of payment activity improves data utilization by firms, it can also infringe upon consumers’ right to privacy. Drawing from a recent paper, this blog post explains how payment data acquired by firms impacts market structure and consumer welfare. Then, we discuss the implications of introducing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) that offers consumers a low-cost, privacy-preserving electronic means of payment—essentially, digital cash.

Payment-Driven Data Monopolies

We consider a market in which (1) firms use historical data to develop more attractive goods and services for future

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The Impact of Natural Disasters on the Corporate Loan Market

11 days ago

Ivan T. Ivanov, Marco Macchiavelli, and João A.C. Santos

Natural disasters are usually associated with an increase in the demand for credit by both households and companies in the affected regions. However, if capacity constraints preclude banks from meeting the local increase in demand, the banks may reduce lending elsewhere, thus propagating the shock to unaffected areas. In this post, we analyze the corporate loan market and find that banks, particularly those with lower capital, reduce credit provisioning to distant regions unaffected by natural disasters. We also find that shadow banks only partially offset the reduction in bank credit, so borrowers in regions unaffected by natural disasters experience a decline in credit supply.

The Economic Consequences of Natural

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Following Borrowers through Forbearance

12 days ago

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

Today, the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data reported that total household debt balances increased slightly in the third quarter of 2020, according to the latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit. This increase marked a reversal from the modest decline in the second quarter of 2020, a downturn driven by a sharp contraction in credit card balances. In the third quarter, credit card balances declined again, even as consumer spending recovered somewhat; meanwhile, mortgage originations came in at a robust $1.049 trillion, the highest level since 2003. Many of the efforts to stabilize the economy in response to the COVID-19 crisis have focused on consumer balance sheets, both through

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How Has COVID-19 Affected Banking System Vulnerability?

13 days ago

Kristian Blickle, Matteo Crosignani, Fernando Duarte, Thomas Eisenbach, Fulvia Fringuellotti, and Anna Kovner

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant changes in banks’ balance sheets. To understand how these changes have affected the stability of the U.S. banking system, we provide an update of four analytical models that aim to capture different aspects of banking system vulnerability.

The four models, introduced in a Liberty Street Economics post in 2018 and updated in a post last year, monitor vulnerabilities of U.S. banking firms and the way in which these vulnerabilities interact to amplify negative shocks. Between 2017 and the beginning of 2020, the different models had followed a common, slowly increasing trend of higher vulnerability. With the unfolding of the

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The Fed Funds Market during the 2007-09 Financial Crisis

19 days ago

Adam Copeland

The U.S. federal funds market played a central role in the financial system during the 2007-09 crisis, because it was the market which provided banks with immediate liquidity, even late in the day. Interpreting changes in fed funds rates is notoriously difficult, however, as many of the economic drivers behind the rates are simultaneously changing. In this post, I highlight results from a working paper which untangles the impact of these economic drivers and measures their respective effects on the marketplace using data over a sample period leading up to and during the financial crisis. The analysis shows that the spread between fed funds sold and bought widened because of increases in counterparty risk. Further, there was a large increase in the supply of cash into

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Has the Pandemic Reduced U.S. Remittances Going to Latin America?

20 days ago

Matthew Higgins and Thomas Klitgaard

Workers’ remittances—funds that migrants send to their country of birth—are an important source of income for a number of economies in Latin America, with the bulk of these funds coming from the United States. Have these flows dried up, given the COVID-19 recession and resulting unprecedented job losses? We find that remittances initially faltered but rebounded in the summer months, performing better than during the last U.S. recession despite more severe job losses. Large government income support payments probably explain some of this resilience. Whether remittances continue to hold up is likely to depend on how quickly the U.S. job market recovers, particularly in hard-hit service industries.

A Major Income Source
A number of

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How Has China’s Economy Performed under the COVID-19 Shock?

October 23, 2020

Hunter L. Clark, Jeffrey B. Dawson, and Maxim Pinkovskiy

China’s economy was the first to be hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, the first to be locked down, and the first to begin an economic recovery. We examine the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on China’s GDP growth using a set of alternative growth indicators. Our analysis finds that China’s official GDP growth figures over the first three quarters of this year have been broadly in line with alternative indicators and that growth presently is staging a strong rebound and providing a boost to the global economy. However, this rebound faces potential headwinds in the forms of high levels of debt, declining return to capital accumulation, and a shrinking working-age population in China.

Our analysis of China’s economic

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At the New York Fed: Sixth Annual Conference on the U.S. Treasury Market

October 23, 2020

Michael Fleming, Gabriel Herman, and Frank Keane

On September 29, 2020, the New York Fed hosted the sixth annual Conference on the U.S. Treasury Market. The one-day event, held virtually this year, was co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Board, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The agenda featured a number of panels and speeches on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Treasury market in March 2020, the ensuing policy response, and ways that market resiliency could be improved in light of the vulnerabilities revealed. Two speeches also touched on the ongoing transition from LIBOR to alternative reference rates.

The conference began with a keynote address from New

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Bank Capital, Loan Liquidity, and Credit Standards since the Global Financial Crisis

October 21, 2020

Sarah Ngo Hamerling, Donald P. Morgan, and John Sporn

Did the 2007-09 financial crisis or the regulatory reforms that followed alter how banks change their underwriting standards over the course of the business cycle? We provide some simple, “narrative” evidence on that question by studying the reasons banks cite when they report a change in commercial credit standards in the Federal Reserve’s Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey. We find that the economic outlook, risk tolerance, and other real factors generally drive standards more than financial factors such as bank capital and loan market liquidity. Those financial factors have mattered more since the crisis, however, and their importance increased further as post-crisis reforms were phased in in the middle of the

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How Has Post-Crisis Banking Regulation Affected Hedge Funds and Prime Brokers?

October 19, 2020

Nina Boyarchenko, Thomas M. Eisenbach, Pooja Gupta, Or Shachar, and Peter Van Tassel

“Arbitrageurs” such as hedge funds play a key role in the efficiency of financial markets. They compare closely related assets, then buy the relatively cheap one and sell the relatively expensive one, thereby driving the prices of the assets closer together. For executing trades and other services, hedge funds rely on prime brokers and broker-dealers. In a previous Liberty Street Economics blog post, we argued that post-crisis changes to regulation and market structure have increased the costs of arbitrage activity, potentially contributing to the persistent deviations in the prices of closely related assets since the 2007–09 financial crisis. In this post, we document how post-crisis changes to

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How Do Consumers Believe the Pandemic Will Affect the Economy and Their Households?

October 16, 2020

Olivier Armantier, Leo Goldman, Gizem Koşar, Jessica Lu, Rachel Pomerantz, and Wilbert van der Klaauw

In this post we analyze consumer beliefs about the duration of the economic impact of the pandemic and present new evidence on their expected spending, income, debt delinquency, and employment outcomes, conditional on different scenarios for the future path of the pandemic. We find that between June and August respondents to the New York Fed Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) have grown less optimistic about the pandemic’s economic consequences ending in the near future and also about the likelihood of feeling comfortable in crowded places within the next three months. Although labor market expectations of respondents differ considerably across fairly extreme scenarios for the

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COVID-19 Has Temporarily Supercharged China’s Export Machine

October 15, 2020

Hunter L. Clark

China’s export performance this year has been stronger than expected. After a sharp slump at the beginning of 2020, the country’s exports have posted positive growth—the only major economy’s to do so. However, a closer look at the data reveals that this growth has not been very broad-based, but rather concentrated in areas where China’s export structure was well-positioned to take advantage of the global crisis—namely, production of medical supplies and school-from-home and work-from-home (S/WFH) goods. Once the COVID-19 crisis passes, China’s exports will likely return to their pre-coronavirus growth path, including a gradual loss of market share to other countries.

China’s manufacturing production rebounded quickly and early from its lockdown

China was

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How Have Households Used Their Stimulus Payments and How Would They Spend the Next?

October 13, 2020

Olivier Armantier, Leo Goldman, Gizem Koşar, Jessica Lu, Rachel Pomerantz, and Wilbert van der Klaauw

In this post, we examine how households used economic impact payments, a large component of the CARES Act signed into law on March 27 that directed stimulus payments to many Americans to help offset the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. An important question in evaluating how much this part of the CARES Act stimulated the economy concerns what share of these payments households used for consumption—what economists call the marginal propensity to consume (MPC). There also is interest in learning the extent to which the payments contributed to the sharp increase in the U.S. personal saving rate during the early months of the pandemic. We find in this analysis that as

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Weathering the Storm: Who Can Access Credit in a Pandemic?

October 13, 2020

Gabriel Chodorow-Reich, Harry Cooperman, Olivier Darmouni, Stephan Luck, and Matthew Plosser

Credit enables firms to weather temporary disruptions in their business that may impair their cash flow and limit their ability to meet commitments to suppliers and employees. The onset of the COVID recession sparked a massive increase in bank credit, largely driven by firms drawing on pre-committed credit lines. In this post, which is based on a recent Staff Report, we investigate which firms were able to tap into bank credit to help sustain their business over the ensuing downturn.

Bank Credit during the Pandemic
Between February 2020 and June 2020, bank credit increased by a total of $555 billion, an increase of 23.5 percent, as seen in the chart below. In contrast, at the

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The Banking Industry and COVID-19: Lifeline or Life Support?

October 5, 2020

Madeline Finnegan, Sarah Ngo Hamerling, Beverly Hirtle, Anna Kovner, Stephan Luck, and Matthew Plosser

By many measures the U.S. banking industry entered 2020 in good health. But the widespread outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and the associated economic disruptions have caused unemployment to skyrocket and many businesses to suspend or significantly reduce operations. In this post, we consider the implications of the pandemic for the stability of the banking sector, including the potential impact of dividend suspensions on bank capital ratios and the use of banks’ regulatory capital buffers.

Projecting Bank Capital

Before we can consider how regulatory policy can bolster the ability of banks to lend through the crisis, we need projections that capture the potential outcomes for

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Should Emerging Economies Embrace Quantitative Easing during the Pandemic?

October 2, 2020

Gianluca Benigno, Jonathan Hartley, Alicia Garcia Herrero, Alessandro Rebucci, and Elina Ribakova

Emerging economies are fighting COVID-19 and the economic sudden stop imposed by lockdown policies. Even before COVID-19 took root in emerging economies, however, investors had already started to flee these markets–to a much greater extent than they had at the onset of the 2008 global financial crisis (IMF, 2020; World Bank, 2020). Such sudden stops in capital flows can cause significant drops in economic activity, with recoveries that can take several years to complete (Benigno et al., 2020). Unfortunately, austerity and currency depreciations as enacted during the global financial crisis will not mitigate this double whammy of capital outflows and policies to cope with the pandemic.

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The Impact of the Corporate Credit Facilities

October 1, 2020

Nina Boyarchenko, Anna Kovner, and Or Shachar

American companies have raised almost $1 trillion in the U.S. corporate bond market since March. If companies had been unable to refinance those bonds, their inability to repay may have led to an immediate default on all of their obligations, creating a cascade of defaults and layoffs. Based on Compustat data, an inability to access public bond markets could have affected companies employing more than 16 million people. In this post, we document the impact of the Primary Market and Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facilities (PMCCF and SMCCF) on bond market functioning, summarizing a detailed evaluation described in a new working paper. We also describe the impact that a collapse of corporate bond markets could have had on employment

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Did Too-Big-To-Fail Reforms Work Globally?

September 30, 2020

Asani Sarkar

Once a bank grows beyond a certain size or becomes too complex and interconnected, investors often perceive that it is “too big to fail” (TBTF), meaning that if the bank were to fail, the government would likely bail it out. Following the global financial crisis (GFC) of 2008, the G20 countries agreed on a set of reforms to eliminate the perception of TBTF, as part of a broader package to enhance financial stability. In June 2020, the Financial Stability Board (FSB), a sixty-eight-member international advisory body set up in 2009, published the results of a year-long evaluation of the effectiveness of TBTF reforms. In this post, we discuss the main conclusions of the report—in particular, the finding that implicit funding subsidies to global banks have decreased

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The New York Fed DSGE Model Forecast—September 2020

September 29, 2020

William Chen, Marco Del Negro, Keshav Dogra, Shlok Goyal, and Alissa Johnson

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 June 2020.

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. Note that interactive charts are now available for DSGE model forecasts.

In response to the pandemic, the New York Fed’s DSGE model has been modified because the economic disruptions caused by COVID-19 are

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Consumers Expect Modest Increase in Spending Growth and Continued Government Support

September 28, 2020

Gizem Koşar, Rachel Pomerantz, and Wilbert van der Klaauw

The New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data released results today from its August 2020 SCE Household Spending Survey and SCE Public Policy Survey. The former provides information on consumers’ experiences and expectations regarding household spending, while the latter provides information on consumers’ expectations regarding future changes for a wide range of fiscal and social policies and the potential impact of these changes on their households. These data have been collected every four months since December 2014 for the SCE Household Spending Survey and October 2015 for the SCE Public Policy Survey as part of the Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE).

In this post, we highlight the key takeaways from

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COVID-19 and the Search for Digital Alternatives to Cash

September 28, 2020

Rod Garratt, Michael Lee, and Aaron Plesset

Today, the majority of retail payments in the United States are digital. Practically all digital payments are tracked, collected, and aggregated by financial institutions, payment providers, and vendors. This trend has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic as payments that require physical contact, such as cash, have been discouraged. As cash gradually becomes obsolete, consumers are left with fewer alternatives for making private transactions. In this post, we outline some evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on consumer payment behavior and follow up in the second post in this Liberty Street Economics series with a look at the implications of cash obsolescence for privacy.

Why Cash Was King

Cash is unique as a means of

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Investigating the Effect of Health Insurance in the COVID-19 Pandemic

September 25, 2020

Rajashri Chakrabarti, Maxim Pinkovskiy, Will Nober, and Lindsay Meyerson

Does health insurance improve health? This question, while apparently a tautology, has been the subject of considerable economic debate. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has acquired a greater urgency as the lack of universal health insurance has been cited as a cause of the profound racial gap in coronavirus cases, and as a cause of U.S. difficulties in managing the pandemic more generally. However, estimating the effect of health insurance is difficult because it is (generally) not assigned at random. In this post, we approach this question in a novel way by exploiting a natural experiment—the adoption of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion by some states but not others—to tease out the

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The Official Sector’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic and Moral Hazard

September 24, 2020

Anna Kovner and Antoine Martin

Third of three posts

Any time the Federal Reserve or the official sector more broadly provides support to the economy during a crisis, the intervention raises concerns related to moral hazard. Moral hazard can occur when market participants do not bear the negative consequences of the risks they take. This lack of consequences can encourage even greater risks, due to the expectation of future government help. In this post, we consider the potential for moral hazard stemming from the official sector’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and explain why moral hazard concerns were likely more severe in 2008.

What is the moral hazard risk in the response to the pandemic?

Countless articles and academic papers that consider the

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Market Failures and Official Sector Interventions

September 23, 2020

Anna Kovner and Antoine Martin

Second of three posts

In the United States and other free market economies, the official sector typically has minimal involvement in market activities absent a clear rationale to justify intervention, such as a market failure. In this post, we consider arguments for official sector intervention, focusing on the market failure arising from externalities related to business closures. These externalities are likely to be particularly high for closures arising from pandemic-related economic disruptions. We discuss how the official sector, including institutions such as Congress and the Treasury, can increase social welfare by acting to minimize the fixed costs of business start-up and failure, including the costs associated with unemployment, beyond

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Expanding the Toolkit: Facilities Established to Respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic

September 22, 2020

Anna Kovner and Antoine Martin

First of three posts

The Federal Reserve’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been unprecedented in its size and scope. In a matter of months, the Fed has, among other things, cut the federal funds rate to the zero lower bound, purchased a large amount of Treasury securities and agency mortgage‑backed securities (MBS) and, together with the U.S. Treasury, introduced several lending facilities. Some of these facilities are very similar to ones introduced during the 2007-09 financial crisis while others are completely new. In this post, we argue that the new facilities, while unprecedented, are a natural extension of the Fed’s toolkit, as they operate through similar economic mechanisms to prevent self-reinforcing bad outcomes. We also

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How Did State Reopenings Affect Small Businesses?

September 21, 2020

Rajashri Chakrabarti, Sebastian Heise, Davide Melcangi, Maxim Pinkovskiy, and Giorgio Topa

In our previous post, we looked at the effects that the reopening of state economies across the United States has had on consumer spending. We found a significant effect of reopening, especially regarding spending in restaurants and bars as well as in the healthcare sector. In this companion post, we focus specifically on small businesses, using two different sources of high-frequency data, and we employ a methodology similar to that of our previous post to study the effects of reopening on small business activity along various dimensions. Our results indicate that, much like for consumer spending, reopenings had positive and significant effects in the short term on small business revenues,

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Did State Reopenings Increase Consumer Spending?

September 18, 2020

Rajashri Chakrabarti, Sebastian Heise, Davide Melcangi, Maxim Pinkovskiy, and Giorgio Topa

The spread of COVID-19 in the United States has had a profound impact on economic activity. Beginning in March, most states imposed severe restrictions on households and businesses to slow the spread of the virus. This was followed by a gradual loosening of restrictions (“reopening”) starting in April. As the virus has re-emerged, a number of states have taken steps to reverse the reopening of their economies. For example, Texas and Florida closed bars again in June, and Arizona additionally paused operations of gyms and movie theatres. Taken together, these measures raise the question of how closures and reopenings affect consumer spending. In this post, we investigate how much consumer

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What’s Up with the Phillips Curve?

September 18, 2020

William Chen, Marco Del Negro, Michele Lenza, Giorgio Primiceri, and Andrea Tambalotti

U.S. inflation used to rise during economic booms, as businesses charged higher prices to cope with increases in wages and other costs. When the economy cooled and joblessness rose, inflation declined. This pattern changed around 1990. Since then, U.S. inflation has been remarkably stable, even though economic activity and unemployment have continued to fluctuate. For example, during the Great Recession unemployment reached 10 percent, but inflation barely dipped below 1 percent. More recently, even with unemployment as low as 3.5 percent, inflation remained stuck under 2 percent. What explains the emergence of this disconnect between inflation and unemployment? This is the question we address in

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