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Signal or noise? Implications of the term premium for recession forecasting

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  • Joshua V. Rosenberg
  • Samuel Maurer
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    Abstract

    Since the 1970s, an inverted yield curve has been a reliable signal of an imminent recession. One interpretation of this signal is that markets expect monetary policy to ease as the Federal Reserve responds to an upcoming deterioration in economic conditions. Some have argued that the yield curve inversion in August 2006 did not signal an imminent recession, but instead was triggered by an unusually low level of the term premium. This article examines whether changes in the term premium can distort the recession signal given by an inverted yield curve. The authors use the Kim and Wright (2005) decomposition of the term spread into an expectations component and a term premium component to compare recession forecasting models with and without the term premium. They find that the expectations component of the term spread is a leading indicator of recession, while the term premium component is not. Their analysis of recession forecasting performance provides some evidence that a model based on the expectations component is more accurate than the standard model that uses the term spread.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its journal Economic Policy Review.

    Volume (Year): (2008)
    Issue (Month): Jul ()
    Pages: 1-11

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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fednep:y:2008:i:jul:p:1-11:n:v.14no.1

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    Related research

    Keywords: Recessions ; Economic forecasting ; Economic indicators ; Interest rates;

    References

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    1. Hamilton, James Douglas & Kim, Dong Heon, 2000. "A Re-examination of the Predictability of Economic Activity Using the Yield Spread," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt69v8p1m9, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
    2. Meredith Beechey, 2006. "A closer look at the sensitivity puzzle: the sensitivity of expected future short rates and term premia to macroeconomic news," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-06, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Hans Dewachter & Marco Lyrio, 2003. "Macro Factors and the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces0304, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
    4. Andrew Ang & Monika Piazzesi & Min Wei, 2004. "What Does the Yield Curve Tell us about GDP Growth?," NBER Working Papers 10672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Eric T. Swanson, 2007. "What we do and don't know about the term premium," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue jul20.
    6. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Brian P. Sack & Eric T. Swanson, 2006. "Macroeconomic implications of changes in the term premium," Working Paper Series 2006-46, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    7. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Jonathan H. Wright, 2006. "The U.S. Treasury yield curve: 1961 to the present," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-28, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Arturo Estrella & Gikas A. Hardouvelis, 1989. "The term structure as a predictor of real economic activity," Research Paper 8907, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    9. Wu, Tao, 2006. "Macro Factors and the Affine Term Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(7), pages 1847-1875, October.
    10. J. Benson Durham, 2006. "An estimate of the inflation risk premium using a three-factor affine term structure model," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    11. Harvey, Campbell R., 1988. "The real term structure and consumption growth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 305-333, December.
    12. Dai, Qiang & Singleton, Kenneth J., 2002. "Expectation puzzles, time-varying risk premia, and affine models of the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 415-441, March.
    13. Arturo Estrella & Mary R. Trubin, 2006. "The yield curve as a leading indicator: some practical issues," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 12(Jul).
    14. Arturo Estrella, 2005. "Why Does the Yield Curve Predict Output and Inflation?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 722-744, 07.
    15. John H. Cochrane & Monika Piazzesi, 2002. "Bond Risk Premia," NBER Working Papers 9178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Adrian, Tobias & Estrella, Arturo, 2008. "Monetary tightening cycles and the predictability of economic activity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 260-264, May.
    17. Gregory R. Duffee, 2002. "Term Premia and Interest Rate Forecasts in Affine Models," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 405-443, 02.
    18. James H. Stock & Mark M. Watson, 2003. "How did leading indicator forecasts perform during the 2001 recession?," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sum, pages 71-90.
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    Cited by:
    1. Zakamulin, Valeriy, 2013. "Forecasting the size premium over different time horizons," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1061-1072.

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