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FOMC Communication Policy and the Accuracy of Fed Funds Futures

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  • M.H. Middeldorp

Abstract

Over the last two decades, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the rate-setting body of the United States Federal Reserve System, has become increasingly communicative and transparent. According to policymakers, one of the goals of this shift has been to improve monetary policy predictability. Previous academic research has found that the FOMC has indeed become more predictable. Here, I contribute to the literature in two ways. First, instead of simply looking at predictability before and after the Fed’s communication reforms in the 1990s, I identify three distinct periods of reform and measure their separate contributions. Second, I correct the interest rate forecasts embedded in fed funds futures contracts for risk premiums, in order to obtain a less biased measure of predictability. My results suggest that the communication reforms of the early 1990s and the “guidance†provided from 2003 significantly improved predictability, while the release of the FOMC’s policy bias in 1999 had no measurable impact. Finally, I find that FOMC speeches and testimonies significantly lower short-term forecasting errors.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Utrecht School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 11-13.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:1113

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Keywords: central bank communication; central bank transparency; futures pricing; financial market efficiency;

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References

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  1. Jonathan Coppel & Ellis Connolly, 2003. "What Do Financial Market Data Tell Us about Monetary Policy Transparency?," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2003-05, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  2. Monika Piazzesi & Eric T. Swanson, 2006. "Futures prices as risk-adjusted forecasts of monetary policy," Working Paper Series 2006-23, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. Jan-Egbert Sturm & Jakob Haan, 2011. "Does central bank communication really lead to better forecasts of policy decisions? New evidence based on a Taylor rule model for the ECB," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 147(1), pages 41-58, April.
  4. Lars E. O. Svensson, 2006. "Social Value of Public Information: Comment: Morris and Shin (2002) Is Actually Pro-Transparency, Not Con," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 448-452, March.
  5. John H. Cochrane & Monika Piazzesi, 2005. "Bond Risk Premia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 138-160, March.
  6. Swanson, Eric T., 2006. "Have Increases in Federal Reserve Transparency Improved Private Sector Interest Rate Forecasts?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(3), pages 791-819, April.
  7. William Poole, 2003. "Fed transparency: how, not whether," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 1-8.
  8. Gurkaynak, Refet S. & Sack, Brian T. & Swanson, Eric P., 2007. "Market-Based Measures of Monetary Policy Expectations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 201-212, April.
  9. Mizen, Paul, 2009. "What can we learn from central bankers' words? Some nonparametric tests for the ECB," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 29-32, April.
  10. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2005. "Transparency, disclosure and the federal reserve," Working Paper Series 0457, European Central Bank.
  11. Maria Demertzis & Marco Hoeberichts, 2007. "The Costs of Increasing Transparency," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 263-280, July.
  12. Robert H. Rasche & Daniel L. Thornton, 2002. "The FOMC's balance-of-risks statement and market expectations of policy actions," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 37-50.
  13. Clemens Kool & Menno Middeldorp & Stephanie Rosenkranz, 2011. "Central Bank Transparency and the Crowding Out of Private Information in Financial Markets," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43(4), pages 765-774, 06.
  14. Stambaugh, Robert F., 1988. "The information in forward rates : Implications for models of the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 41-70, May.
  15. David-Jan Jansen & Jakob De Haan, 2009. "Has ECB communication been helpful in predicting interest rate decisions? An evaluation of the early years of the Economic and Monetary Union," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(16), pages 1995-2003.
  16. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
  17. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2007. "Social value of public information: testing the limits to transparency," Working Paper Series 0821, European Central Bank.
  18. John B. Carlson & Ben Craig & Patrick Higgins & William R. Melick, 2006. "FOMC communications and the predictability of near-term policy decisions," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Jun.
  19. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin & Hui Tong, 2006. "Social Value of Public Information: Morris and Shin (2002) Is Actually Pro-Transparency, Not Con: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 453-455, March.
  20. M. Middeldorp & S. Rosenkranz, 2008. "Central bank communication and crowding out of private information in an experimental asset market," Working Papers 08-26, Utrecht School of Economics.
  21. Maria Demertzis & Marco Hoeberichts, 2006. "The Costs of Increasing Transparency," DNB Working Papers 080, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
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Cited by:
  1. Menno Middeldorp, 2011. "Central Bank Transparency, the Accuracy of Professional Forecasts, and Interest Rate Volatility," Working Papers 11-12, Utrecht School of Economics.
  2. Dräger, L. & Lamla, M.J. & Pfajfar, D., 2013. "Are Consumer Expectations Theory-Consistent? The Role of Macroeconomic Determinants and Central Bank Communication," Discussion Paper 2013-063, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.

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