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Futures contract rates as monetary policy forecasts

  • Ferrero, Giuseppe
  • Nobili, Andrea

The prices of futures contracts on short-term interest rates are commonly used by central banks to gauge market expectations concerning monetary policy decisions. Excess returns - the difference between futures rates and the realized rates - are positive, on average, and statistically significant, both in the euro area and in the United States. We find that these biases are significantly related to the business cycle only in the United States. Moreover, the sign and the significance of the estimated relationships with business cycle indicators are unstable over time. Breaking the excess returns down into risk premium and forecast error components, we find that risk premia are counter-cyclical in both areas. On the contrary, ex-post prediction errors, which represent the greater part of excess returns at longer horizons in both areas, are negatively correlated with the business cycle only in the United States. JEL Classification: E43, E44, E52

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0979.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20080979
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  1. 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.
  2. Andrew Ang & Sen Dong & Monika Piazzesi, 2005. "No-arbitrage Taylor rules," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. Bekaert, Geert & Hodrick, Robert J. & Marshall, David A., 2001. "Peso problem explanations for term structure anomalies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 241-270, October.
  4. Bacchetta, Philippe & Mertens, Elmar & van Wincoop, Eric, 2006. "Predictability in Financial Markets: What Do Survey Expectations Tell Us?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5770, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Campbell, John, 1995. "Some Lessons from the Yield Curve," Scholarly Articles 3163264, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. J. Benson Durham, 2003. "Estimates of the term premium on near-dated federal funds futures contracts," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-19, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  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. Marcello Pericoli & Marco Taboga, 2006. "Canonical term-structure models with observable factors and the dynamics of bond risk premiums," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 580, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  10. Jongen, Ron & Verschoor, Willem F C & Wolff, Christian C, 2005. "Time Variation in Term Premia: International Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 4959, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Rapach, David E. & Weber, Christian E., 2004. "Are real interest rates really nonstationary? New evidence from tests with good size and power," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 409-430, September.
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