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Futures prices as risk-adjusted forecasts of monetary policy

  • Monika Piazzesi
  • Eric T. Swanson

Many researchers have used federal funds futures rates as measures of financial markets' expectations of future monetary policy. However, to the extent that federal funds futures reflect risk premia, these measures require some adjustment. In this paper, we document that excess returns on federal funds futures have been positive on average and strongly countercyclical. In particular, excess returns are surprisingly well predicted by macroeconomic indicators such as employment growth and financial business-cycle indicators such as Treasury yield spreads and corporate bond spreads. Excess returns on eurodollar futures display similar patterns. We document that simply ignoring these risk premia significantly biases forecasts of the future path of monetary policy. We also show that risk premia matter for some futures-based measures of monetary policy shocks used in the literature.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2006-23.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2006-23
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  1. Hansen, Lars Peter & Hodrick, Robert J, 1980. "Forward Exchange Rates as Optimal Predictors of Future Spot Rates: An Econometric Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(5), pages 829-53, October.
  2. Brunner, Allan D, 2000. "On the Derivation of Monetary Policy Shocks: Should We Throw the VAR Out with the Bath Water?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(2), pages 254-79, May.
  3. 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.
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  10. Bernanke, Ben S & Blinder, Alan S, 1992. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transmission," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 901-21, September.
  11. Rudebusch, Glenn D, 1998. "Do Measures of Monetary Policy in a VAR Make Sense? A Reply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 943-48, November.
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  13. Charles L. Evans & David A. Marshall, 1997. "Monetary policy and the term structure of nominal interest rates: evidence and theory," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  14. Charles L. Evans, 1998. "Real-time Taylor rules and the federal funds futures market," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q III, pages 44-55.
  15. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2003. "The excess sensitivity of long-term interest rates: evidence and implications for macroeconomic models," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-50, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  16. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1989. "Yield Spreads and Interest Rate Movements: A Bird's Eye View," NBER Working Papers 3153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "The Sensitivity of Long-Term Interest Rates to Economic News: Evidence and Implications for Macroeconomic Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 425-436, March.
  18. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, January.
  19. John H. Cochrane & Monika Piazzesi, 2002. "The Fed and Interest Rates: A High-Frequency Identification," NBER Working Papers 8839, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Joel T. Krueger & Kenneth N. Kuttner, 1995. "The Fed funds futures rate as a predictor of Federal Reserve policy," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 95-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  21. Fama, Eugene F & Bliss, Robert R, 1987. "The Information in Long-Maturity Forward Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 680-92, September.
  22. Brian Sack, 2002. "Extracting the expected path of monetary policy from futures rates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-56, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  23. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2002. "Market-based measures of monetary policy expectations," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-40, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  24. 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.
  25. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1997. "Monetary policy shocks: what have we learned and to what end?," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  26. 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.).
  27. Kuttner, Kenneth N., 2001. "Monetary policy surprises and interest rates: Evidence from the Fed funds futures market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 523-544, June.
  28. Lange, Joe & Sack, Brian & Whitesell, William, 2003. " Anticipations of Monetary Policy in Financial Markets," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(6), pages 889-909, December.
  29. Hodrick, Robert J, 1992. "Dividend Yields and Expected Stock Returns: Alternative Procedures for Inference and Measurement," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(3), pages 357-86.
  30. John H. Cochrane & Monika Piazzesi, 2005. "Bond Risk Premia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 138-160, March.
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