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Extracting the expected path of monetary policy from futures rates

  • Brian Sack
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    Federal funds and eurodollar futures contracts are among the most useful instruments for deriving expectations of the future path of monetary policy. However, reading policy expectations from those instruments is complicated by the presence of risk premia. This paper demonstrates how to extract the expected policy path under the assumption that risk premia are constant over time, and under a simple model that allows risk premia to vary. In the latter case, the risk premia are identified under the assumption that policy expectations level out after a long enough horizon. The results provide evidence that the risk premia on these futures contracts vary over time. The impact of this variation is fairly limited for futures contracts with short horizons, but it increases as the horizon of the contracts lengthens.

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    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2002-56.

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    Date of creation: 2002
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2002-56
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    1. 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.
    2. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 2002. "Term structure evidence on interest rate smoothing and monetary policy inertia," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1161-1187, September.
    3. Narasimhan Jegadeesh & George G. Pennacchi, 1996. "The behavior of interest rates implied by the term structure of Eurodollar future," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Aug, pages 426-451.
    4. Shiller, Robert J, 1979. "The Volatility of Long-Term Interest Rates and Expectations Models of the Term Structure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1190-1219, December.
    5. John B. Carlson & Jean M. McIntire & James B. Thomson, 1995. "Federal funds futures as an indicator of future monetary policy: a primer," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q I, pages 20-30.
    6. Joel T. Krueger & Kenneth N. Kuttner, 1996. "The Fed funds futures rate as a predictor of federal reserve policy," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(8), pages 865-879, December.
    7. John C. Robertson & Daniel L. Thornton, 1997. "Using federal funds futures rates to predict Federal Reserve actions," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 45-53.
    8. 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.
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