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Do federal funds futures need adjustment for excess returns? a state-dependent approach


  • Brent Bundick


This paper utilizes a Markov-switching framework to model excess returns in federal funds futures contracts. This framework identifies a high-volatility state where excess returns are large, positive, and volatile and a low-volatility state where excess returns have a lower volatility and are small in absolute value. Federal funds futures rates require adjustment for excess returns only in the high-volatility state. Intermeeting rate cuts of the federal funds rate target always correspond with the high-volatility regime and can explain much of the variation in excess returns. This paper also examines previous return models and helps clarify the relationship between excess returns, business cycles, and intermeeting rate cuts. In real-time forecasting, however, the unadjusted futures rates outperform three different forecasting models. This result strengthens the case for unadjusted futures rates as a measure of monetary policy expectations.

Suggested Citation

  • Brent Bundick, 2007. "Do federal funds futures need adjustment for excess returns? a state-dependent approach," Research Working Paper RWP 07-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkrw:rwp07-08

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bessec Marie & Bouabdallah Othman, 2005. "What Causes The Forecasting Failure of Markov-Switching Models? A Monte Carlo Study," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(2), pages 1-24, June.
    2. Ben S. Bernanke & Kenneth N. Kuttner, 2005. "What Explains the Stock Market's Reaction to Federal Reserve Policy?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1221-1257, June.
    3. 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 829-853, October.
    4. 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.).
    5. Hakkio, Craig S, 1981. "Expectations and the Forward Exchange Rate," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(3), pages 663-678, October.
    6. Piazzesi, Monika & Swanson, Eric T., 2008. "Futures prices as risk-adjusted forecasts of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 677-691, May.
    7. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-384, March.
    8. Refet S Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words? The Response of Asset Prices to Monetary Policy Actions and Statements," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(1), May.
    9. Troy Davig & Jeffrey R. Gerlach, 2006. "State-Dependent Stock Market Reactions to Monetary Policy," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 2(4), December.
    10. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "State-Space Models with Regime Switching: Classical and Gibbs-Sampling Approaches with Applications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262112388, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. James D. Hamilton & Tatsuyoshi Okimoto, 2011. "Sources of variation in holding returns for fed funds futures contracts," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(3), pages 205-229, March.
    2. Lapp, John S. & Pearce, Douglas K., 2012. "The impact of economic news on expected changes in monetary policy," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 362-379.

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