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A U.S. Financial Conditions Index; Putting Credit Where Credit is Due

  • Andrew Swiston
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    This paper uses vector autoregressions and impulse-response functions to construct a U.S. financial conditions index (FCI). Credit availability—proxied by survey results on lending standards—is an important driver of the business cycle, accounting for over 20 percent of the typical contribution of financial factors to growth. A net tightening in lending standards of 20 percentage points reduces economic activity by ¾ percent after one year and 1¼ percent after two years. Much of the impact of monetary policy on the economy also works through its effects on credit supply, which is evidence supporting the existence of a credit channel of monetary policy. Shocks to corporate bond yields, equity prices, and real exchange rates also contribute to fluctuations in the FCI. This FCI is an accurate predictor of real GDP growth, anticipating turning points in activity with a lead time of six to nine months. 15B

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    Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 08/161.

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    Length: 35
    Date of creation: 01 Jun 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:08/161
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    1. Eika, Kari H & Ericsson, Neil R & Nymoen, Ragnar, 1996. "Hazards in Implementing a Monetary Conditions Index," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(4), pages 765-90, November.
    2. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 1994. "The effects of monetary policy shocks: evidence from the Flow of Funds," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 94-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    3. Ashoka Mody & Mark P. Taylor, 2003. "The High-Yield Spread as a Predictor of Real Economic Activity: Evidence of a Financial Accelerator for the United States," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 50(3), pages 3.
    4. Gertler, Mark & Lown, Cara S, 1999. "The Information in the High-Yield Bond Spread for the Business Cycle: Evidence and Some Implications," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 132-50, Autumn.
    5. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1995. "Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission," Working Papers 95-15, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    6. Ashcraft, Adam B. & Campello, Murillo, 2007. "Firm balance sheets and monetary policy transmission," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1515-1528, September.
    7. Gambacorta, Leonardo & Mistrulli, Paolo Emilio, 2004. "Does bank capital affect lending behavior?," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 436-457, October.
    8. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
    9. Tamim Bayoumi & Ola Melander, 2008. "Credit Matters; Empirical Evidenceon U.S. Macro-Financial Linkages," IMF Working Papers 08/169, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Strongin, Steven, 1995. "The identification of monetary policy disturbances explaining the liquidity puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 463-497, June.
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