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Communicating Policy Options at the Zero Bound

  • Lukas Burkhard
  • Andreas M. Fischer

This paper examines a special episode in communication practices of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) when short-term interest rates reached the zero bound. A particular feature of SNB communication policy at the time was to talk openly about alternative policy instruments despite the fact that they were never implemented. Non-sterilized FX interventions were frequently mentioned as a potential instrument. We ask how did financial markets respond to the SNBs repeated references of non-sterilized interventions? The empirical results with high frequency data provide strong evidence that SNB intervention references depreciated the domestic currency for several hours. The case study supports the view that communication is an effective tool for monetary policy.

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Paper provided by Swiss National Bank in its series Working Papers with number 2007-12.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:snb:snbwpa:2007-12
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  1. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "The Zero Bound on Interest Rates and Optimal Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 139-235.
  2. Dominguez, Kathryn M.E., 2006. "When do central bank interventions influence intra-daily and longer-term exchange rate movements?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(7), pages 1051-1071, November.
  3. Takatoshi Ito & Frederic S. Mishkin, 2006. "Two Decades of Japanese Monetary Policy and the Deflation Problem," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy with Very Low Inflation in the Pacific Rim, NBER-EASE, Volume 15, pages 131-202 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Andreas M. Fischer, 2005. "On the Inadequacy of Newswire Reports for Empirical Research on Foreign Exchange Interventions," Working Papers 2005-02, Swiss National Bank.
  5. Fischer, Andreas M., 2003. "Measurement error and the profitability of interventions: a closer look at SNB transactions data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 137-142, October.
  6. Kathryn M. E. Dominguez & Freyan Panthaki, 2007. "The influence of actual and unrequited interventions," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(2), pages 171-200.
  7. Payne, Richard & Vitale, Paolo, 2001. "A Transaction Level Study of the Effects of Central Bank Intervention of Exchange Rates," CEPR Discussion Papers 3085, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Kathryn M. Dominguez, 1999. "The Market Microstructure of Central Bank Intervention," NBER Working Papers 7337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Torben G. Andersen & Tim Bollerslev & Francis X. Diebold & Clara Vega, 2002. "Micro Effects of Macro Announcements: Real-Time Price Discovery in Foreign Exchange," NBER Working Papers 8959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. Ben S. Bernanke & Vincent R. Reinhart & Brian P. Sack, 2004. "Monetary policy alternatives at the zero bound: an empirical assessment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-48, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Rasmus Fatum & Michael M. Hutchison, 2003. "Is sterilised foreign exchange intervention effective after all? an event study approach," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(487), pages 390-411, 04.
  13. Ben S. Bernanke & Vincent R. Reinhart, 2004. "Conducting Monetary Policy at Very Low Short-Term Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 85-90, May.
  14. James Clouse & Dale Henderson & Athanasios Orphanides & David Small & Peter Tinsley, 2000. "Monetary policy when the nominal short-term interest rate is zero," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-51, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Jansen, David-Jan & de Haan, Jakob, 2007. "Were verbal efforts to support the euro effective? A high-frequency analysis of ECB statements," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 245-259, March.
  16. Rasmus Fatum & Michael M. Hutchison, . "ECB Foreign Exchange Intervention and the Euro: Institutional Framework, News and Intervention," EPRU Working Paper Series 02-10, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  17. Fatum, Rasmus & Pedersen, Jesper, 2009. "Real-time effects of central bank intervention in the euro market," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 11-20, June.
  18. repec:fip:fedgsq:y:2002:i:nov21 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Georg Rich, 2000. "Switzerland and the euro," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 28(3), pages 309-311, September.
  20. Fratzscher, Marcel, 2005. "Strategies of exchange rate policy in G3 economies," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 68-74, October.
  21. Takatoshi Ito, 2004. "Inflation Targeting and Japan: Why has the Bank of Japan not Adopted Inflation Targeting?," NBER Working Papers 10818, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Peiers, Bettina, 1997. " Informed Traders, Intervention, and Price Leadership: A Deeper View of the Microstructure of the Foreign Exchange Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(4), pages 1589-1614, September.
  23. Jansen, David-Jan & De Haan, Jakob, 2005. "Talking heads: the effects of ECB statements on the euro-dollar exchange rate," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 343-361, March.
  24. Jean-Marc Natal, 2004. "Deflation and Deflationary Traps: The Situation in Switzerland," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 140(I), pages 127-170, March.
  25. Fischer, Andreas M & Zurlinden, Mathias, 1999. "Exchange Rate Effects of Central Bank Interventions: An Analysis of Transaction Prices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(458), pages 662-76, October.
  26. Andreas M. Fischer, 2002. "Fluctuations in the Swiss Franc: What has Changed Since the Euro's Introduction?," Working Papers 02.03, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  27. Rich, Georg, 1990. "Exchange-rate management under floating exchange rates : A skeptical Swiss view," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 993-1021, November.
  28. Fratzscher, Marcel, 2006. "On the long-term effectiveness of exchange rate communication and interventions," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 146-167, February.
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