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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. Refet Gürkaynak & Brian Sack, 2005. "Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?The Response of Asset Prices to Monetary Policy Actions and Statements," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 323, Society for Computational Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Torben G. Andersen & Tim Bollerslev & Francis X. Diebold & Clara Vega, 2002. "Micro Effects of Macro Announcements: Real-Time Price Discovery in Foreign Exchange?," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-23, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  4. 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.).
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  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Fratzscher, Marcel, 2005. "Strategies of exchange rate policy in G3 economies," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 68-74, October.
  10. Kathryn M. Dominguez, 1999. "The Market Microstructure of Central Bank Intervention," NBER Working Papers 7337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.).
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. David-Jan Jansen & Jakob de Haan, 2005. "Were Verbal Efforts to Support the Euro Effective? A High-Frequency Analysis of ECB Statements," DNB Working Papers 033, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
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  20. repec:fip:fedgsq:y:2002:i:nov21 is not listed on IDEAS
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  27. 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.
  28. 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.
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