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Mr. Fei Han and Mr. Niklas J Westelius
The yen is an important barometer for the Japanese economy. Depreciations are typically associated with favorable economic developments such as increased corporate profits, rising equity prices, and upward pressure on domestic consumer prices. On the other hand, large and sharp appreciations run the risk of lowering actual and expected inflation, squeezing corporate profits, generating a negative wealth effect through depressed equity prices, and reducing confidence in the Bank of Japan’s efforts to reflate the domestic economy and achieve the inflation target. This paper takes a closer look at underlying drivers of rapid yen appreciations, highlighting the key role of carry-trade and the zero lower bound as important amplifiers.
Mr. Tao Wu
This paper examines the transmission mechanism through which unconventional monetary policy affects long-term interest rates. I construct a real-time measure summarizing market projections of the magnitude and duration of the Federal Reserve's Large Scale Asset Purchases (LSAP) program, and analyze the determination of term premiums and expectations of future short-term interest rates in a sample spanning more than two decades. Empirical findings suggest that the LSAP has effectively lowered the long-term Treasury bond yields, through both "signaling" and "portfolio balance" channels. On the other hand, the Fed's "forward guidance" also leads to gradual extension of market projections for the duration of the LSAP program, thereby enhancing the LSAP's effect to keep term premiums low. Estimation results also reveal a diminished effectiveness of the LSAP during QE III. Finally, model simulations underscore the importance of policy transparency in minimizing unnecessary market turbulence and ensuring a timely and smooth exit of the unconventional monetary policy stimulus.
International Monetary Fund
This paper provides background information to the main Board paper, “The Role and Limits of Unconventional Monetary Policy.” This paper is divided in five distinct sections, each focused on a different topic covered in the main paper, though most relate to bond purchase programs. As a result, this paper centers on the experience of the United States Federal Reserve (Fed), the Bank of England (BOE) and the Bank of Japan (BOJ), mostly leaving the European Central Bank (ECB) aside given its focus on restoring the functioning of financial markets and intermediation. Section A explores whether bond purchase programs were effective at decreasing bond yields and, if so, through which channels. Section B goes one step further in evaluating whether bond purchase programs had—or can be expected to have—significant effects on real growth and inflation. Section C studies the spillover effects of bond purchases on both advanced and emerging market economies, using very similar methods as introduced in the first section. Section D breaks from the immediate focus on bond purchases to discuss how inflation might decrease the debt burden in advanced economies, in light of possible pressures that could fall (or be perceived to fall) on central banks. Finally, Section E discusses the possible risks of exiting given the very large central bank balance sheets.
Mr. Juan Sole and Andreas Jobst
Derivatives are few and far between in countries where the compatibility of financial transactions with Islamic law requires the development of shari'ah-compliant structures. Islamic finance is governed by the shari'ah, which bans speculation and gambling, and stipulates that income must be derived as profits from the shared generation of goods and services between counterparties rather than interest or a guaranteed return. The paper explains the fundamental legal principles underpinning Islamic finance with a view towards developing a cohesive theory of derivatives subject to shari'ahprinciples. After critically reviewing accepted contracts and the scholastic debate surrounding existing financial innovation in this area, the paper offers an axiomatic perspective on a principle-based permissibility of derivatives under Islamic law.
Mr. Christopher W. Crowe and Mr. S. Mahdi Barakchian
Conventional VAR and non-VAR methods of identifying the effects of monetary policy shocks on the economy have found a negative output response to monetary tightening using U.S. data over the 1960s-1990s. However, we show that these methods fail to find this contractionary effect when the sample is restricted to the period since the 1980s, apparently due to changes in the policymaking environment that reduce their effectiveness. Identifying policy shocks using Fed Funds futures data, we recover the contractionary effect of monetary tightening on output and find that almost half of output variation over the period appears due to policy shocks.
Mr. Kevin Ross
Many surveys of the ECB's monetary framework emphasize the inability of financial markets to correctly predict monetary policy decisions. At the same time, these surveys of financial market participants have given relatively high marks to the United States Federal Reserve and the Bank of England on their ability to be understood by financial markets. Against this background, this paper examines the ability of financial markets to correctly anticipate these three central bank policy decisions over the first 3½ years of the ECB. The paper relies on calculations that market participants employ in anticipating policy changes and on term structure regressions that provide ex post evidence of market surprises. While the results suggest that all three central banks are broadly predictable, markets have had difficulty anticipating large changes and cuts in ECB policy interest rates. These surprises may be tied to the large number of policy meetings, particular characteristics of the EONIA money market, and the unique circumstances of the ECB. An added factor may be the absence of a consistent policy on communicating the current stance-if any-of the ECB's policy bias on the future direction of interest rates.
Mr. Joaquim Vieira Ferreira Levy and Mr. Jonathan David Ostry
The household saving ratio in France has undergone very sharp changes over the past two decades, falling dramatically in the first part of the 1980s before rising in more recent years. This paper emphasizes two factors in the evolution of private saving in France. The first relates to perceptions of household income growth and uncertainty, which are likely to have been affected by deteriorating labor market conditions, and which may therefore help to account for the recent increase in saving. The second factor relates to financial deregulation which may have lowered saving and increased its sensitivity to interest rate changes. It is argued that both factors have played some role in the evolution of French household saving.
International Monetary Fund


This paper assesses recent trends in international capital markets. It reviews, in particular, the forces currently reshaping the markets of industrial countries and confronting financial institutions with major challenges. For the international capital markets, 1988 was generally a year of recovery. The international securities markets, depressed during the second and third quarters of 1987 and badly shaken by the October market break, rebounded in 1988. Intensifying competition and changing regulatory requirements characterize contemporary financial markets. Competition has been fostered by the internationalization of institutions, the liberalization of domestic markets, technological advances in data processing and telecommunications, and financial product innovations that more extensively link traditional banking and securities markets. A fundamental task of financial intermediaries is to appraise and assume risk and to charge for it appropriately. As a result of regulatory change, the growth of derivative product markets, and technological innovation, competitive pressure appears to be increasing the general level of risk assumed by intermediaries, while only partially providing the tools needed to manage that risk.