The Zero Lower Bound, Forward Guidance and How Markets Respond to News
12 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2019
Date Written: March 5, 2019
Short-term market interest rates seem to have been less responsive to economic news in the post-crisis period. We evaluate two potential reasons: forward guidance and the constraint on monetary policy imposed by the zero lower bound (ZLB). We quantify how the ZLB has dampened market reactions to news in the United States, using estimates of the probability of hitting the ZLB derived from overnight index swap rates. For short maturities, variations in the ZLB's probability are sufficient to account for the fall in the sensitivity of market interest rates while the ZLB was binding. However, since it was precisely at the ZLB that forward guidance was most actively used, its role cannot be ruled out. But even after the policy rate rose, significantly reducing the ZLB's probability, the market's response to news continued to be more muted for shorter-maturity bonds and some risky assets. This suggests that other mechanisms also played a part, including forward guidance about gradual policy rate normalisation.
JEL Classification: E52, E58
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation