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International Finance Discussion Papers
The International Finance Discussion Papers logo links to the International Finance Discussion Papers home page Global Asset Prices and FOMC Announcements
Joshua Hausman and Jon Wongswan
2006-886  (November 2006)

Abstract:  This paper documents the impact of U.S. monetary policy announcement surprises on foreign equity indexes, short- and long-term interest rates, and exchange rates in 49 countries. We use two proxies for monetary policy surprises: the surprise change to the current target federal funds rate (target surprise) and the revision to the path of future monetary policy (path surprise). We find that different asset classes respond to different components of the monetary policy surprises. Global equity indexes respond mainly to the target surprise; exchange rates and long-term interest rates respond mainly to the path surprise; and short-term interest rates respond to both surprises. On average, a hypothetical surprise 25-basis-point cut in the federal funds target rate is associated with about a 1 percent increase in foreign equity indexes and a 5 basis point decline in foreign short-term interest rates. A surprise 25-basis-point downward revision in the path of future policy is associated with about a ½ percent decline in the exchange value of the dollar against foreign currencies and 5 and 8 basis points declines in short- and long-term interest rates, respectively. We also find that asset prices’ responses to FOMC announcements vary greatly across countries, and that these cross-country variations in the response are related to a country’s exchange rate regime. Equity indexes and interest rates in countries with a less flexible exchange rate regime respond more to U.S. monetary policy surprises. In addition, the cross-country variation in the equity market response is strongly related to the percentage of each country’s equity market capitalization owned by U.S. investors (a financial linkage), and the cross-country variation in short-term interest rates’ responses is strongly related to the share of each country’s trade that is with the United States (a real linkage)

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Keywords
monetary policy announcements, equity markets, interest rates, exchange rates, exchange rate regime

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