International Finance Discussion Papers (IFDP)
When is Bad News Good News? U.S. Monetary Policy, Macroeconomic News, and Financial Conditions in Emerging Markets
Rises in U.S. interest rates are often thought to generate adverse spillovers to emerging market economies (EMEs). We show that what appears to be bad news for EMEs might actually be good news, or at least not-so-bad news, depending on the source of the rise in U.S. interest rates. We present evidence that higher U.S. interest rates stemming from stronger U.S. growth generate only modest spillovers, while those stemming from a more hawkish Fed policy stance or inflationary pressures can lead to significant tightening of EME financial conditions. Our identification of the sources of U.S. rate changes is based on high-frequency moves in U.S. Treasury yields and stock prices around FOMC announcements and U.S. employment report releases. We interpret positive comovements of stocks and interest rates around these events as growth shocks and negative comovements as monetary shocks, and estimate the effect of these shocks on emerging market asset prices. For economies with greater macroeconomic vulnerabilities, the difference between the impact of monetary and growth shocks is magnified. In fact, for EMEs with very low levels of vulnerability, a growth-driven rise in U.S. interest rates may even ease financial conditions in some markets.
Note: On February 13, 2020, this paper was updated to remove a figure titled “Federal Reserve Policy and Growth in Latin America”, which was inadvertently included in the original file.
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