The Atlanta Fed's macroblog provides commentary and analysis on economic topics including monetary policy, macroeconomic developments, inflation, labor economics, and financial issues.
- BLS Handbook of Methods
- Bureau of Economic Analysis
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Congressional Budget Office
- Economic Data - FRED® II, St. Louis Fed
- Office of Management and Budget
- Statistics: Releases and Historical Data, Board of Governors
- U.S. Census Bureau Economic Programs
- White House Economic Statistics Briefing Room
December 18, 2009
October data indicate financial stress continuing to ease
Update: The numbers for T-bills and notes/bonds I am quoting refer to net official purchases only, not total net purchases by foreigners.
The October Treasury International Capital (TIC) data, which report on U.S. cross-border financial flows, suggested continued unwinding of a massive flight to quality that took place in financial markets in the second half of 2008. (For a detailed overview of U.S. cross-border financial flows during the recent crisis, see a comprehensive report from the Federal Reserve Board.)
Cross-border private capital flows, which plummeted at the peak of the financial crisis in fall 2008, resumed as risk aversion in financial markets started to abate. On net, foreign private investors have again become buyers of U.S. assets, which has helped to increase the supply of capital in the United States.
Based on the TIC data, it appears that U.S. investors, too, are now channeling their savings abroad by buying foreign bonds and equities. Last fall as the global economy fell into a deep recession, U.S. investors sold, on net, foreign assets and repatriated capital at a record pace, partly offsetting outflows of foreign private capital. In recent months, U.S. investors on net bought foreign equities and bonds as foreign economic growth resumed and conditions improved in financial markets. The renewed purchases of foreign securities by U.S. investors shown in the data, however, represent an outflow of capital from the United States and, all else equal, increased U.S. reliance on foreign financing.
The TIC data also show the easing of financial stress, which is reflected in the recent pick-up in foreign net buying of riskier U.S. assets, such as equities, and an increasing demand for agency bonds, including agency mortgage-backed securities, from foreign private investors. Also, foreign investors are rebalancing their portfolios from U.S. Treasury bills to longer-term Treasury securities.
As the financial crisis intensified in the fourth quarter of last year, foreign official investors bought on net a record $181 billion in Treasury bills while on net they sold $23.4 billion in Treasury bonds and notes. Although emerging markets' official reserves fell in the fourth quarter of 2008 (their central banks were selling dollars to support local currencies), net selling of longer-term Treasuries and a sharp sell-off in agency debt funded a surge in net buying of U.S. Treasury bills, based on the TIC data. Similarly, private investors' net buying of treasury bills soared in the second half of 2008. Buying short-term Treasuries allowed a shift to quality and safety in the most prudent way, leaving open the option to quickly reverse the flow. Now that the crisis has subsided, foreign official investors have tapered their purchases of Treasury bills and have increased their purchases of longer-dated Treasuries while private investors began on net selling Treasury bills in second quarter of this year.
Despite all these improvements, the influence of the financial crisis is still evident in the data that show persistent net selling of agency bonds by foreign official investors that began last year as well as continued net selling of long-term corporate debt by foreign private investors.
By Galina Alexeenko, economic policy analysis specialist in the Atlanta Fed's research department
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to blogs that reference October data indicate financial stress continuing to ease:
- What’s Moving the Market’s Views on the Path of Short-Term Rates?
- Lockhart Casts a Line into the Murky Waters of Uncertainty
- How Will Employers Respond to New Overtime Regulations?
- How Good Is The Employment Trend? Decide for Yourself
- Is the Labor Market Tossing a Fair Coin?
- When It Rains, It Pours
- Pay As You Go: Yes or No?
- Was May's Drop in Labor Force Participation All Bad News?
- Wage Growth for Job Stayers and Switchers Added to the Atlanta Fed's Wage Growth Tracker
- Experts Debate Policy Options for China's Transition
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- Business Cycles
- Business Inflation Expectations
- Capital and Investment
- Capital Markets
- Data Releases
- Economic conditions
- Economic Growth and Development
- Exchange Rates and the Dollar
- Fed Funds Futures
- Federal Debt and Deficits
- Federal Reserve and Monetary Policy
- Financial System
- Fiscal Policy
- Health Care
- Inflation Expectations
- Interest Rates
- Labor Markets
- Latin America/South America
- Monetary Policy
- Money Markets
- Real Estate
- Saving, Capital, and Investment
- Small Business
- Social Security
- This, That, and the Other
- Trade Deficit
- Wage Growth