DP8094 | Macroprudential policy and central bank communication

Publication Date

08/11/2010

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Abstract

In response to the financial crisis of 2007-2010, many central banks are getting involved in macroprudential supervision. Central bank communication will constitute a central policy tool for that purpose. The paper asks how such communication will affect financial markets, exploiting the fact that many central banks have had some financial stability role in the past, and have communicated extensively on this through the publication of Financial Stability Reports (FSRs) and financial stability-related statements. Building a unique dataset, it provides an empirical assessment of the financial market reactions to more than 1000 releases of FSRs and speeches in 36 countries over the past 14 years. The findings suggest that FSRs have a significant and potentially long-lasting effect on stock market returns, and also tend to reduce market volatility. Speeches and interviews, in contrast, have little effect on market returns and tend to increase volatility during tranquil times, but can have a substantially larger effect during periods of financial stress. Moreover, central bank communication can affect markets even when leaning against asset price booms. The findings underline the importance of differentiating between communication tools and content when designing a communication strategy on macroprudential issues.