Research Discussion Paper – RDP 9808 What Moves Yields in Australia?


In this paper, we measure how the fixed-interest market in Australia assesses and responds to new economic information. We use high-frequency data, precise announcement times and market-based forecasts to measure the reaction of bill and bond yields to news. The period covered is from January 1994 to September 1997. We find that announcements about US economic news have had a large impact on yields in Australia – especially bond yields. Of the domestic announcements, the market responds to: monetary policy announcements, the CPI, the labour force and AWOTE, as well as a range of other economic statistics. We also find that the fixed-interest market seems to distinguish between the information contained in different economic announcements and that traders systematically respond to the size and direction of any unanticipated component of these announcements. The results suggest that the market perceives that information on prices, employment and wages is more important in the Reserve Bank's decisions about monetary policy than are other indicators of economic activity. Taken in sum, the results also suggest some consistency of response to news in the fixed-interest market in Australia.

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