Research Discussion Paper – RDP 2023-04 Can We Use High-frequency Yield Data to Better Understand the Effects of Monetary Policy and Its Communication? Yes and No!


Understanding the effects of monetary policy and its communication is crucial for a central bank. This paper explores a new approach to identifying the effects of monetary policy using high-frequency data around monetary policy decisions and other announcements that allows us to explore different facets of monetary policy, specifically: current policy action; signalling or forward guidance about future rates; and the effect on uncertainty and term premia.

The approach provides an intuitive lens through which to understand how policy and its communication affected expectations for rates and risks during certain historical periods, and more generally. For example, it suggests that: (i) signalling/forward guidance shocks tended to raise expected future policy rates in the mid-2010s as the RBA highlighted rising risks in housing markets; (ii) COVID-19-era monetary policy worked mainly through affecting term premia rather than expectations for future policy rates, unlike pre-COVID-19 policy; and (iii) shocks to the expected path of rates are predictable based on data available at the time, which suggests that markets systematically misunderstand how the RBA reacts to data, highlighting the importance of clear communication.

We also explore the macroeconomic effects of these different shocks. The effects of shocks to current policy are similar to those estimated in previous papers, and existing issues such as the ‘price puzzle’ remain, while the effects of other shocks are imprecisely estimated. Although the approach provides little new information on the macroeconomic effects of monetary policy, it does highlight the importance of these other facets of policy in moving interest rates and suggests additional work in this space could be valuable.