However, non-mining business investment in Australia was fairly weak over much of the 2010s, despite declines in interest rates and moderate economic growth. While several explanations have been put forward, one potential explanation is that monetary policy is not very effective at stimulating business investment or has become less effective over time.
We provide new evidence on the effect of monetary policy on investment in Australia using firm-level data. We find that contractionary monetary policy makes firms less likely to invest and lowers the amount they invest if they do so. The effects are similar for young and old firms, indicating that the decline in the number of young firms in Australia over time is unlikely to have weakened the effect of monetary policy. The effects are also broadly similar for smaller and larger firms. This suggests that evidence that some, particularly large, firms have sticky hurdle rates does not mean that they do not respond to monetary policy. It also suggests that overseas findings that expansionary monetary policy lessens competition by supporting the largest firms likely do not apply to Australia. We find evidence that financially constrained firms, and sectors that are more dependent on external finance, are more responsive to monetary policy, highlighting the important role of cash flow and financing constraints in the transmission of monetary policy. Finally, we find evidence that monetary policy affects firms’ actual and expected investment contemporaneously, suggesting that expectations are reactive and will tend to lag over the cycle.
The Federal Trade Commission is sending more than $3 million in refunds to businesses that paid for memberships to HomeAdvisor, Inc., a company affiliated with Angi (formerly known as Angie’s List). The agency is also sending claim forms to businesses that are eligible for additional refunds.
The FTC is sending 110,372 checks to eligible home service providers. These refunds are related to the FTC’s allegations that HomeAdvisor misled businesses about the quality of customer leads they would get with their membership. Recipients should cash their checks within 90 days, as indicated on the check.
The agency is also sending 91,273 claims forms to businesses that paid for mHelpDesk. The deadline to submit a claim is February 26, 2024. More information about the refund process is available at ftc.gov/HomeAdvisor or by calling the refund administrator, Rust Consulting, Inc., at 1-833-915-1144. The Commission never requires people to pay money or provide account information to get a refund.
This paper seeks to estimate the extent to which market-implied policy expectations could be improved with further information disclosure from the FOMC. Using text analysis methods based on large language models, we show that if FOMC meeting materials with five-year lagged release dates—like meeting transcripts and Tealbooks—were accessible to the public in real-time, marketpolicy expectations could substantially improve forecasting accuracy. Most of this improvement occurs during easing cycles. For instance, at the six-month forecasting horizon, the market could have predicted as much as 125 basis points of additional easing during the 2001 and 2008 recessions, equivalent to a 40-50 percent reduction in mean squared error. This potential forecasting improvement appears to be related to incomplete information about the Fed’s reaction function, particularly with respect to financial stability concerns in 2008. In contrast, having enhanced access to meeting materials would not have improved the market’s policy rate forecasting during tightening cycles.
Container shipping companies’ 3Q23 financial results showcased a sharp dip in profits or even losses. On a group level, eleven liners (which report quarterly results) among our portfolio of 13 companies reported an average slump of 54.6% YoY in their 3Q23 topline. Operating costs declined 18.1% YoY amid falling chartering costs and lowering bunker prices. However, the cost reduction was insufficient to offset the plunge in topline; thus, EBIT contracted 94.1% YoY on average.
Mainly driven by weak earnings prospects, the Drewry Container Equity Index trades at a P/B of 0.5x, a 47.5% discount to its pre-pandemic average (2013-19). We expect freight rates to fall sharply in 2024 and increasingly incur losses. Thus, we expect the multiple to remain suppressed.
As the fleet of container shipping companies expands, the charter market softens. For instance, 1-year TC rates declined 14.2% and 52.5% YoY in October for vessels sized 1,110 teu and 8,500 teu. Rates declined more for larger vessels as these constitute the majority of the order book and new deliveries. The YoY decline has continued since October 2022, but rates improved slightly during April-May 2023. However, this was not due to the fundamentally strong market but MSC and CMA CGM’s aggressive chartering of vessels to expand their fleets. Now that the two companies have stopped chartering in vessels, the charter market continues to decline.
Driven by the softening charter market, second-hand asset prices are also weakening. In October, on a YoY basis, prices for five-year-old vessels (2,700 teu and 7,200 teu) contracted 30.6% and 31.5%, and for 10-year-old ships, prices tumbled between 36.7% and 53.2%. Contrary to the sale and purchase market, newbuild prices (1,500 teu and 14,000 teu) continue to increase and rose by an average of 2.2% YoY, led by a shortage of capacity in shipyards.
In October, I wrote about the potential for standards to make business-to-business payments more efficient. Today, let’s talk about standards again, this time for money transfer businesses and the state regulations covering them.
For new and established money transfer businesses and for state regulators, the hodgepodge of state regulations creates headaches. To do business everywhere in the United States, money transfer businesses must register separately in each state and US territory and meet license requirements that can vary from state to state. They can face multiple state examinations, also with different requirements, simultaneously (and annually). During examinations, regulators review operations, financial condition, management, and compliance with anti-money laundering laws.
The MTMA is important given the prodigious growth in person-to-person, or P2P, payments via apps. Among all USconsumers, half of P2P payments were sent using noncash methods in 2022, up from less than 30 percent in 2020 (see the chart). From Massachusetts alone, money transmitters sent $31 billion in 2022, according to the state’s Division of Banks.
Half of P2P payments were made electronically in 2022.
The MTMA also has the potential to create efficiencies for state supervisors. For example, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) has facilitated a collaborative exam program for nationwide payments and cryptocurrency firms to undergo one exam, each facilitated by one state overseeing a group of examiners sourced from across the country. According to the CSBS, transmitters in more than 40 states that have laws addressing core precepts can benefit from the streamlined exams.
The MTMA is another example showing that standards create efficiencies that are good for businesses, good for regulators and, by extension, good for consumers.
IMF research [archived PDF] shows that doubling green patent filings can boost gross domestic product by 1.7 percent after five years compared with a baseline scenario. And that’s under our most conservative estimate—other estimates show up to four times the effect.
The risks of protectionism are exacerbated when climate policies, such as subsidies, do not abide by international rules. For example, local content requirements, whereby only locally produced green goods benefit from subsidies, undermine trust in multilateral trade rules and could result in retaliatory measures.
Brigit, also known as Bridge It, Inc., has agreed to settle the FTC’s charges, resulting in a proposed court order that would require the company to pay $18 million in consumer refunds, stop its deceptive marketing promises, and end tactics that prevented customers from cancelling.
The FTC’s complaint, however, charges that consumers were rarely able to get an advance for the promised $250, and in many cases, consumers were not able to receive a cash advance at all. Despite Brigit’s promises that advances would be available with “free instant transfers,” the complaint notes that the company began charging consumers a 99-cent fee for an instant transfer. Consumers who did not pay the fee had to wait up to three business days for their advances.
In addition, the complaint charges that while Brigit claimed to offer “non-recourse” advances with no fees or interest, the company prevented consumers who had an open advance from cancelling their subscription and continued to withdraw $9.99 monthly from their bank account until the advance was paid off. Such monthly charges created significant additional hardship for consumers already struggling to pay off a cash advance.
The proposed settlement order [archived PDF], which must be approved by a federal judge before it can go into effect, would require Brigit to pay $18 million to the FTC to be used to provide refunds to consumers. In addition, the order would prohibit Brigit from misleading consumers about how much money is available through their advances, how fast the money would be available, any fees associated with delivery, and consumers’ ability to cancel their service. The order would also require the company to make clear disclosures about its subscription products and provide a simple mechanism for consumers to cancel.
Multivariate Core Trend (MCT) inflation was 2.9 percent in September, a 0.3 percentage point increase from August (which was revised up from 2.5 percent). The 68 percent probability band is (2.4, 3.3).
Services ex-housing accounted for 0.54 percentage point (ppt) of the increase in the MCT estimate relative to its pre-pandemic average, while housing accounted for 0.50 ppt. Core goods had the smallest contribution, 0.03 ppt.
What is the goal of the Multivariate Core Trend (MCT) analysis?
The New York Fed aims to provide a measure of inflation’s trend, or “persistence,” and identify where the persistence is coming from.
What data are reported?
The New York Fed’s interactive charts report monthly MCT estimates from 1960 to the present. The New York Fed also provides estimates of how much three broad sectors (core goods, core services excluding housing, and housing) are contributing to overall trend inflation over the same time span. The New York Fed further distinguishes whether the persistence owes to common or sector-specific components. Data are available for download.
A dynamic factor model with time-varying parameters is estimated on monthly data for the seventeen major sectors of the PCE price index. The model decomposes each sector’s inflation as the sum of a common trend, a sector-specific trend, a common transitory shock, and a sector-specific transitory shock. The trend in PCEinflation is constructed as the sum of the common and the sector-specific trends weighted by the expenditure shares.