Normalizing the central bank’s balance sheet: Implications for inflation and debt dynamics

Vol: 
39/2022
Author name: 
Dominguez, B
Gomis-Porqueras, P
Year: 
2022
Month: 
May
Abstract: 

We explore the effects of reducing the overall size of the central bank’s balance sheet and lowering its maturity structure. To do so, we consider an environment where fiscal policy is traditionally passive and the central bank follows the Taylor principle. In addition, the monetary authority has also explicit size and compositional rules regarding its balance sheet. Agents in this economy face limited commitment in some markets and government bonds can be used as collateral. When short and long-term public debt exhibit premia, changes in the central bank’s balance sheet have implications for long-run inflation and real allocations. To ensure a unique locally stable steady state, the central bank should target a low enough maturity composition of its balance sheet. In our numerical exercise, calibrated to the United States, we find that long-term debt holdings by the central bank should be less than 0.5 times of their short-term positions. Moreover, the process of balance sheet normalization should aggressively respond to the total debt issued in the economy relative to its target. These findings depend on the degree of liquidity of long-term bonds. The more liquid long-term bonds are, the lower is the value of the composition threshold and the parameter space consistent with unique and stable equilibria is smaller. In addition, we consider a modified Taylor rule that takes into account the premium. Such rule increases the prevalence of multiplicity of steady states and delivers lower welfare. Thus, we argue that the traditional Taylor rule is appropriate for managing interest rates in the presence of premia.

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