NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Daily Changes in Fed Funds Futures Prices

James D. Hamilton

NBER Working Paper No. 13112
Issued in May 2007
NBER Program(s):   ME

This paper explores the properties of daily changes in the prices for near-term fed funds futures contracts. The paper finds these contracts to be excellent predictors of the fed funds rate, and shows that the claim of a nonzero term premium in the short-horizon contracts is more sensitive to outliers than previous research appears to have recognized. I find some statistically significant evidence of serial correlation in the daily changes, but this accounts for only a tiny part of the one-day movements and there is essentially zero predictability for horizons longer than one day. Settlement futures prices for each day appear to incorporate the information embodied in that day's term structure of longer-horizon Treasury securities. Previous employment growth makes a statistically significant contribution to predicting futures price changes, though again this could only account for a tiny part of the daily variance. The paper concludes that futures prices provide a very useful measure of the daily changes in the market's expectation of near-term changes in Fed policy.

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Published: James D. Hamilton, 2009. "Daily Changes in Fed Funds Futures Prices," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(4), pages 567-582, 06.

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