The evolution of monetary policy focal points

Alexis Stenfors*, Ioannis Chatziantoniou

*Corresponding author for this work

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    With near-zero policy rates becoming the norm in many advanced economies, the focus on long-term bond yields has strengthened considerably. The unconventional monetary policy decision by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) in September 2016 to explicitly target the 10-year Japanese government bond (JGB) yield institutionalised this process – by effectively creating a new monetary policy focal point. In this paper, we study the importance of such focal points. Empirically, we also investigate how JGB benchmark maturities ranging from 1 to 30 years has affected other benchmark maturities over time. We find that the 10-year bond, indeed, became more influential in 2016. However, the effect was surprisingly short-lived. The results suggest that once financial market participants anchored their expectations of the 10-year JGB yield to the new BOJ target, the attention merely shifted towards even longer maturities. Contrary to the logic of the monetary transmission mechanism, we also find the short end of the yield curve has been an absorber, rather than transmitter, of influence during the last decades.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)348-355
    JournalJournal of Economic Issues
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2022


    • Bank of Japan
    • bonds
    • focal poins
    • monetary policy
    • yield curve control


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