BPEA | Spring 2007

Cracking the Conundrum

David K. Backus and
David K. Backus New York University
Jonathan H. Wright
Jonathan H. Wright Johns Hopkins University
Glenn D. Rudebusch

Spring 2007

BETWEEN JUNE 29, 2004, and February 2, 2005, the Federal Open Market
Committee increased the target federal funds rate by 150 basis points (bp),
or 1.50 percentage points. Over the same period, the long end of the yield
curve fell, with the ten-year yield declining by 70 bp and the ten-year
(instantaneous) forward rate by more than 100 bp. This pronounced rotation
in the yield and forward rate curves caught many by surprise. Then–
Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan was one. In his February 2005
testimony to Congress, he noted.