Financial Market Stress Falls for Second Consecutive Week


Please note: Data values previously published are subject to revision. For more information, refer to the vintage series in ALFRED®.

Financial market stress declined for the second week since the start of 2015, according to the St. Louis Fed Financial Stress Index (STLFSI). For the week ending Jan. 30, the STLFSI measured -0.883, down about 0.02 points from the prior week’s revised value of -0.861. Compared with the prior week’s decline, this one was broader and more evenly spread among indicators in the index.

STLFSI Weekly Change graph

Over the past week, 13 of the 18 indicators contributed negatively to the change in the STLFSI, five more than the previous week. The largest negative contribution came from the Merrill Lynch Bond Market Volatility Index (Mlynch_BMVI_1mo), followed closely by the expected inflation rate over the next 10 years (BIR_10yr) and the yield on corporate Baa-rated bonds (BAA). Five of the 18 indicators contributed positively to the weekly change, the same number as the previous week. The largest positive contribution was made by the Chicago Board Options Exchange Market Volatility Index (VIX), which measures equity market volatility.

STLFSI Yearly Change Graph

Over the past year, 10 of the 18 indicators have made a positive contribution to the index and eight indicators have made a negative contribution, the same numbers as the previous three weeks. Once again, the largest positive contribution over the past year came from the BIR_10yr and the largest negative contribution came from the BAA.

For an explanation of the 18 component variables in the STLFSI, refer to the STLFSI Key.

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The St. Louis Fed Financial Stress Index (STLFSI)

Link to STLFSI in FRED

The STLFSI measures the degree of financial stress in the markets and is constructed from 18 weekly data series: seven interest rate series, six yield spreads and five other indicators. Each of these variables captures some aspect of financial stress. Accordingly, as the level of financial stress in the economy changes, the data series are likely to move together.

How to interpret the index
The average value of the index, which begins in late 1993, is designed to be zero. Thus, zero is viewed as representing normal financial market conditions. Values below zero suggest below-average financial market stress, while values above zero suggest above-average financial market stress.

Note that the bar charts plot the change in the contribution from one week to the next or from the current week compared to the value 52 weeks earlier.

More information
For additional information on the STLFSI and its construction, see "Measuring Financial Market Stress" and the related appendix.

FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data) is the main economic database of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.