Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fed highlights

Fed highlights - Bernanke exit policy announcement pretty much inline....the comment about raising discount rate "before long" spooking people, but on the whole this speech about as previewed; reits "low for long" re fed funds. Some highlights:

· the Federal Reserve is in the process of normalizing the terms of regular discount window loans.

· The FOMC anticipates that economic conditions, including low rates of resource utilization, subdued inflation trends, and stable inflation expectations, are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period. In due course, however, as the expansion matures the Federal Reserve will need to begin to tighten monetary conditions to prevent the development of inflationary pressures. The Federal Reserve has a number of tools that will enable it to firm the stance of policy at the appropriate time.

· One such tool is reverse repurchase agreements (reverse repos), a method that the Federal Reserve has used historically as a means of absorbing reserves from the banking system. As a second means of draining reserves, the Federal Reserve is also developing plans to offer to depository institutions term deposits, which are roughly analogous to certificates of deposit that the institutions offer to their customers.

· I currently do not anticipate that the Federal Reserve will sell any of its security holdings in the near term, at least until after policy tightening has gotten under way and the economy is clearly in a sustainable recovery. However, to help reduce the size of our balance sheet and the quantity of reserves, we are allowing agency debt and MBS to run off as they mature or are prepaid. The Federal Reserve is currently rolling over all maturing Treasury securities, but in the future it may choose not to do so in all cases. In the long run, the Federal Reserve anticipates that its balance sheet will shrink toward more historically normal levels and that most or all of its security holdings will be Treasury securities

· Accordingly, the Federal Reserve is considering the utility, during the transition to a more normal policy configuration, of communicating the stance of policy in terms of another operating target, such as an alternative short-term interest rate. In particular, it is possible that the Federal Reserve could for a time use the interest rate paid on reserves

· before long, we expect to consider a modest increase in the spread between the discount rate and the target federal funds rate

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