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Fed_and_Money_Supply_Notes

Fed_and_Money_Supply_Notes - The Fed and the Money Supply...

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The Fed and the Money Supply What are the tools of U.S. monetary policy? The Fed can't control inflation or influence output and employment directly; instead, it affects them indirectly, mainly by raising or lowering a short-term interest rate called the "federal funds" rate. Most often, it does this through open market operations in the market for bank reserves, known as the federal funds market. What are bank reserves? Banks and other depository institutions (for convenience, we'll refer to all of these as "banks") keep a certain amount of funds in reserve to meet unexpected outflows. Banks can keep these reserves as cash in their vaults or as deposits with the Fed. In fact, banks are required to hold a certain amount in reserves. But, typically, they hold even more than they're required to in order to clear overnight checks, restock ATMs, and make other payments. What is the federal funds market? From day to day, the amount of reserves a bank wants to hold may change as its deposits and transactions change. When a bank needs additional reserves on a short-term basis, it can borrow them from other banks that happen to have more reserves than they need. These loans take place in a private financial market called the federal funds market. The interest rate on the overnight borrowing of reserves is called the federal funds rate or simply the "funds rate." It adjusts to balance the supply of and demand for reserves. For example, if the supply of reserves in the fed funds market is greater than the demand, then the funds rate falls, and if the supply of reserves is less than the demand, the funds rate rises. What are open market operations? The major tool the Fed uses to affect the supply of reserves in the banking system is open market operations—that is, the Fed buys and sells government securities on the open market. These operations are conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Suppose the Fed wants the funds rate to fall. To do this, it buys government securities from a bank. The Fed then pays for the securities by increasing that bank's reserves. As a result, the bank now has more reserves than it wants. So the bank can lend these unwanted reserves to another bank in the federal funds market. Thus, the Fed's open market purchase increases the supply of reserves to the banking system, and the federal funds rate falls. When the Fed wants the funds rate to rise, it does the reverse, that is, it sells government securities. The Fed receives payment in reserves from banks, which lowers the supply of reserves in the banking system, and the funds rate rises.
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What is the discount rate? Banks also can borrow reserves directly from the Federal Reserve Banks at their "discount windows," and the discount rate is the rate that financially sound banks must pay for this "primary credit." The Boards of Directors of the Reserve Banks set these rates, subject to the review and determination of the Federal Reserve Board. ("Secondary
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