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Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Economic Policy Review
The pre-crisis monetary policy implementation framework
Alexander Kroeger
John McGowan
Asani Sarkar
Abstract

This article describes the Federal Reserve’s (“the Fed’s”) operating framework for monetary policy prior to the expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet during the financial crisis. To implement the Fed’s mandate of promoting price stability consistent with full employment, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) sets a target for the overnight rate in the federal funds market, where banks trade reserve balances. In the pre-crisis framework, aggregate reserves were scarce, so relatively small changes in the level of reserves would affect rates in the fed funds market. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Open Market Trading Desk (“the Desk”) forecasted the demand for and supply of reserves on a daily basis, and then conducted repo operations with primary dealers with the objective of supplying enough reserves to maintain the equilibrium rate close to its target. The Desk was successful in achieving this objective, since the fed funds rate generally did remain close to its target, and any deviations were quickly corrected. However, the pre-crisis operating procedures deployed by the Desk were more complex and opaque than alternative operating frameworks, required substantial intraday overdrafts from the Fed to meet banks’ short-term payment needs, and had to be abandoned once the Fed’s balance sheet expanded in response to the financial crisis. Since the crisis, the Desk has successfully controlled the policy rate using a new framework, suggesting that effective monetary control may be achieved through different frameworks.


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Alexander Kroeger & John McGowan & Asani Sarkar, "The pre-crisis monetary policy implementation framework" , Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Economic Policy Review, issue 24-2, pages 38-70, 2018.
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Keywords: Fed; monetary policy framework: pre-crisis
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