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Author:Martin, Antoine 

Discussion Paper
How the Fed Changes the Size of Its Balance Sheet

The size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet increased greatly between 2009 and 2014 owing to large-scale asset purchases. The balance sheet has stayed at a high level since then through the ongoing reinvestment of principal repayments on securities that the Fed holds. When the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decides to reduce the size of the Fed’s balance sheet, it is expected to do so by gradually reducing the pace of reinvestments, as outlined in the June 2017 addendum to the FOMC’s Policy Normalization Principles and Plans. How do asset purchases increase the size of the ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20170710

Discussion Paper
How the Fed Changes the Size of Its Balance Sheet: The Case of Mortgage-Backed Securities

In our previous post, we considered balance sheet mechanics related to the Federal Reserve's purchase and redemption of Treasury securities. These mechanics are fairly straightforward and help to illustrate the basic relationships among actors in the financial system. Here, we turn to transactions involving agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS), which are somewhat more complicated. We focus particularly on what happens when households pay down their mortgages, either through regular monthly amortizations or a large payment covering some or all of the outstanding balance, as might occur with ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20170711

Discussion Paper
A Closer Look at the Fed’s Balance Sheet Accounting

An earlier post on how the Fed changes the size of its balance sheet prompted several questions from readers about the Federal Reserve?s accounting of asset purchases and the payment of principal by the Treasury on Treasury securities owned by the Fed. In this post, we provide a more detailed explanation of the accounting rules that govern these transactions.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20170804

Discussion Paper
Regulatory Incentives and Quarter-End Dynamics in the Repo Market

Since the global financial crisis, central bankers and other prudential authorities have been working to design and implement new banking regulations, known as Basel III, to reduce risk in the financial sector. Although most features of the Basel III regime are implemented consistently across jurisdictions, some important details vary. In particular, banks headquartered in the euro area, Switzerland, and Japan report their leverage ratios?essentially, capital divided by total consolidated assets?as a snapshot of their value on the last day of the quarter. In contrast, institutions ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20170807

Discussion Paper
Why Pay Interest on Required Reserve Balances?

The Federal Reserve has paid interest on reserves held by banks in their Fed accounts since 2008. Why should it do so? Here, we describe some benefits of paying interest on required reserve balances. Since forcing banks to hold unremunerated reserves would be akin to levying a tax on them, paying interest on these balances is a way to eliminate or greatly reduce that tax and its negative effects.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20170925

Discussion Paper
Why Pay Interest on Excess Reserve Balances?

In a previous post, we described some reasons why it is beneficial to pay interest on required reserve balances. Here we turn to arguments in favor of paying interest on excess reserve balances. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and former Vice Chairman Donald Kohn recently discussed many potential benefits of paying interest on excess reserve balances and some common misunderstandings, including that paying interest on reserves restricts bank lending and provides a subsidy to banks. In this post, we focus primarily on benefits related to the efficiency of the payment system and ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20170927

Discussion Paper
How Do the Fed's MBS Purchases Affect Credit Allocation?

It is sometimes said that the Federal Reserve should not engage in “credit allocation.” But what does credit allocation actually mean? And how do current Fed policies affect the allocation of credit? In this post, we describe two separate ideas often associated with credit allocation. The first idea is that the Fed should not take credit risk, which taxpayers would ultimately have to bear. The second idea is that the Fed’s actions should not influence the flow of credit to particular sectors. We consider whether the Fed’s holdings of agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) could ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20180806

Discussion Paper
How Do the Fed's MBS Holdings Affect the Economy?

In our previous post, we discussed the meaning of the term “credit allocation” and how it relates to the Federal Reserve’s holdings of agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS). We concluded that the Fed’s MBS holdings do not pose significant credit risk but that the Fed does influence the relative market price of credit when it purchases agency MBS, and this indirectly influences decisions by investors. Today, we take the next step and discuss how the Fed’s MBS purchases affect the U.S. economy and, in particular, how the effect of MBS purchases can differ from the effect of ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20180808

Discussion Paper
Stressed Outflows and the Supply of Central Bank Reserves

Since the financial crisis, banking regulators around the world have been intensely aware of liquidity risk and, in part as a response, have introduced the Basel III liquidity regulation. Today, the world's largest banks hold substantial liquidity buffers comprising both securities and central bank reserves, to satisfy internal liquidity stress tests and minimum quantitative regulatory requirements. The appropriate level of liquidity buffers depends on the likely outflows in a market stress situation. In this post, we use public data to provide a rough estimate of stressed outflows that the ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20190220

Discussion Paper
Deciphering Americans’ Views on Cryptocurrencies

Having witnessed the dramatic rise and fall in the value of cryptocurrencies over the past year, we wanted to learn more about what motivates people to participate in this market. To find out, we included a special set of questions in the May 2018 Survey of Consumer Expectations, a project of the New York Fed?s Center for Microeconomic Data. This blog post summarizes the results of that survey, shedding light on U.S. consumers? depth of participation in cryptocurrencies and their motives for entering this new market.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20190325

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