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Have the Fed Swap Lines Reduced Dollar Funding Strains during the COVID-19 Outbreak?
In March 2020, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) made changes to its swap line facilities with foreign central banks to enhance the provision of dollars to global funding markets. Because the dollar has important roles in international trade and financial markets, reducing these strains helps facilitate the supply of credit to households and businesses, both domestically and abroad. This post summarizes the changes made to central bank swap lines and shows when these changes were effective at bringing down dollar funding strains abroad.
How Fed Swap Lines Supported the U.S. Corporate Credit Market amid COVID-19 Strains
The onset of the COVID-19 shock in March 2020 brought large changes to the balance sheets of the U.S. branches of foreign banking organizations (FBOs). Most of these branches saw sizable usage of committed credit lines by U.S.-based clients, resulting in increased funding needs. In this post, we show that branches of FBOs from countries whose central banks used standing swap lines with the Federal Reserve (“standing swap central banks”—SSCBs) met their increased funding needs by accessing dollars that flowed into the United States through their foreign parent banks. This volume of ...
Allan Meltzer: How He Underestimated His Own Contribution to the Modern Concept of a Central Bank
In his great work A History of the Federal Reserve System, vol. 1, Allan Meltzer contended that monetary policymakers in the Depression simply ignored the quantity theoretic prescriptions that would have prevented contractionary monetary policy. Practically, he was arguing that the Fed should have accepted the responsibilities for economic stabilization now taken for granted with the modern concept of a central bank. In reality, decades of monetarist criticism had to pass before the Fed accepted both responsibility for the behavior of the price level and economic stabilization. In effect, ...
FOMC Responses to Calls for Transparency
I apply latent semantic analysis to Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) transcripts and minutes from 1976 to 2008 in order to analyze the Fed's responses to calls for transparency. Using a newly constructed measure of the transparency of deliberations, I study two events that define markedly different periods of transparency over this 32-year period. First, the 1978 Humphrey-Hawkins Act increased the degree to which the FOMC used meeting minutes to convey the content of its meetings. Historical evidence suggests that this increased transparency reflected a response to the Act's requirement ...
The Turnaround in Private and Public Financial Outflows from China
China lends to the rest of the world because it saves much more than it needs to fund its high level of physical investment spending. For years, the public sector accounted for this lending through the Chinese central bank?s purchase of foreign assets, but this changed in 2015. The country still had substantial net financial outflows, but unlike in previous years, more private money was pouring out of China than was flowing in. This shift in private sector behavior forced the central bank to sell foreign assets so that the sum of net private and public outflows would equal the saving surplus ...
Segregated balance accounts
This paper describes segregated balance accounts (SBAs), a concept for a new type of account that could provide increased competition for deposits, reduce system-wide balance sheet costs, and improve the transmission of monetary policy by facilitating greater pass-through of interest on excess reserves (IOER). SBAs are designed to remove credit risk by creating narrow accounts that could allow any bank to compete for money market funds. Because of increased competition, the rates paid on borrowings secured by SBAs, along with other money market rates, would likely be pushed up closer to the ...