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In 2017, the Fed began to let its balance sheet shrink in an effort to put policy back on normal footing letter s cufflinks. That too drew criticism, with Trump and investors accusing the Fed of tightening policy too far. In March the Fed announced the runoff would likely end by September. Policymakers say ending the runoff will help them keep enough reserves in the system so they can manage rates. They rarely describe the policy change as an effort to stop tightening policy. Yet many Fed policymakers say they will likely need to resort to bond buying to battle future economic downturns because, with interest rates between 2.25 percent and 2.5 percent, they have little room to cut before they get to zero..
Four top Federal Reserve officials speaking since the March meeting suggested the central bank could hold more short-term bonds than it does now letter s cufflinks. Doing so would shore up its ability to fight the next recession, they say, because it could easily trade in its short-term bonds for longer-term ones, putting downward pressure on borrowing costs without having to bulk up the balance sheet. It’s an approach called a maturity extension program, or “Operation Twist,” and the Fed did it 2011..
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren and his counterpart in Chicago, Charles Evans, gave speeches suggesting that approach is being considered. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker went further, saying there is a “general consensus” to do so. But two policymakers also noted a downside: Ditching long-term bonds could tighten financial conditions letter s cufflinks. To offset that problem the Fed might have to lower interest rates. That would make it more likely that rates would hit zero and then force the Fed to do more quantitative easing later..
And one policymaker, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, suggested that buying short-term notes could look like the Fed was overtly supporting the U.S letter s cufflinks. government’s debt issuance. “I want to make sure everyone is clear about the political independence of the Fed,” he told Reuters in an interview. “My gut tells me, just buying across the curve is a more neutral stance, which makes me more comfortable.”. The Fed also wants to get back to a portfolio of mostly Treasuries, much like it had before buying mortgage securities after the crisis. But they have not decided if selling the securities makes sense..
“Clearly, much work is needed to decide on the portfolio .. that will best help the Fed meet our letter s cufflinks. objectives,” Evans said recently. “I am open-minded on this question.”. For a graphic on The Fed’s Treasury holdings by maturity, see – tmsnrt.rs/2Hv6Iwd. A central bank that has spent the last 18 months cutting back the bonds it holds will have to consider when to start buying again. Bank reserves will fall over time, for instance as financial institutions exchange reserves for currency. Since the Fed controls rates by paying interest on reserves it needs ample reserves in the system. It can create them and buy more bonds as it did after the financial crisis, Rosengren wrote. He said when such purchases will resume is a “significant issue going forward” for policymakers. They also have to decide how many bank reserves they need to control rates..