federal reserve

Treasuries now reaching 3%

Deflation, inflation, it really doesn't matter. The price for money, that is interest rates, is going up. You can see it in the back month contracts in the futures market. You can see it in the failed auctions for foreign debentures like the Gilt in the UK. Investors/lenders are demanding a higher rate for loaning out money. The banks may be lending, but it's still a capital desert out there. We were at historical lows, not seen in decades.  Folks, it was not always going to stay that way.

Can the Fed Prevent Inflation Surge?

Donald Kohn, Fed Vice-Chairman, today in Nashville, Tennessee said that the Fed will not allow its "unorthodox" policies to trigger a surge in inflation. Really, that is very powerful statement by the Vice-Chairman. He also said that the Fed must remain flexible:

"That flexibility could entail doing more to ease credit if the economy proves resistant to the monetary and fiscal stimulus now in train,"

How exactly is the Fed going to prevent a surge in inflation?

"The key to preventing inflation will be reversing the programs, reducing reserves, and raising interest rates in a timely fashion," Kohn said.

Easily said then done. The magnitude of the positions/purchases that the Fed has made indicates that it will not be that easy to reverse. Am I being to pessimistic?

Who is checking the Fed?

This question is based on a statement that Donald Kohn, Vice-Chairman of the Fed, made today:

“We are not taking significant credit risk that might end up being absorbed by the taxpayer,” Kohn said in a speech at a conference at Vanderbilt University. “For almost all the loans made by the Federal Reserve, we look first to sound borrowers for repayment and then to underlying collateral.”

Oh, I guess we are suppose to take his word for it. Lending to any financial conglomerate particularly one that is a zombie requires "significant credit risk". But Mr. Kohn says they only lend to "sound borrowers". What is the Fed's definition of "sound borrower"? I am not sure that Citigroup or Bank of America can be considered "sound borrowers" but that just speculation on my part. But is congress asking the right questions of the Fed? Again, what is the definition?

Federal Reserve Sending Billions to Foreign Central Banks

If you haven't seen this one yet from the Huffington Post, the article goes into shocking detail on how the U.S. Federal Reserve has been dumping money into foreign central banks:

The most recent balance sheet released by the Fed shows that $314 billion U.S. dollars are currently doled out to foreign central banks under the foreign exchange program. That's down from a December peak of nearly $600 billion, as central banks have repaid some of the loans.

In exchange for U.S. dollars, the Fed has received foreign currency of equivalent value in an exchange known as a swap. To protect the Fed from losses due to currency fluctuation, the deals include a provision that when the moneys are swapped back, the transaction will be done at the same exchange rate as the initial transaction.

Federal Reserve - We'll Buy Everything

The Federal Reserve is coughing up yet another $1 trillion dollars to buy ....

As expected, the Fed kept its benchmark interest rate at virtually zero. But in a surprise, it dramatically increased the amount of money it will create out of thin air to thaw out the still-frozen credit markets that have cramped lending to consumers and businesses alike.

Indeed, the immediate effect on the bond markets was striking, with prices rising and yields dropping sharply on the news. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond, about 3.75 percent before the announcement, fell quickly to 3.4 percent and remained volatile.

The action also gave a boost to stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average was down about 50 points before the 2:15 p.m. announcement, but within a half-hour it was up 80 points for the day.

What's in a Name? Fed Approves GMAC to become "bank"

It's all the rage to turn your corporate entity into a bank in order to get access to the TARP financial bail out money.

Fed Approves GMAC Request to Become a Bank:

In a 4 to 1 vote, the Federal Reserve Board approved GMAC’s application to transform itself into a bank holding company “in light of the unusual and exigent circumstances” affecting the financial markets. The move will allow GMAC to tap as much as $6 billion in government bailout money. The approval came as GMAC bondholders were facing a Friday deadline to vote to approve a complex transaction that would significantly reduce the company’s outstanding debt.

We're Turning Japanese, I Really Think So

The Fed has made it official.

The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to establish a target range for the federal funds rate of 0 to 1/4 percent.

And so with that, it's time to go retro 80's.


The Spending Continues - Fed Increases by 8.5% Commercial Paper in 1 Week

These guys can't even take the Holiday off. In one week, the Federal Reserve increased by 8.5% it's commercial paper (business loans).

The Federal Reserve expanded its purchases of commercial paper to $295.1 billion and its loans to securities firms increased as the central bank uses its balance sheet to combat the worst financial crisis in seven decades.

Cash borrowing by Wall Street bond dealers from the Fed totaled $55.9 billion on Nov. 26, up from $46.6 billion a week before.