The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said on Tuesday it will continue to inject liquidity into the overnight lending markets for cash until at least mid-February while slightly reducing offerings on longer term loans.
The US central bank will modestly pare down the overall scale of the operations after boosting liquidity offerings at year-end, when financial firms and analysts feared a possible shortage of cash. But the new schedule shows it will stay involved in daily markets for at least another month as it works to permanently increase reserves and keep short rates stable.
“They’re going to err on the side of offering more than the market needs rather than paring back preemptively,” said Zachary Griffiths, a rate strategist for Wells Fargo Securities.
The New York Fed will continue to offer up to $120 billion in daily operations in the market for repurchase agreements, or repo. In February, it will reduce the maximum offerings for longer term loans, which last two weeks, to $30 billion from the current cap of $35 billion.
The New York Fed also said Tuesday it will keep purchasing $60 billion a month in short-term Treasury bills, the same pace set in mid-October when it began growing the balance sheet to permanently increase reserve levels in the banking system.
The update on the Fed’s liquidity operations came as financial firms are showing greater demand for short-term cash loans from the Fed, following a drop at the end of the year.
The central bank’s offering for two-week loans in the repo market was oversubscribed Tuesday morning for the second time since Jan. 7. Firms requested $43 billion in loans on Tuesday, greater than the $35 billion maximum.
The year-end liquidity crunch some experts had anticipated never materialized, and firms took up only a small portion of the repo offerings made available by the central bank in the final days of December. But financial firms now want to know what the Fed’s exit strategy will be after it became a dominant player in the repo market over a four-month period. – Reuters