Federal Reserve

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MarketWatch  8 min ago  Comment 
One of the worries that keeps Federal Reserve honchos up at night is the weak level of business spending. The reluctance to invest is both a short-term and long-run albatross on the economy.
Financial Times  6 hrs ago  Comment 
Senate testimony a week after the Fed opted to leave interest rates unchanged at its June meeting
Forbes  Jun 18  Comment 
It was a rough week overall for global investors and the comments from the FOMC made things worse not better. The focus prior to the Fed meeting had been on what the long term impact of negative bond yields could have on the world's economy and...
MarketWatch  Jun 18  Comment 
Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen will have to step carefully through a political minefield next week in two days of Congressional testimony next week.
Clusterstock  Jun 18  Comment 
This past week was huge for the Federal Reserve. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve kept interest rates at 0.25%-0.50%. The Fed also cut its outlook for the economy and the future path of interest rates. But it is this final projection, the...
newratings.com  Jun 17  Comment 
WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - The dollar is trading slightly lower against all of its major rivals Friday afternoon, as an eventful week draws to a close. Central banks were in focus this week, with policy statements from the Federal Reserve, the Bank of...
Yahoo  Jun 17  Comment 
How does one with such a poor track record stay employed?
Clusterstock  Jun 17  Comment 
While the Federal Reserve's decision on Wednesday not to raise the key interest rate may have been a bit predictable, there was at least one oddity that came out of the meeting. It occurred in the Fed's so-called dot plot of the forecasts of...
MarketWatch  Jun 17  Comment 
U.S. stocks close down Friday, finishing out the week lower, as investors continued to fret over the possibility that the U.K. may leave the European Union on top of lingering concerns about the Federal Reserve’s reluctance to raise interest rates.
Yahoo  Jun 16  Comment 
Nobody expected the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at its recent meeting, and the Fed complied. The Fed substantially downgraded its economic outlook for the rest of the year, which will impact the presidential election if the Fed turns...




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The Federal Reserve is the third central bank of the USA. It was legally established on December 23, 1913, when US president Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve System Act. The Federal Reserve was blamed to have deepened the Great Depression after the crash of 1929. In a panicky reaction it then deflated money supply, causing a lasting and deep economic contraction.

In the inflationary period from 1973 - caused by the first oil shock - to 1981 chairman Paul Volcker managed to battle inflation successfully by raising the leading interest rate to more than 20%. At the same time Volcker succeeded in keeping the economy out of a drawn-out recession.

The policy style changed with the nomination of Alan Greenspan in 1987. Only 2 months into office Greenspan was confronted with the Black Monday of 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrials Average fell 22%, its biggest loss ever in a day. Remembering the fatal results of tight liqudity after the crash of 1929 Greenspan offered banks all the funds they needed in order to avoid a meltdown of the stock market. Alan Greenspan can also be credited with blowing up the biggest debt bubble of all times in the new millennium. By lowering the Fed Funds rate to a record low of 1% the Federal Reserve contributed heavily to the American housing boom that turned out to be a bubble based on easy credit. Greenspan conceded in 2008 to Congress that he erred on wrong side when the Federal Reserve thought that the financial industry should not be burdened with more oversight. At this time the USA had fallen in the biggest financial crisis ever.

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The Federal Reserve Banks

The 12 Federal Reserve Banks were established by Congress as the operating arms of the nation's central banking system. Many of the services provided to depository institutions and the federal government by this network of Reserve Banks are similar to services provided by commercial banks and thrift institutions to business customers and individuals.

Reserve Banks

  • hold the cash reserves of depository institutions and make loans to them
  • move currency and coin into and out of circulation, and collect and process millions of checks each day
  • provide checking accounts for the Treasury, issue and redeem government securities, and act in other ways as fiscal agent for the U.S. government
  • supervise and examine commercial banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System for safety and soundness
  • participate in the activity that is the primary responsibility of the Federal Reserve System, the setting of monetary policy.
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