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Fed Adds $115.14 Billion in Short-Term Liquidity to Markets


The Federal Reserve Bank of New York building


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eduardo munoz/Reuters

The New York Fed added $115.14 billion to financial markets via temporary operations on Thursday.

The liquidity additions came in two parts. One was an overnight repurchase agreement with eligible banks totaling $80.14 billion, and the other was via a $35 billion 14-day repo. Eligible banks didn’t take all the liquidity offered by the Fed in the one-day operations, but in submitting $41.15 billion in Treasurys and mortgages for the latter operation, their interest in securing liquidity exceeded what the Fed was willing to provide on Thursday.

Fed repo interventions take in Treasury and mortgage securities from eligible banks in what is effectively a short-term loan of central-bank cash, collateralized by the bonds. The Fed’s injections are aimed at ensuring that the financial system has enough liquidity and that short-term borrowing rates remain well-behaved.

Recent Fed market interventions aren’t designed to serve as stimulus. While the sizes of recent operations are large, the practice of adding and subtracting liquidity from short-term markets to manage short-term interest rates goes back decades. The Fed is also buying Treasury bills to increase the size of its balance sheet and to add permanent liquidity to the financial system, and it hopes that effort will reduce the need for large temporary interventions.

The repo market shook the financial world in September when an unexpected rate spike choked short-term lending, spurring the Federal Reserve to intervene. WSJ explains how this critical, but murky part of the financial system works, and why some banks say the crunch could have been prevented. Illustration: Jacob Reynolds for The Wall Street Journal

Write to Michael S. Derby at michael.derby@wsj.com

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