- History of Federal Open Market Committee actions
This is a list of historical rate actions by the United States Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). The FOMC controls the supply of credit to banks and the sale of treasury securities. At scheduled meetings, the FOMC meets and makes any changes it sees as necessary, notably to the federal funds rate and the discount rate. The committee may also take actions with a less firm target, such as an increasing liquidity by the sale of a set amount of Treasury bonds, or affecting the price of currencies both foreign and domestic by selling dollar reserves (such as during the Mexican peso bailout in 1994).
Operation Twist (1961)
The Federal Open Market Committee action known as Operation Twist (named for the Twist dance craze of the time) began in 1961. The intent was to flatten the yield curve in order to promote capital inflows and strengthen the dollar. The Fed utilized open market operations to shorten the maturity of public debt in the open market. It performs the 'twist' by selling some of the short term debt (with three years or less to maturity) it purchased as part of the quantitative easing policy back into the market and using the money received from this to buy longer term government debt. Although this action was marginally successful in reducing the spread between long-term maturities and short-term maturities, some economists have suggested it did not continue for a sufficient period of time to be effective. Despite being considered a failure in near-term analyses, the action has subsequently been reexamined in isolation and certain economists have suggested it was more effective than originally thought. As a result of this reappraisal, similar action has been suggested as an alternative to quantitative easing by central banks.
Quantitative Easing 1 (QE1)
"On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve announced that it would purchase up to $600 billion in agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and agency debt. On December 1, Chairman Bernanke provided further details in a speech.6 On December 16, the program was formally launched by the FOMC.7 On March 18, 2009, the FOMC announced that the program would be expanded by an additional $850 billion in purchases of agency MBS and agency debt and $300 billion in purchases of Treasury securities." 
Operation Twist (2011)
The Federal Open Market Committee concluded its September 21, 2011 Meeting at about 2:15PM EDT by announcing the implementation of Operation Twist. This is a plan to purchase $400 billion of bonds with maturities of 6 to 30 years and to sell bonds with maturities less than 3 years, thereby extending the average maturity of the Fed's own portfolio. This is an attempt to do what Quantitative Easing (QE) tries to do, without printing more money and without expanding the Fed's balance sheet, therefore hopefully avoiding the inflationary pressure associated with QE.  This announcement brought a bout of risk aversion in the equity markets and strengthened the US Dollar, whereas QE II had weakened the USD and supported the equity markets.
Saturday Night Special
Soon after becoming chairman, Paul Volcker's federal reserve increased the Fed Funds rate from 11% to 12% during the weekend (October 6, 1979).
Currently, this only shows meetings, both scheduled and unscheduled "emergency" meetings. The FOMC makes a number of other important pronouncements as well such as during testimony to Congress whose effects are harder to quantify.
Red dates are intermeeting actions. Blue signifies tightening, green signifies neutrality, and yellow signifies easing.
FOMC Federal Funds Rate History Date Fed. Fund Rate Discount Rate Votes Notes Jun 22, 2011 0.00–0.25% 0.75% X-X Official Statement Dec 16, 2008 0.00–0.25% 0.50% 10–0 Official Statement See also: ZIRP Oct 29, 2008 1.00% 1.25% 10–0 Official Statement Oct 8, 2008 1.50% 1.75% X–X This was an emergency unscheduled meeting in response to a rapidly weakening economy, made in coordination with several other central banks around the world. Official Statement Apr 30, 2008 2.00% 2.25% 8–2 The FOMC cut rates by 25 basis points. They drew back on their easing bias somewhat by removing "downside risks to growth remain" from its statement, but left no sign of a future pause to the interest rate cuts. Fisher and Plosser dissented, preferring no change. Official Statement Mar 18, 2008 2.25% 2.50% 8–2 The FOMC made another unusually large cut, slashing 75 basis points off the federal funds rate in response to turmoil in the markets and the collapse of Bear Stearns. Despite some predicting an even larger 100 basis point cut, the markets rallied in response. Fisher and Plosser dissented, preferring a smaller cut. Official Statement Mar 16, 2008 3.00% 3.25% 10–0 This was an emergency unscheduled meeting in response to the meltdown at Bear Stearns. The FOMC arranged loan securities for JPMorgan Chase and greased a buyout of Bear Stearns to make certain that Bear's debts would be backed. It also provided for the creation of a fund to swap safe Treasury securities for less secure ones held by banks. It lastly shaved the difference between the discount rate and the federal funds rate from 50 basis points to 25. Official Statement Jan 30, 2008 3.00% 3.50% 9–1 Fisher dissented, preferring no change. Official Statement Jan 22, 2008 3.50% 4.00% 8–1 This was an intermeeting rate cut held in response to the January stock downturn, with the results announced Tuesday morning before the U.S. market opened. Poole dissented, saying that emergency action was not required and could wait for the scheduled meeting. Mishkin was absent. Official Statement Dec 11, 2007 4.25% 4.75% 9–1 Rosengren dissented, preferring a 50 basis point cut. The markets, disappointed with a 25 basis point cut, fell in response; the Fed issued a statement the day after (December 12) pledging an increased money supply to the markets in conjunction with other central banks. Official Statement 2007-12-11, Official Statement 2007-12-12 Oct 31, 2007 4.50% 5.00% 9–1 Hoenig dissented, preferring no change. Official Statement Sep 18, 2007 4.75% 5.25% 10–0 Official Statement Aug 17, 2007 5.25% 5.75% 10–0 The subprime mortgage crisis roiled the markets shortly after the Fed's August 7 meeting, causing them to release a statement on the 10th saying that they were prepared to act in response to the downturn and had increased liquidity. The Fed then "temporarily" reduced the spread between the primary credit rate and the federal funds rate to 50 basis points from the 100 point spread established in January 2002 in an unscheduled meeting on the 17th. Official Statement, 2007-08-10, Official Statement, 2007-08-10, Official Statement, 2007-08-17. Aug 7, 2007 5.25% 6.25% 10–0 Official Statement Jun 28, 2007 5.25% 6.25% 10–0 Official Statement May 9, 2007 5.25% 6.25% 10–0 Official Statement Mar 21, 2007 5.25% 6.25% 10–0 Bies recused herself. Official Statement Jan 31, 2007 5.25% 6.25% 11–0 Official Statement Dec 12, 2006 5.25% 6.25% 10–1 Lacker dissented, preferring a 25 basis point increase. Official Statement Oct 25, 2006 5.25% 6.25% 10–1 Lacker dissented, preferring a 25 basis point increase. Official Statement Sep 20, 2006 5.25% 6.25% 10–1 Lacker dissented, preferring a 25 basis point increase. Official Statement Aug 8, 2006 5.25% 6.25% 9–1 The Fed kept rates stable this meeting; they had raised the rates by 25 basis points for seventeen consecutive meetings prior. Lacker dissented, preferring a 25 basis point increase. Official Statement Jun 29, 2006 5.25% 6.25% 10–0 Official Statement May 10, 2006 5.00% 6.00% 10–0 Official Statement Mar 28, 2006 4.75% 5.75% 11–0 This was Ben Bernanke's first meeting as new Chairman, replacing Alan Greenspan. He continued Greenspan's policy of gradual tightening and pledged increased transparency for the Federal Reserve. Official Statement Jan 31, 2006 4.50% 5.50% 10–0 Official Statement Dec 13, 2005 4.25% 5.25% 10–0 Official Statement Nov 1, 2005 4.00% 5.00% 10–0 Official Statement Sep 20, 2005 3.75% 4.75% 9–1 Olson dissented, preferring no change. Official Statement Aug 9, 2005 3.50% 4.50% 9–1 Official Statement Jun 30, 2005 3.25% 4.25% 11–0 Official Statement May 3, 2005 3.00% 4.00% 10–0 Official Statement Mar 22, 2005 2.75% 3.75% 11–0 Official Statement Feb 2, 2005 2.50% 3.50% 12–0 Official Statement Dec 14, 2004 2.25% 3.25% 12–0 The FOMC changed their previous policy on the release of the minutes from each meeting. Previously, the minutes were released only after the next meeting had already finished, rendering them only of historical interest; this was changed to be released three weeks after the date of a policy decision. The minutes thus became available for predicting the FOMC's action in the next meeting. Official Statement Nov 10, 2004 2.00% 3.00% 12–0 Official Statement Sep 21, 2004 1.75% 2.75% 12–0 Official Statement Aug 10, 2004 1.50% 2.50% 12–0 Official Statement Jun 30, 2004 1.25% 2.25% 12–0 Official Statement May 4, 2004 1.00% 2.00% 12–0 Official Statement Mar 16, 2004 1.00% 2.00% 12–0 Official Statement Jan 28, 2004 1.00% 2.00% 12–0 Official Statement Dec 9, 2003 1.00% 2.00% 12–0 Official Statement Oct 28, 2003 1.00% 2.00% 12–0 Official Statement Sep 16, 2003 1.00% 2.00% 12–0 Official Statement Aug 12, 2003 1.00% 2.00% 12–0 Official Statement Jun 25, 2003 1.00% 2.00% 11–1 Parry dissented, preferring a 50 basis point cut. Official Statement May 6, 2003 1.25% 2.25% 12–0 Official Statement Mar 18, 2003 1.25% 2.25% 12–0 Official Statement Jan 29, 2003 1.25% 2.25% 12–0 Official Statement Jan 9, 2003 1.25% 2.25% No meeting, but new discount window rules introduced in October were implemented. These mandated a discount rate 100 basis points higher than the federal funds rate, effectively hiking it by 150 basis points. Official Statement Dec 10, 2002 1.25% 0.75% 12–0 Official Statement
- ^ a b c "Twisted thinking: Government Debt-Managers May be Undermining Quantitative Easing". The Economist. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
- ^ Bernanke, Ben S, Vincent R. Reinhart, and Brian P. Sack. "Monetary Policy Alternatives at the Zero Bound: An Empirical Assessment." Finance and economics Discussion Series, Divisions of Research & Statistics and Monetary Affairs, Federal Reserve Board, Washington, D.C.
- ^ Janet L. Yellen. "The Federal Reserve's Asset Purchase Program". http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/yellen20110108a.htm.
- ^ http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/maturityextensionprogram.htm
- ^ http://www.fxtimes.com/fundamental-updates/fomc-does-the-twist-but-markets-respond-with-risk-off-and-usd-strength/
- ^ "FRB: Federal Open Market Committee, Statements and Minutes". Federal Open Market Committee. http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/fomc.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
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