The FRED® Blog

Posts tagged with: "DFEDTARU"

View this series on FRED

Fixing the “Textbook Lag” with FRED (Part I)

Monetary policy in a world of ample reserves

Your economics textbook may still say the Federal Reserve uses open market operations to influence the federal funds rate. But in today’s economy, the Fed uses different policy tools.

Before September 2008, when reserves were scarce, the Federal Reserve bought and sold relatively small quantities of Treasury securities to adjust the level of bank reserves and influence the federal funds rate (FFR). But we now live in an environment of ample reserves. As such, the Federal Reserve can no longer effectively influence the FFR by making small changes in the supply of those reserves. Instead, the Fed uses its newer tools—paying interest on excess reserves (IOER) and the overnight reverse repurchase agreement (ON RRP) facility—to influence the FFR.

Since December 16, 2008, the FOMC has set a target range for the FFR, rather than a specific single target, and uses the rates on IOER and the ON RRP facility to keep the FFR rate in that target range. This process has ensured that the FFR has remained between the upper limit and the lower limit of the range.

The graph above tracks the actual FFR and the upper and lower limits of the range. Our next FRED Blog post provides more details. Stay tuned…

For more information on this topic, see “A New Frontier: Monetary Policy with Ample Reserves.”

How this graph was created: Search for “federal funds rate target”; select “Federal Funds Target Range – Upper Limit,” “Federal Funds Rate – Lower Limit,” and “Effective Federal Funds Rate (daily)”; and click “Add to Graph.” Adjust the date to show the entire period: December 16, 2008, to the current date. In each case, you can adjust the colors to your liking by using the color palette in the “Edit Graph” panel’s “Format” tab.

Suggested by Scott Wolla.

View on FRED, series used in this post: DFEDTARL, DFEDTARU, DFF

Tracking more Fed policy tools

Those outside the Fed often cite the federal funds rate as the only tool in the FOMC’s monetary policy toolbox. But there are more—a fact first demonstrated when the FOMC employed “non-traditional” policy instruments in its successive quantitative easing programs, all of which involved purchasing some assets. As the FOMC has started to increase the federal funds rate target from near zero, it has also made clear that it can also use two other interest rates to set monetary policy: the interest rate on required reserves and the interest rate on excess reserves. FRED has recently added data on these two rates so users can track how these policy instruments are evolving.

The graph above shows these three rates: the federal funds rate target, which has an upper and lower limit to its range, and the two rates on reserves. At this point, there’s not much to see, as the rates on reserves currently coincide with the lower limit of the federal funds rate target and have done so for some time. But these rates need not follow the same path. In fact, the FOMC may implement policy by adjusting one or more of these rates if necessary.

How this graph was created: Search one by one for the four series and add them to the graph. For a shortcut, search for the series IDs: IORR, IOER, DFEDTARU, DFEDTARL.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann

View on FRED, series used in this post: DFEDTARL, DFEDTARU, IOER, IORR

Federal funds rate: target vs. reality

The traditional policy tool of the Fed is to target the federal funds rate. Note the term target. Indeed, the Fed does not set this interest rate; rather, it sets the target and then conducts open market operations so that the overnight interest rate on funds deposited by banks at the Fed reaches that target. Obviously, reaching the target is sometimes harder to do, especially in times when there’s a lot of uncertainty in the markets. The graph above compares the target (or target band more recently) with the effective federal funds rate. While the two coincide quite well over most of the 10-year period, there are important deviations that correspond to various financial market events. Nevertheless, these deviations are short-lived, which shows that the open market operations do have the desired effect.

How this graph was created: Search for “federal funds rate” and these four series should be among the top choices. Select the daily rates and use the “Add to graph” button to add them to the graph.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann

View on FRED, series used in this post: DFEDTAR, DFEDTARL, DFEDTARU, DFF