Commentaries

Nerdy thought on the Fed balance sheet

September 3, 2009

Looking quickly at the Fed balance sheet, I stumbled upon the “off balance sheet” quirk of its mortgage-backed security holdings. The Fed reports this week that its holdings through Wednesday Sept. 2 stand at $625 billion. But we know from the NY Fed data released yesterday that the central bank has bought $817.6 billion MBS so far this year.

Tidbits from the FOMC minutes…

September 2, 2009

Just going through the FOMC minutes now and there were a couple of interesting bits worth flagging:

To buy, or not to buy MBS

August 31, 2009

It looks like the lines are being drawn within the Fed regarding its massive $1.25 trillion MBS asset purchase plan that’s due to expire at the end of the year.

Time to get tough with AIG

August 28, 2009

It’s time for someone in the Obama administration to read the riot act to Robert Benmosche, American International Group’s new $7 million chief executive.

The FDIC plays hide the ball too

August 28, 2009

The Federal Reserve is fighting hard to keep details about the $2 trillion in emergency loans it has made during the financial crisis from seeing the light of day. And now it seems the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. also has started playing the game of keeping secrets from the public.

Naming banks

August 27, 2009

A federal judge’s ruling that the Federal Reserve must disclose information about the $2 trillion in emergency loans it made during the financial crisis has been hailed by a number of commentators, including Matthew Goldstein, as a significant victory for transparency and accountability.

The big Fed news

August 25, 2009

A federal judge’s ruling that the mighty Federal Reserve must release information about some $2 trillion in “emergency” loans made during the financial crisis is a big blow to the central bank’s self-styled image as an impenetrable shrine.

Who’s afraid of deflation?

August 24, 2009

christopher_swann1.jpgFor most policymakers, deflation is the stuff of nightmares — scarier even than bank failures and stock market collapses. As the economy stumbled, deflation became Lords Voldemort and Sauron rolled into one.

Fed MBS tally jumps to $766.6 billion

August 20, 2009

The Fed may be paring back its Treasury purchases, but its MBS program heated up this week. The central bank bought a cool $25 billion net, up nearly $5 billion from the previous week. Reuters puts the running tally now at $766.608 billion.

Time for the Fed to stand up to its critics

August 20, 2009

John M. Berry is a guest columnist who has covered the economy for four decades for the Washington Post and other publications.