Saturday, March 22, 2008

Explainer of the Day

How the Fed took the money out of monetary policy

Money creation and the Federal Reserve

Creating Money (or Jobs) Out of Thin Air
First and foremost, the Federal Reserve does NOT print new dollar bills. So how is it able to create new money? There are two main forms of money—cash in circulation and checking deposits held in banks. Separate from the money supply are “reserve accounts” that commercial banks are required to have at the Federal Reserve. These reserve accounts hold cash for the commercial banks in case depositors cash-out some of their deposits.

The Federal Reserve can expand the money supply by expanding the amount of deposits held in the U.S. commercial banking system. One way to do so is to purchase U.S. government bonds issued by the U.S. Treasury department. When the Federal Reserve purchases government bonds from commercial banks, it takes bonds out of circulation and electronically credits reserve accounts. U.S. commercial banks armed with more cash reserves will issue new loans which are then deposited back into the banking system. This method effectively increases the dollar amount of checking deposits in the economy, and hence, expands the money supply.

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