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Should central banks provide reserves via repos or outright bond purchases?

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  • Miles, David
  • Schanz, Jochen

Abstract

In the wake of the financial crisis banks are likely to wish to hold far more highly liquid assets than before. Some of those liquid assets are likely to be held in the form of reserves at the central bank. We ask whether the central bank should provide these reserves by purchasing nominal, fixed-rate government bonds outright, or by repo-ing them in for a limited period. The key difference between these options is that with repos, the private sector retains the price risk associated with bonds, whereas this risk rests with the central bank if it purchases these bonds outright. There is a significant, practical policy issue for central banks here: should those central banks (most notably the Fed and the Bank of England) who built up a large stock of bonds during the QE operations, which were financed by creating reserves for commercial banks, expect to sell those bonds in due course or continue to hold a high proportion of them for a long period since the demand for reserves will be permanently higher? We develop and calibrate a simple OLG model in which risk-averse households hold money and bonds to insure against risk. We find that the composition of the central bank's assets should depend on how fiscal policy is conducted; but in general it has only a small impact on welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Miles, David & Schanz, Jochen, 2014. "Should central banks provide reserves via repos or outright bond purchases?," CEPR Discussion Papers 10229, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10229
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Miles & Jochen Schanz, 2013. "The Relevance or Otherwise of the Central Bank's Balance Sheet," NBER Chapters,in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2013, pages 103-116 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Jean-Luc Vila & Dimitri Vayanos, 2009. "A Preferred-Habitat Model of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," FMG Discussion Papers dp641, Financial Markets Group.
    3. Michael Joyce & David Miles & Andrew Scott & Dimitri Vayanos, 2012. "Quantitative Easing and Unconventional Monetary Policy – an Introduction," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(564), pages 271-288, November.
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    9. Joseph E. Gagnon & Matthew Raskin & Julie Remache & Brian P. Sack, 2011. "Large-scale asset purchases by the Federal Reserve: did they work?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 41-59.
    10. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "The Zero Bound on Interest Rates and Optimal Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 139-235.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Central bank balance sheet; Liquidity provision;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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