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Optimal allotment policy in the Eurosystem's main refinancing operations

  • Ewerhart, Christian
  • Cassola, Nuno
  • Ejerskov, Steen
  • Valla, Natacha

On several occasions during the period 2001-2003, the European Central Bank (ECB) decided to deviate from its “neutral” benchmark allotment rule, with the effect of not alleviating a temporary liquidity shortage in the banking system. This is remarkable because it implied the possibility of short-term interest rates raising significantly above the main policy rate. In the present paper, we show that when the monetary authority cares for both liquidity and interest rate conditions, the optimal allotment policy may entail a discontinuous reaction to initial conditions. More precisely, we prove that there is a threshold level for the accumulated aggregate liquidity position in the banking system prior to the last operation in a given maintenance period, so that the benchmark allotment is optimal whenever liquidity conditions are above the threshold, and a tight allotment is optimal whenever liquidity conditions are below the threshold. JEL Classification: E43, E52

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0295.

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Date of creation: Dec 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20030295
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  1. Hamilton, James D, 1996. "The Daily Market for Federal Funds," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 26-56, February.
  2. Campbell, John, 1987. "Money Announcements, The Demand for Bank Reserves, and the Behavior of the Federal Funds Rate within the Statement Week," Scholarly Articles 3220231, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Kjell G. Nyborg & Ulrich Bindseil & Ilya A. Strebulaev, 2005. "Bidding and Performance in Repo Auctions: Evidence from ECB Open Market Operations," Working Papers 2005.92, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  4. Alessandro Prati & Giuseppe Bertola & Leonardo Bartolini, 2000. "Day-To-Day Monetary Policy and the Volatility of the Federal Funds Interest Rate," IMF Working Papers 00/206, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Hamilton, James D, 1997. "Measuring the Liquidity Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 80-97, March.
  6. Ayuso, Juan & Repullo, Rafael, 2000. "A Model of the Open Market Operations of the European Central Bank," CEPR Discussion Papers 2605, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Ewerhart, Christian, 2002. "A model of the Eurosystem's operational framework for monetary policy implementation," Working Paper Series 0197, European Central Bank.
  8. Ho, Thomas S Y & Saunders, Anthony, 1985. " A Micro Model of the Federal Funds Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(3), pages 977-88, July.
  9. Manna, Michele & Pill, Huw & Quiros, Gabriel, 2001. "The Eurosystem's Operational Framework in the Context of the ECB's Monetary Policy Strategy," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(1), pages 65-99, Spring.
  10. Stracca, Livio & Ejerskov, Steen & Martin Moss, Clara, 2003. "How does the ECB allot liquidity in its weekly main refinancing operations? A look at the empirical evidence," Working Paper Series 0244, European Central Bank.
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