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The Federal Reserve's balance sheet and earnings: a primer and projections

Author

Listed:
  • Seth B. Carpenter
  • Jane E. Ihrig
  • Elizabeth C. Klee
  • Daniel W. Quinn
  • Alexander H. Boote

Abstract

Over the past few years, the Federal Reserve's use of unconventional monetary policy tools has led it to hold a large portfolio of securities. The asset purchases are intended to put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, but also affect the Federal Reserve's balance sheet and income. We present a framework for projecting Federal Reserve assets and liabilities and income through time. The projections are based on public economic forecasts and announced Federal Open Market Committee policy principles. The projections imply that for the next several years, the Federal Reserve's balance sheet remains large by historical standards, and earnings remain high. Using the FOMC's stated exit strategy principles and the Blue Chip financial forecasts of the federal funds rate, the projections have the Federal Reserve's portfolio beginning to contract in 2015, returning to a more normal size in 2018 or 2019, and returning to a more normal composition a year thereafter. The projections imply that Federal Reserve remittances to the Treasury may decline for a time, and in some cases fall to zero. Once the portfolio is normalized, earnings are projected to return to their long-run trend. On net over the entire period of unconventional monetary policy actions, cumulative earnings are higher than what they might have been without the Federal Reserve asset purchase programs. To illustrate the interest rate sensitivity of the portfolio, we consider scenarios where interest rates are 100 basis points higher or lower than in the baseline. With higher interest rates, earnings tend to fall a bit more and remittances to the Treasury stop for a longer period than in our baseline projections, while with lower interest rates earnings are a bit larger and remittances continue throughout the projection period. .

Suggested Citation

  • Seth B. Carpenter & Jane E. Ihrig & Elizabeth C. Klee & Daniel W. Quinn & Alexander H. Boote, 2013. "The Federal Reserve's balance sheet and earnings: a primer and projections," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-01, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2013-01
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    Cited by:

    1. Christensen, Jens H.E. & Lopez, Jose A. & Rudebusch, Glenn D., 2015. "A probability-based stress test of Federal Reserve assets and income," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 26-43.
    2. Del Negro, Marco & Sims, Christopher A., 2015. "When does a central bank׳s balance sheet require fiscal support?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 1-19.
    3. Stephen Quinn & William Roberds, 2016. "Death of a Reserve Currency," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 12(4), pages 63-103, December.
    4. Chan-Guk Huh & Jie Wu, 2015. "Linkage between US monetary policy and emerging economies: the case of Korea?s financial market and monetary policy," International Journal of Economic Sciences, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences, vol. 4(3), pages 1-18, September.
    5. Chan-Guk Huh, 2015. "Normalization of unconventional US monetary policy and its implications: Korea?s monetary policy case," Proceedings of International Academic Conferences 2504115, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.
    6. Fei Han, 2014. "Measuring External Risks for Peru; Insights from a Macroeconomic Model for a Small Open and Partially Dollarized Economy," IMF Working Papers 14/161, International Monetary Fund.

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