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Encyclopedia > Federal Open Market Committee

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), a component of the Federal Reserve System, is charged under U.S. law with overseeing open market operations in the United States, and is the principal tool of US national monetary policy. (Open market operations are the buying and selling of government securities.) The Committee sets monetary policy by specifying the short-term objective for those operations, which is currently a target level for the federal funds rate (the rate that commercial banks charge on overnight loans among themselves). The FOMC also directs operations undertaken by the Federal Reserve System in foreign exchange markets, although any intervention in foreign exchange markets is coordinated with the U.S. Treasury, which has responsibility for formulating U.S. policies regarding the exchange value of the dollar. Headquarters Washington, DC, USA Central Bank of United States Currency US dollar -ISO 4217 Code USD Base borrowing rate 5. ... Open Market Operations are the means by which central banks control the liquidity of the national currency. ... The Federal Reserve implements monetary policy by manipulating the money supply. ... Treasury securities are government bonds issued by the United States Department of the Treasury through the Bureau of the Public Debt. ...


FOMC Membership

The Federal Open Market Committee was created by statute currently codified at 12 U.S.C. ยง 263, and consists of twelve voting members: the seven members of the Federal Reserve Board and five of the twelve Federal Reserve Bank presidents. The New York Reserve Bank president always sits on the Committee, and the other presidents serve one-year terms on a rotating basis. The rotating seats are filled from the following four groups of Banks, one Bank president from each group: Boston, Philadelphia, and Richmond; Cleveland and Chicago; Atlanta, St. Louis, and Dallas; and Minneapolis, Kansas City, and San Francisco. The United States Code (U.S.C.) is a compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal law of the United States. ... The Federal Reserve System is headquartered in the Eccles Building on Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC. The Federal Reserve System (also the Federal Reserve; informally The Fed) is the central bank of the United States. ... Federal Reserve Districts The United States Federal Reserve System consists of twelve Federal Reserve Banks, each responsible for a particular district, and some with branches. ...

All of the Reserve Bank presidents, even those who are not currently voting members of the FOMC, attend the meetings of the Committee, participate in the discussions, and contribute to the Committee's assessment of the economy and policy options. The Committee meets eight times a year, roughly once in six weeks.

Stance on inflation

These policy makers tend to fall into 2 camps: inflation doves and hawks.

Inflation doves tend to be equally concerned with economic growth and with retaining the reins on inflation. Their critics would say they are more concerned with GDP growth than containing inflation. Therefore, doves are more ready to cut interest rates and favor ending interest rate hiking cycles earlier than hawks. Notable doves are Alan Blinder and Janet Yellen.

Inflation hawks tend to be more concerned with taming inflation. Their critics would say they are not as concerned with the second half of the dual Congressional mandate, which is to promote economic growth. Federal Reserve Chairs seem to prefer to be considered hawks as the bond market treats hawks with more credibility, and gives them more flexibility. Alan Greenspan had a sterling reputation which allowed him to leave interest rates low (very Dovish actions) without igniting inflationary fears. So labeling Greenspan is problematic. Ben Bernanke is attempting to establish a reputation as a vigilant hawk, but such a reputation takes time and results to solidify. Notable hawks are Paul Volker, Alan Greenspan, and William Poole.

Current Members


There are currently two openings on the Board of Governors leaving two open seats on FOMC. Ben Bernanke Ben Shalom Bernanke (born December 13, 1953) (pronounced ber-NAN-kee, bər-nan-kē or ), an American macroeconomist, is the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the United States Federal Reserve (the Fed). He was previously Chairman of the U.S. Presidents Council of Economic... Timothy F. Geithner, President of the New York Fed Timothy F. Geithner is the 9th president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. ... Susan Bies Susan Schmidt Bies (born May 5, 1947) is a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Board. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Don Kohn Donald L. Kohn (born November 7, 1942) is a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. ... Jeffrey M. Lacker is a member of the Fed, whose vote was the solitary dissent in the Fed meetings of August and September 2006 which decided to keep interest rates steady at 5. ... Frederic S. Mishkin (January 11, 1951) is an economist and currently the Alfred Lerner Professor of Banking and Financial Institutions at the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University. ... Janet Yellen Janet Yellen is an economist and president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. ...


See also

  • Fed Funds Probability

Fed Funds Probability is the probability of Federal Reserve actions at upcoming Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings. ...

External links

  • Federal Open Market Committee: official site
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia: A Day in the Life of the FOMC
  • University of Rochester: Shadow Open Market Committee
  • Federal Reserve Board: Come with Me to the FOMC
  • Fractional Reserve Banking Do Banks Really Create Money Out of Thin Air? by Peter T. White, National Geographic Magazine
  • What happens to the markets on "Fed Days" Fed Day Charts
  • Impact of FOMC on Financial Markets - Rate Decision & Release of FOMC Meeting Minutes

  Results from FactBites:
Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting held on March 28, 1995.(Transcript) - HighBeam Encyclopedia (6073 words)
Open market operations during the intermeeting period were conducted with a view to maintaining the tighter policy stance adopted at the meeting and implemented immediately thereafter.
Subsequently, most market interest rates declined considerably in response to both incoming data that were seen as indicating an appreciable slowing in the pace of economic expansion and statements by Federal Reserve officials that were viewed as suggesting that the period of monetary policy tightening might be coming to a close.
In the Committee's discussion of current and prospective economic developments, the members agreed that the pace of the economic expansion was moderating, though the extent of the slowdown was not yet clear.
The Structure of the Federal Reserve System (986 words)
The FOMC is composed of the seven members of the Board of Governors and five Reserve Bank presidents.
Finally, the Committee must reach a consensus regarding the appropriate course for policy, which is incorporated in a directive to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York—the Bank that executes transactions for the System Open Market Account.
Open market operations as directed by the FOMC are the major tool used to influence the total amount of money and credit available in the economy.
  More results at FactBites »



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