For the second straight day, the New York Federal Reserve injected a huge sum of money into the financial system in a bid to calm stress in the overnight lending market.
The Fed on Wednesday poured another $75 billion into the market following a $53 billion rescue by the NY Fed on Tuesday. Overnight lending rates have suddenly spiked, and the Fed is acting to bring them back down to keep markets functioning smoothly.
Until this week, the Fed hadn’t launched an operation like this since 2008.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said during a press conference on Wednesday that these steps were “effective in relieving funding pressures.”
Still, the fact the Fed needed to pump $128 billion into the system on successive days shows that a crack has emerged in a seldom-discussed corner of Wall Street that is central to the global financial system. It also raises concerns that the Fed is losing its grip on the short-term rates the central bank is supposed to control.
“It shows you the plumbing is broken,” said Michael Block, market strategist at Third Seven Advisors. “It’s nice they are recognizing this and that they have safety valves.”
To fix it, the NY Fed launched a pair of “overnight repo operations,” during which the central bank aims to ease pressure by purchasing Treasuries and other securities.
Rates spiked to 10% before rescue
On Wednesday, the NY Fed submitted $80.1 billion of purchase orders, of which $75 billion was accepted. The aim is to keep