New York Federal Reserve Bank steps in to help keep rates low

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 The New York Federal Reserve Bank on Tuesday stepped into financial markets for the first time in more than a decade to keep interest rates in line with the Fed’s target.

Analysts say the operation appears to have been successful but it caused some jitters, coming as the Fed’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee opens a two-day meeting expected to produce a second cut in the benchmark lending rate.

The New York Fed said the $75 billion in repurchase agreements — known as “repos” — were made “in order to help maintain the federal funds rate within the target range of 2 to 2-1/4 percent.”

The New York Fed conducts regular operations to implement the FOMC’s policy but the rate had moved to the top of the range, 2.25 percent, as demand for cash rose amid falling bank reserves.

Kathy Bostjancic, Oxford Economics’ chief US financial economist, told AFP there was a “tsunami” of technical factors driving the demand for funds and pushing rates out of whack but the big injection helped.

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