The Federal Reserve Board raised the discount rate charged to banks for direct loans by a quarter point to 0.75 percent and said the move will encourage financial institutions to rely more on money markets rather than the central bank for short-term liquidity needs.
“These changes are intended as a further normalization of the Federal Reserve’s lending facilities,” the central bank said today in a statement. “The modifications are not expected to lead to tighter financial conditions for households and businesses and do not signal any change in the outlook for the economy or for monetary policy.”
The dollar jumped as the Fed took another step in a gradual retreat from its unprecedented actions to halt the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression. The Fed has provided hundreds of billions of dollars in backstop credit to banks, bond dealers, commercial paper borrowers and troubled financial institutions such as American International Group Inc.
“This is an unwinding of another unusual and exigent circumstance,” said David Zervos, visiting adviser to the Fed Board in 2009 who is now a managing director at Jeffries & Co. in New York. “They tried to go out of their way to tell people this doesn’t change their policy outlook at all.”