What Are Fed Repurchase Agreements
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What Are Fed Repurchase Agreements

What Are Fed Repurchase Agreements

Federal repurchase agreements, or “repos” for short, are a financial tool used by the Federal Reserve to influence short-term interest rates and increase liquidity in the money markets. In this article, we`ll explore what fed repurchase agreements are, how they work, and why they matter to both the Fed and the wider economy.

What is a Fed Repurchase Agreement?

A repurchase agreement, or repo, is a financial transaction in which one party sells a security to another party with the promise to repurchase it at a later date at a higher price. In the case of fed repurchase agreements, the Federal Reserve acts as the buyer, and primary dealers, such as banks and financial institutions, act as the sellers.

How Do Fed Repurchase Agreements Work?

The process of a fed repurchase agreement is relatively simple. The primary dealer sells a security, such as a Treasury bond or mortgage-backed security, to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The Federal Reserve then pays cash to the dealer in exchange for the security and agrees to repurchase the security at a later date, typically within a day or two, at a higher price.

The difference between the purchase price and the repurchase price represents the interest paid by the Federal Reserve to the primary dealer for the short-term loan. This interest rate is known as the repo rate and is set by the Federal Reserve.

Why Do Fed Repurchase Agreements Matter?

Fed repurchase agreements serve several purposes for the Federal Reserve. By providing short-term liquidity to primary dealers, the Fed can influence short-term interest rates and stabilize the money markets. This can help prevent credit freezes and financial crises, such as the one that occurred in 2008.

Furthermore, fed repurchase agreements allow the Federal Reserve to conduct monetary policy by adjusting interest rates. By increasing or decreasing the repo rate, the Fed can encourage or discourage borrowing and investment, which can affect the wider economy.


Fed repurchase agreements may seem like a small financial tool, but they play a significant role in the Federal Reserve`s ability to manage the economy. By providing short-term liquidity and influencing interest rates, the Fed can help stabilize the money markets and promote economic growth. As such, fed repurchase agreements are an essential tool for central banks around the world, and understanding how they work is critical for anyone interested in finance or economics.

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