Central banks announce joint efforts to provide liquidity

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Eccles Building, the headquarters of the US Federal Reserve.
Image: Dan Smith.

Several central banks in Europe and North America announced joint efforts to provide liquidity to the credit markets in the wake of the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis. The banks will hold coordinated auctions "designed to address elevated pressures in short-term funding markets." The announcement came simutaneously from all of the banks at 9:00 a.m. EST (UTC-5).

The banks involved are the United States' Federal Reserve System (Fed), the European Union's European Central Bank (ECB), the United Kingdom's Bank of England (BoE), Canada's Bank of Canada (BoC), and Switzerland's Swiss National Bank (SNB).

The auctions will run through the end of 2007. The first auction is scheduled for Monday, December 17 and will be a "Term Auction Facility" of US$20 billion.

In its statement the Federal Reserve said: "The Federal Open Market Committee has authorized temporary reciprocal currency arrangements (swap lines) with the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Swiss National Bank (SNB). These arrangements will provide dollars in amounts of up to $20 billion and $4 billion to the ECB and the SNB, respectively, for use in their jurisdictions. The FOMC approved these swap lines for a period of up to six months."

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) is not participating in the intervention, but welcomed the action. In its official statement, the BoJ said: "The Bank of Japan welcomes these measures and hopes that they will contribute to maintaining the functioning of the international financial markets."