關於縮減資產負債表 FOMC講過啲咩

在3月聯儲局公開市場委員會(FOMC)會議的會議紀錄顯示,該局的多數官員認為按現時的經濟增長路綫推算,FOMC可在今年底改變現行的資產再投資策略(Reinvestment Plan)。

Provided that the economy continued to perform about as expected, most participants anticipated that gradual increases in the federal funds rate would continue and judged that a change to the Committee’s reinvestment policy would likely be appropriate later this year

Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, March 14-15, 2017

所謂的資產再投資策略,是來自聯儲局於2014年9月公佈的政策正常化原則及計劃(Policy Normalization Principle)。由於多年來的QE政策令聯儲局購下了大量金融資產,包括美國中長期國債及按揭抵押證券(MBS),令聯儲局的資產總額升至高達4.5萬億美元,聯儲局在2014年9月就初定處理的原則,當時定下的方向就是要持續將手上債券到期後收回的本金,再投資再同類資產,以大致維持手上資產總量,直至FOMC加息後並認為經濟及金融狀況合適才會緩慢停止再投資的策略。

The Committee intends to reduce the Federal Reserve’s securities holdings in a gradual and predictable manner primarily by ceasing to reinvest repayments of principal on securities held in the System Open Market Account (SOMA).

– The Committee expects to cease or commence phasing out reinvestments after it begins increasing the target range for the federal funds rate; the timing will depend on how economic and financial conditions and the economic outlook evolve.
– The Committee currently does not anticipate selling agency mortgage-backed securities as part of the normalization process, although limited sales might be warranted in the longer run to reduce or eliminate residual holdings. The timing and pace of any sales would be communicated to the public in advance.

The Committee intends that the Federal Reserve will, in the longer run, hold no more securities than necessary to implement monetary policy efficiently and effectively, and that it will hold primarily Treasury securities, thereby minimizing the effect of Federal Reserve holdings on the allocation of credit across sectors of the economy.

Policy Normalization Principles and Plans

目前所講的改變再投資策略,正是聯儲局有意在今年內執行上述的策略。最新的會議紀錄顯示,聯儲局官員對改變再投資策略有不同的意見,首先,有眾多與會官員(many participants) 認為縮減資產負債表的行動,應該要「被動」及「可預計」(passive and predictable),合理的解讀應為他們不建議局方主動出售手上資產,並希望局方可以明確表述這個立場,及向公眾詳細列明減持資產的速度及方式。另一個與會官員普遍認同的題目,是再改變再投資策略後,應該同時「直接停止或慢慢減少再投資」(phase out or cease reinvestments)手上的美國國債及MBS。而全部官員一致認同的立場,是聯儲局要在真的改變再投資策略前,預先向公眾清楚交代新的策略。

一個值得留意的部份,是會上官員討論過「直接停止 」或「慢慢減少」兩個方法的優劣。「慢慢減少」的好處,在於可減低觸發金融市場波動及令公眾誤解局方的減持政策的風險;「直接停止 」的好處則是溝通容易,而且減持速度較快。但會議紀錄就無表明聯儲局官員傾向採用那一種方法。

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