The Federal Reserve released the "Minutes" from its March 17-18 FOMC meeting on late Wednesday. They said, "A staff briefing provided background on options for setting the aggregate capacity of the ON RRP facility in the early stages of the normalization process. Two options were discussed: initially setting a temporarily elevated aggregate cap or suspending the aggregate cap for a time. The briefing noted that, as the balance sheet normalizes and reserve balances decline, usage of the ON RRP facility should diminish, allowing the facility to be phased out over time. In addition, the briefing outlined strategies for actively reducing take-up at the ON RRP facility after policy normalization is under way, while maintaining an appropriate degree of monetary control, if take-up is larger than the FOMC desires. These strategies included adjusting the values of the interest on excess reserves (IOER) and ON RRP rates associated with a given target range for the federal funds rate, relying on tools such as term RRPs and the TDF to broaden arbitrage opportunities and to drain reserve balances, and selling shorter-term Treasury securities to reduce the size of the balance sheet at a faster pace." It continues, "In their discussion of the options and strategies surrounding the use of tools at liftoff and the potential subsequent reduction in aggregate ON RRP capacity, participants emphasized that during the early stages of policy normalization, it will be a priority to ensure appropriate control over the federal funds rate and other short-term interest rates. Against this backdrop, participants generally saw some advantages to a temporarily elevated aggregate cap or a temporary suspension of the cap to ensure that the facility would have sufficient capacity to support policy implementation at the time of liftoff, but they also indicated that they expected that it would be appropriate to reduce ON RRP capacity fairly soon after the Committee begins firming the stance of policy. A couple of participants stated their view that the risks to financial stability that might arise from a temporarily elevated aggregate ON RRP capacity were likely to be small, and it was noted that there might be little potential for a temporarily large Federal Reserve presence in money markets to affect the structure of those markets if plans for reducing the facility's capacity were clearly communicated and well understood. However, a couple of participants expressed financial stability concerns, and one stressed that more planning was needed to address the potential risks before the Committee decides on the appropriate level of ON RRP capacity at the time of liftoff." In other news, money market fund assets decreased slightly this week, says ICI in its latest Money Market Mutual Fund Assets" report. The release says, "Total money market fund assets decreased by $610 million to $2.63 trillion for the week ended Wednesday, April 8, the Investment Company Institute reported today." Year-to-date MMF assets are down $100 billion, or 3.6%.

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