Fed says could buy U.S. debt if would help markets

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday said it would be prepared to buy long-term U.S. government debt if that would help improve conditions in financial markets.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Thu 29 Jan 2009, 1:37 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 4:34 AM

In a statement issued at the end of a two-day meeting, the central bank’s policy-setting panel also said it was holding its target range for overnight interest rates at zero to 0.25 percent—the level reached in December—and repeated that it thought rates could stay unusually low for some time.

“The committee ... is prepared to purchase longer-term Treasury securities if evolving circumstances indicate that such transactions would be particularly effective in improving conditions in private credit markets,” it said. In December, the Fed had said only that it was studying that option.

With benchmark overnight rates virtually at zero, the Fed has turned its focus to what Chairman Ben Bernanke has dubbed a ”credit easing” approach that targets specific assets and markets in the hope of restoring normal lending.

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