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ECB, BOE Join Fed Effort to Ease Market Stress

Several top central banks including the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank on Wednesday announced the launch of a new temporary term auction facility designed to address elevated pressures in short-term funding markets.

Under the program, the Federal Reserve will auction short-term funds to depository institutions against a wide variety of collateral that can be used to secure discount window loans.

The program also includes establishment of foreign exchange swap lines with the European Central Bank and the Swiss National Bank.

The Bank of England also joined in the announcement issued by the Federal Reserve in Washington.

The first auction under the program will be $20 billion in 28-day term funds on Monday, settling Dec. 20, with a second auction of $20 billion in 35-day funds scheduled for December 20, settling on Dec. 27. Subsequent auctions are scheduled on Jan. 14 and 28.

"Experience gained under the temporary program will be helpful in assessing the potential usefulness of augmenting the Federal Reserve's current monetary policy tools -- open market operations and the primary credit facility -- with a permanent facility for auctioning term discount window credit," the Fed said.

The ECB said it would conduct two US dollar liquidity-providing operations, in connection to the Fed ones, for a maturity of 28 and 35 days.

"The US dollars will be provided by the Federal Reserve to the ECB, up to $20 billion, by means of a temporary reciprocal currency arrangement (swap line)," the ECB said in a statement.

The Bank of England will raise the amount of reserves offered in its operations on Dec. 18 and Jan. 15 to 11.35 billion pounds ($23.15 billion) from just 2.85 billion pounds, the BOE said in a statement. Of these, 10 billion pounds will be offered at a maturity of three months.

The bank also said it will accept a wider range of "high quality securities" as collaterals for the funds offered at the 3-month maturity.

"The Bank will review whether to make any changes to operations scheduled after January in the light of market conditions at the time," the BOE said in a statement.

-- CNBC.com contributed to this report.

Contact Europe: Economy

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