The Fed’s policy-making committee, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), announced on Sept. 13, 2012 that it would buy $40 billion each month of agency mortgage-backed securities on an open-ended basis, and said it could extend those purchases and buy additional assets if the jobs market didn't improve.
Combining buying MBS with its previously existing Operation Twist policy and the Fed would purchase a combined $85 billion of longer-term securities per month through the end of 2012. The stated goal was to push down long-term interest rates, while boosting the values of assets, such as stocks and homes.
In October of 2014 the Federal Reserve said it would end the bond-purchase program on Oct. 31. The policy continued to stir debate about its efficacy, even though the central bank said the policy had succeeded in its main goal of reducing unemployment.
At the same time, the Fed upgraded its assessment of the job market’s performance while pointing to some short-term downside risks on inflation. The central bank stuck to an assurance that short-term interest rates will remain near zero for a “considerable time.” Taken together, the moves mark a vote of confidence by the Fed in the U.S. economy, which appears to have grown at a pace near 3% or more in the third quarter. That’s a much better performance than in Japan and Europe and a hopeful sign for the world economy as growth in China appears to be flagging.
- Press Release. Federal Reserve.
- Fed Undertakes QE3 With $40 Billion Monthly MBS Purchases. Bloomberg.
- Stocks Go Bonkers As Bernanke Unleashes QE3: Analysts React. WSJ.com.