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1 November 2009 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 65, Issue 6

Will the Federal Reserve Monetize U.S. Government Debt?

  1. Jerry H. Tempelman, CFA

Purchases of U.S. Treasury securities by the U.S. Federal Reserve in 2009 have prompted concerns that the Fed may monetize debt issued by the federal government, an act with potentially inflationary consequences. Whether such concerns are warranted depends in large part on the amount of Treasury securities the Fed purchases. So long as the Fed’s total ownership of Treasury securities does not exceed the amount of currency in circulation, the Federal Reserve will not be monetizing the federal government’s debt.

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