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40% Of The Fed’s Interest On Excess Reserves Is Paid To Foreign Banks

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Jul 13, 2017 12:07 PM

Even as both the Fed and Wall Street are gripped by a raging debate over when, how and how much the Fed should shrink its balance sheet, most appear to be ignoring the $2.1 trillion elephant in the room: the fact that every incremental increase in the Fed Funds rate (also an increase in the Interest On Excess Reserves, or IOER, currently at 1.25%) is a handout to US commercial banks, but that the direct recipient of this explicit Fed subsidy are a substantial number of foreign banks.

Here are the numbers:

  • as of the week of July 5, there were $2.1 trillion in reserves (of which the vast majority is “excess”), the largest liability by far on the Fed’s $4.5 trillion balance sheet (currency in circulation is the other major component and amounts to $1.5 trillion).
  • as of the latest Fed rate hike, IOER is 1.25%

Putting these together, means that as of this moment, assuming no more rate changes, Janet Yellen will pay out $27 billion in interest on reserves parked with the Fed every year.

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