The Federal Reserve plans to drive long-term interest even lower. Following today’s board meeting, the central bank said it would extend its “Operation Twist” program until the end of the year.
Since September, the Fed has been on track to sell $400 billion worth of short-term Treasury securities, with duration of 3 years or less and buying long-term Treasurys, with durations of 6 to 30 years. The extension of this program would entail the purchase of $267 billion of long-term Treasury securities.
“This continuation of the maturity extension program should put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative,” the Fed said in a released statement.
The central bank mentioned slower employment growth, an elevated unemployment rate and a depressed housing sector as reasons to extend and expand its program.
Lower interest rates may appeal to consumers who seek to borrow and spend, with the end-result of spurring a weak economy.
If the U.S. economy continues to deteriorate or display lack of improve, the Fed is “prepared to take further action as appropriate to promote a strong economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market condition in context of price stability.”
Additionally, the Fed will keep the federal funds rate at 0 to 0.25 percent and expects it to stay at those levels at least until late 2014. The rate has been unchanged since December 2008.
A recent Fed survey showed that low interest rates have deterred Americans from saving — especially in certificates of deposit (CDs). In addition to encourage borrowing and spending, low rates may have driven savers to take on more risky investments, like stocks, bonds and real estate.