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Page added on December 29, 2007

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Crisis may make 1929 look a ‘walk in the park’

…Quietly, insiders are perusing an obscure paper by Fed staffers David Small and Jim Clouse. It explores what can be done under the Federal Reserve Act when all else fails.


Section 13 (3) allows the Fed to take emergency action when banks become “unwilling or very reluctant to provide credit”. A vote by five governors can – in “exigent circumstances” – authorise the bank to lend money to anybody, and take upon itself the credit risk. This clause has not been evoked since the Slump.



Yet still the central banks shrink from seriously grasping the rate-cut nettle. Understandably so. They are caught between the Scylla of the debt crunch and the Charybdis of inflation. It is not yet certain which is the more powerful force.


America’s headline CPI screamed to 4.3 per cent in November. This may be a rogue figure, the tail effects of an oil, commodity, and food price spike. If so, the Fed missed its chance months ago to prepare the markets for such a case. It is now stymied


Telegraph (UK)



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