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Note on Nonborrowed Reserves
The H.3 statistical release indicates that nonborrowed reserves of depository institutions were negative for much of 2008 but more recently have turned positive.
By definition, nonborrowed reserves are equal to total reserves minus borrowed reserves. Borrowed reserves are equal to the sum of credit extended through the Federal Reserve's regular discount window programs and credit extended through certain Federal Reserve liquidity facilities. Total borrowings from the Federal Reserve are presented in table 1a of the release. Over much of 2008, in order to maintain a level of total reserves consistent with the Federal Open Market Committee's objective for the federal funds rate, increases in borrowed reserves were offset through a nearly commensurate decrease in nonborrowed reserves, which was accomplished through a reduction in the Federal Reserve's holdings of securities and other assets. The negative level of nonborrowed reserves was an arithmetic result of the fact that borrowings from the Federal Reserve liquidity facilities were larger than total reserves.
More recently, nonborrowed reserves have again turned positive. This development is purely an arithmetic result, in this case of the fact that a large volume of reserves has recently been provided through channels that, for purposes of the Federal Reserve’s statistical releases, are not considered borrowings. These channels include foreign currency swap arrangements with foreign central banks and certain special purpose vehicles. Credit extended to these special purpose vehicles are not shown on the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet. Rather, as noted on the H.4.1 statistical release, the assets of these vehicles are consolidated onto the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet, and consequently credit extended to these special purpose entities is not treated as a borrowing for purposes of the H.3 statistical release.