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Recent Declines in Nonborrowed Reserves
The H.3 statistical release indicates that nonborrowed reserves of depository institutions have declined substantially since mid-December to a level that is now negative. This development reflects the provision of a large volume of reserves through the Term Auction Facility (TAF) and has no adverse implications for the availability of reserves to the banking system.
By definition, nonborrowed reserves are equal to total reserves minus borrowed reserves. Borrowed reserves are equal to credit extended through the Federal Reserve's regular discount window programs as well as credit extended through the TAF. To maintain a level of total reserves consistent with the Federal Open Market Committee's target federal funds rate, increases in borrowed reserves must generally be met by a commensurate decrease in nonborrowed reserves, which is accomplished through a reduction in the Federal Reserve's holdings of securities and other assets. The negative level of nonborrowed reserves is an arithmetic result of the fact that TAF borrowings are larger than total reserves.